Renfrew Cardigan How-To


Ok, it's the moment some of you have been waiting for with baited breath.... the Renfrew cardigan How-To. Let's just get right to it.

For this modification you'll need to trace the following Renfrew pieces,
1. Scoop front and Scoop front neckband
2. Back
3. Long sleeves and long sleeve hem bands
4. Hem Band
 You'll also need a writing utensil, scissors, tape and extra paper.

(Note Renfrew comes with 5/8th seam allowances but I've reduced mine to 1/4.)

1. Take the scoop front and shorten the length by 2".  Then add 1/4" extra width to the entire side seam.  Add another 1/4" to the CF since you'll be sewing a button band to it.

2. Next put your ruler on the shoulder seam of the front. Measure 1 3/4" down from stitching line (not edge of pattern) and draw a line parallel to the should seam. This is your front yoke line.

If you're going to do gathered yokes add some placement notches on this line before cutting it. Later you'll need them to know where to put your gathering stitches.  On my sweater I put a notch 5/8"away from the stitch line on each side. Cut the pattern apart on the yoke line and then add seam allowance to the yoke edge. Label the top part Front Yoke and then set it aside.  We will be using only the bottom half of the pattern next.

3. To add ease to make gathers you'll need to slash and spread the lower part of the front.  Draw a line between the placement notches and parallel to the grain line though the entire length of the pattern.  Now cut the line from the top almost all the way through to the bottom.  You want to leave a little "hinge" for the pattern to swing open from.  Take a scrap piece of paper and place it behind the cut.  Spread the pattern open til there is an 1" gap, then tape the pattern piece to the scrap paper.  Make sure you add some seam allowance to the now yoke seamline now. Trim off any extra paper and label this piece front.  It should look something like this...

1. Take the back and shorten the length by 2".  Then add 1/4" extra width to the entire side seam.

2. From the CB line measure down 4" from seam line.  Draw a straight line perpendicular to the grainline across the pattern piece.  You'll only need to mark on placement notch since the pattern is on the half. Mine is 2.5" from the armhole stitch line. 
Cut the pattern apart on the yoke line and then add seam allowance to both cut edges. Label the top part Back Yoke make sure it says Fold on the CB edge and then set it aside.  Again we will be using only the bottom half of the pattern next.

3. Once again we will be adding more lines to slash and spread on.  Since I wanted to add 2" of ease to the half the back I drew in two lines parallel to the grain line.  Both lines are cut almost all the way through and each is spread open 1".  Fill in the gapes with scrap paper and tape down the cut edges.  You'll want to true the yoke seamline a little bit.  Just make sure it is smooth and it will probably have a tiny curve to it.
Add seam allowance to the yoke seamline edge, trim any excess paper off and label the pattern Back. It should look something like this...

Optional yoke alteration
You can keep the shoulder seam  or you can remove it and have a continuous yoke.  I decided to remove the seam since the front yoke piece is so small.  Simply tape the two pieces along the should seamline and you're done.

1. Add 1/4" to both side seams.  I also shortened the length of my sleeve by 1/2" which is optional.

1. Hem and Sleeve hands stay the same
2. Neck band gets 1/2" additional length added to each end.  (If your fabric has plenty of stretch you may not need the extra length)

Drafting a button band
1. Button band needs to be the length of the CF + half of the hem band + seam allowance doubled (Ahhh Maths!) and 2 1/4" wide plus your chosen seam allowance. You'll fold it in half and serge it on just like the other bands.

And now for a few sewing notes....
1. I used tricot interfacing on the button bands and neck band because I wanted to keep these areas stable.

2.While my overlocker does have a gathering setting it makes no sense to me, so I just used the regular sewing machine to put in some basting stitches.  Using a ball point needle stitch a basting stitch between your placement notches.  Then pull threads until the the main body piece fits the yoke piece.  Serge together and then remove basting.

3. I cut two yokes like you do in shirt making.  Sandwiched them around the back gathers and serged all 3 pieces together.  On the front I only serged the right side yoke and main piece together, then slip stitched the inside yoke to the seam.

4. Sewing order was back yoke, front yoke, neckband, sleeves, side seams, sleeve bands, hem band, button band.

Hopefully this is clear enough but it you have any questions, leave them in the comments.  Happy Sewing!

Pattern Hacking - Renfrew Cardiganized


 What do you get when you have a semi-large stash of sweater knits and every cardigan pattern disappoints?  You get out your trusty Renfrew pattern and hack it up! (After tracing off a copy of course.)
Renfrew Cardigan Buttons
Renfrew is always there for you.

I really like those RTW sweater with gathered yokes so I did a little slashing and spreading as well.
Renfrew Cardigan Front gathers
Yoke Gathers!

I selected a nice firm knit from the sweater knit stash, an acrylic/polyester/wool blend purchased from Mood last year.  About 2 hours later we had what I like to call Librarian Chic. (Pants are Colette Clovers in stretch Corduroy BTW)
Renfrew Cardigan 4
I have just the book for you!

Also doubles as personal assistant chic.
Renfrew Cardigan 3
Yes, yes pick up your dry cleaning and then file the Peterman account.

And look the back is really pretty.
Renfrew Cardigan Back
More gathers cause they're awesome.
After giving this a really good pressing I'm super pleased with it.  The pattern changes aren't too hard to do and I'll explain them in my next post.

Sewing Iceing or maybe Fur-osting - Burda Style 7131


Usually I'd say any kind of coat sewing is a "cake" project.  But a faux fur, kimono shortie?  That's Fur-osting. Not sure what possessed me, other than really liking the picture on the pattern envelope. I even bought the pants pattern the model is wearing with this jacket.  Maybe I just want to be this model.
I'm oh so fab in my fur shortie and mustard pants. Don't even bother looking at that blond.

