March 25, 2013

(Tried and True is a new series that I am starting here on True Bias.  I will feature one sewer/blogger at a time who will share one of their “tried and true” patterns.  You know, that pattern that just sews up like a dream, is so versatile, (although maybe even boring), so you end up sewing it up over and over in different ways.  I know that I have patterns like that and I consider them gems so I can’t wait to find out what the sewing community’s tried and true patterns are.)

Hi, guys!  I’m Sonja, and I blog about sewing, knitting, and, well, making things, over at Ginger Makes.  I live in NYC with my husband and two pugs, and I work in the film/TV industry.  When I’m not sewing or blogging, you can usually find me wandering around the city or snacking (both on a good day!).  I’m so happy to be here today!  Kelli is one of my favorite bloggers ever, and since I’ve met her in person, I can tell you that she’s even sweeter, more fashionable, and prettier in real life than she seems here on True Bias!

When Kelli asked me what my TNT pattern is, this wasn’t the first pattern that sprang to mind.  There are many patterns that I love, and a few that I love more than this one, but when it comes down to it, the Sewaholic Renfrew Top pattern has to be my actual tried and true pattern.  I wear mine all the time (I’m always disappointed that they’re dirty when I want to wear them again!), and they come together so effortlessly that I’m not sure why I don’t have more in my wardrobe!
I was a tester for this pattern way back in December 2011, and it was my first foray into sewing with knits.  Knits can be intimidating to sewists, but the pattern is clear and easy, and using cuffs and a waistband means you don’t have to hem anything, which is a major plus for a timid seamstress!  This was my first attempt– it turned out really well, thanks to Tasia!  This is a stable, thick, double-sided jersey, and I used the cowl option with three-quarter sleeves (my all-time favorite length!).
My second version is made with a thin, stretchy, poly knit that I bought on the cheap in the Garment District.  This top cost me $7.50 to make– crazy, right?  I tried out the simple scoop neck option, and I really love it.  I wear this shirt ALL THE TIME.  Constantly.  Alone, under sweaters, under blazers, you name it!  It’s got a slightly French, gamine look to it, but it’s got a little more color than the classic mariniere top.  Did I mention that I love it?
The third version is an organic cotton jersey from Mood.  I needed a top to go with my leopard-print pencil skirt, so I cranked out this top in a few hours the morning that the project was due.  This isn’t a dressy pattern, but it’s more fitted than the average tee and is slightly dressed up by the scoop neck, so I think it works with the pencil skirt.
The fourth version is what cements this as a TNT pattern for me– I successfully made it for another person… without her being around to try it on!  I used a cozy wool jersey (also from Mood) for this one, and I successfully graded the pattern up, not because I’m great at that sort of thing, but because this pattern is simple and forgiving.  Since my mom now lives in Michigan, where the winters are long and cold, I chose to add the cowl neck and long sleeves.  I also factored in a bit of extra ease since my mom doesn’t like clingy garments and because the wool jersey wasn’t as stretchy as, say, a poly knit.
I’m just one of many fans of the super-popular Renfrew top– you can find versions of it on literally hundreds of blogs!  I think that the reason for its popularity is that it’s comfortable and casual, but it’s still flattering and feminine.  I’ve spent the majority of my life in a t-shirt (usually a little boys’ tee from a thrift store or souvenir shop), and they’re so fun and easy to wear, but it’s been an easy transition for me to wear what’s essentially a grownup version of these basic tees.  Plus, the fact that you can choose between three sleeve lengths and three necklines means that you don’t have to do any extra work to make different versions of the top– score!  To top it all off, you can make one in just a couple of hours, with or without a serger.  I can’t think of many other patterns that go together so quickly and take such a small investment of time!
Thanks again for having me, Kelli!  I’m really looking forward to reading more of these features in the future, and I’m REALLY hoping to discover a few new TNT patterns from these posts!

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  • Reply Heather Lou March 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Great new feature Kelli! Super stoked to read about people’s TNTs. I’m so ADD I’ve never made anything more than once…

    • Reply Kelli Ward March 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Ha Ha. I know what you mean. I have a long list of patterns I want to try so its hard to sew something twice.

  • Reply Erica March 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    This is a fun feature! I’ve been on the hunt for great sewing blogs as I’m teaching myself to sew and could use tips and inspiration. I’m looking forward to more of these posts. 🙂

    • Reply Kelli Ward March 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      Erica, you should check out Tilly and the buttons. She has some great beginner posts and her new blouse pattern is a good beginner project esp because she has a great sew along for it.

  • Reply Kelly March 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I love this feature! It’s so great to see what really works for people.

    • Reply Kelli Ward March 25, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      thanks Kelly. I know, I kinda started this feature for selfish reasons. I love to know what people’s tried and true’s are.

  • Reply joellestlaurent March 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    such a fun feature, I can’t wait to see what people have for TNTs. i just finished my first repeat garment ever: the pencil skirt from gertie’s book!

    • Reply Kelli Ward March 25, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      i have a pencil skirt pattern that is one of my tried and true’s too – the jenny skirt. i don’t think you could ever have too many.

  • Reply Mae March 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    What a great ADULT tnt pattern. I certainly didn’t expect to consider buying patterns for myself. Even after many years of sewing I haven’t branched away from childrens clothes. This looks amazing and I would really like to have some nice comfy tops for myself.

    Also, what an awesome idea for a series. Seriously, great stuff.


    • Reply Kelli Ward March 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Mae, you should give it a try. I actually havn’t sewn this top myself, but Ive heard its one of the best especially as an intro to knits.

  • Reply Reana Louise March 25, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    What a wonderful feature! I’m excited to see what other people’s TNT patterns are!

  • Reply March 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Such a great idea!!! Thank you

  • Reply Stephanie March 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    This is a really good idea! All of Sonja’s Renfrew’s are darling and make me want to sew a few. I tried the pattern once, but used a sweatshirt fleece, so it didn’t fit quite right.

    I can’t wait to see the other TNT’s!

  • Reply Stevie March 26, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Love the new feature. I do love a good TnT Renfrew is up there for a lot of people! x

  • Reply SunnySewing March 26, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Hi there! I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award! What is it? In a nutshell, it is basically a blogger’s way of saying “You’re one of my favorites! Great job.”
    I received a nomination and answered 11 questions given to me. Please don’t feel pressure to participate, but if you would like to, see the bottom of the post here to find the questions I asked you! Thanks and take care! Kristin

  • Reply angela March 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I love Sonja’s tried and true pattern! It looks great on her, and is easy to wear, I think those are key to having a favorite pattern! Great feature!

  • Reply sallie oleta barbee March 26, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Love it! Great new feature. I love the focus on those unsung pattern heros, the ones you wear again and again and again…

  • Reply crystalpleats March 28, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    Great new series. I think everyone will be reading with interest.

  • Reply House of Pinheiro April 1, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Ohhh what a fantastic feature… Love Sonja style

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