(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!