Well the plus side of making this Fur-osting project was that was super simple.  No fitting needed, has about 5 seams and, if you follow the instructions, has no lining.  I put a lining in it because All Coats Must Be Lined. Who wants to stare at faux fur backing anyway.
Burda 7131 Flat detail
Faux Fur - Gorgeous fabrics (now sold out), Lining - Emmaonesock, 1 1/4 snaps - Marcy Tilton

It was easy to make a lining using the body pattern pieces just check out Jen's easy peasy tutorial. Since this was a kimono sleeve I added 1/4" extra ease to the side seam area and 1/4" to where the cuffs would be sewn in.  Also added the back pleat like the tutorial instructs.
Burda 7131 Lining CB

The lining was inserted before sewing the faux fur cuffs on so that I could get a clean finish on the inside.  I sewed one side of cuff to the self fabric, then hand sewed the other slide to the lining.  I also hand sewed the lining to the hem.
Burda 7131 Lining and Cuff

The closure is also simple, two giant snaps.
Burda 7131 Snaps

On to the modeled pics.... me just chilling in the back yard.
Burda 7131 Front

You want to see those kimono sleeves?  Here you go...
Burda 7131 Front 2

And finally only cause it's almost model fabulous...
Burda 7131 Front 3
That's enough Fur-osting, time to go sew some cake.

A Trio of Tees


After such a labor intensive project as Butterick 5814, it's no surprise that I decided to return to the gigantic knit stash for a quick fix.  To make things really easy I pulled out my favorite TNT pattern, Sewaholic's Renfrew.  This is the V-neck long sleeve view, made up in a very nondrapy rayon knit. 
Kind of nautical right, so the Lobster makes total sense. Just nod politely.

But Renfrews are like potato chips, you can't make just one so I dug deeper into the stash and found this awesome rayon tweedy knit. It just screamed cowl neck Renfrew. 
Knit with white and black threads for gray tweedy goodness!
There wasn't quite enough fabric to do the cowl as drafted by Tasia so I drafted a smaller on hat folded over. The width is the same but it's about 12" high and folds over to 6".  Why that high, cause that's how much fabric I had.
RTW told me to do this and it works just peachy.

Still looks super cute. This rayon had some drape to it which worked well with the cowl.
I love gray, what does that say about me?
Lastly I decided to jump on the dolmen sleeve bandwagon and knock off a RTW shirt I'd bought, traced and returned.  The RTW shirt had very deep hems, about 3" or so but I found that a total sewing nightmare on the temperamental coverstitch machine.   Changed the hems to 1" and that made the hem and sleeves go much faster.  The neck is finished with a self binding, also attached with the coverstitch machine.  While I like that type of finish it's a pain in the ass to do.  In fact this last shirt reminded me why Renfrew is such a great pattern, you don't have to worry about coverstitching!!!!
I'm a fashionable criminal.
Not totally sure that dolmen sleeves are a great look on me, but it's comfortable and layers with cardigans just fine.

I've worn all 3 shirts multiple times already and as a bonus they were all from stash.  Feels great to bust out 3 garments in a weekend. What a pretty set of triplets they make.
You don't want to know how much more gray fabric is in my stash.

Butterick 5814 - The Finished Sewing Dare Dress


Hello Darlings, are you ready to drink some cocktails and ignore our children? At least that's what I'm told you do while wearing silk wiggle dresses. Honestly it sounds like a delightful afternoon.
Butterick 5814 front 1
Go make mommy a martini, shaken not stirred.
I'm hoping Don Draper picks me up and takes me somewhere nice.  I'll ignore his philandering if he's especially charming.  Also he must wear a hat....who am I kidding, call me Don!  If Don is not available I will take September from Fringe, he looks great in a hat.
Butterick 5814 back
I need a tall man in a suit to help me walk in these shoes.

Confession time, I bought Butterick 5814 and never expected to actually sew it.  I liked the bodice but thought the drape was odd and anyway a cocktail dress is that last thing I "needed."  Then Gillian dared me to make a sexy dress and all of a sudden I'm buying boning and pulling silk out of the stash.

Now that I've made the dress, I Love It.  The silk lining feels delicious and waist stays are my new best friend.  The Butterick directions on the waist stay was a little vague but gorgeous fabrics explained all my questions.  I'd say this pattern was a nice introduction to boning.  There are only a few pieces to insert and the only problem I had was my silk lining sliding around.  About that drape, it grew on me.  I thought it wouldn't be that flattering but instead it looks lovely

Here's a nice close up of the very pretty gathered bodice and the drape.  Also my cleavage... your welcome. 
Butterick 5814 bodice and drape close

Now into photos of the insides of dress. Scandalous!

Waist Stay and inside lining.  I used self fabric for both sides of the sleeves but the rest of the lining is black crepe de chine.
Butterick 5814 lining and waist stay

Back zipper
Butterick 5814 back zipper

Hem.  I added a little overlocking to the edge, not couture but that's fine by me.
Butterick 5814 back slit

In addition to the fitting changes I talked about in this post,  I took a scant 1/8th off the side seams and about 2" in at the CB waist, which was blended out into nothing over the backside.  I needed the full amount of ease across the hips/derriere, but a lot less ease at my sway back.

One last look cause we're having fun.
Butterick 5814 front 2
Milly feather print silk crepe de chine (Long gone but originally from Gorgeous fabrics)
Black silk crepe de chine lining -  Gorgeous fabrics
Stockings - Pretty Polly Cuban Heel Back Seam Tights - Dollhouse Bettie
Shoes - Nadine Peep Toe Pumps - Shop Ruche

Full flickr set here and if you want to see all my blog posts on this dress click on the Butterick-5814 tag on the post
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