Skip to content

A Highly Modified Renfrew


The Goal: After making my last Sewaholic Renfrew I had some concerns. It’s not that I didn’t like the shirt or the design or anything but I felt the fit could be better. See, I’m not used to wearing close fitting knits much anymore. As you can see from some past knit tops I’ve made, I like ’em loose and flowy. This is great for fit because there isn’t much you need to pay attention to but the Renfrew is different.

Here’s a little diagram illustrating changes I wanted to make:


– First, it’s a little long for my taste. That doesn’t mean it’ll be too long on others, I just like my shirts to sit higher and with the band it makes all this extra fabric bunch up at my middle.
– Second, I think I might need a minor FBA? I know the easy way would be to just go up a size in the top but I think it fits well in the shoulders.
– Also, I think the sleeve cap top point needs to be moved forward ever so slightly.
– Lastly, I need a sway back adjustment like crazy!


The Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew. Like last time I cut a 6 at the bust and a 4 at the waist but this time I made changes from the base pattern.


The Fabric: My friend Susan has been sewing up a few Renfrews of her own. She so kindly donated me the rest of this fabric after she made her own version (twinsies!!). It’s a cotton knit possibly from Girl Charlee.


The Changes: So here’s what I did. I made several copies of the front and back pieces, did a sway back adjustment ala this tutorial, made a small (like 1/2″ wide increase per side) FBA, and scooted the sleeve cap point over.


I’ve never done an FBA before on a garment for myself. I’ve done them in theory, like drawing how to do one. I get the concept but I’ve never put in in practice. I realize I could have gotten away without one by cutting a larger size but I thought this would be a fun opportunity to try it out and see the results first hand. I think it helped the fit a lot!

For the bottom I thought I could either cut the bottom of the shirt shorter and attach the band or just be lazy and hem the shirt sans-band and it would already be the length I wanted. Laziness won out.


This time I top stitched the neckline and sleeve bands with a twin needle.


The Results: As you can see it’s much better. Not that the original shirt was that bad to begin with but you can tell that there’s no more pulling around the bust, the back isn’t perfect but it is much improved, and it’s a better length for me. Success! I’m now going to use these new and improved pieces if I decide to do this pattern again. Sometimes it’s worth going back and taking the time to do it right, ya know?

Comments (18) for post “A Highly Modified Renfrew”

  • You’ve totally nailed the fit and I love your fabric choice! I’ve made many Renfrews myself and although I’m pretty happy, I don’t think the waistband is particularly flattering on me. May need to omit it myself next time! By the way, I’ve already cut out my 2nd Hot Chocolate Sweater from the softest wool blend ever…thanks so much for a great pattern ;o)

    • Thanks! I like the waistband on my yellow one but I don’t think it’s a feature I’d like to have on most my t-shirts.
      I’m so excited about your sweater! Your first one has inspired me to try the pattern in a woven but in an animal print inspired fabric (it’s not really animal print but it kind of has the same feel).

    • Yeah, you’re right. Oddly enough I do already have a couple t-shirt blocks. They’re not as fitted as this, though. Also, sometimes I feel like I need to practice things like the sway back adjustment (which I usually ignore ’cause I’m too lazy). It was just one of those things where I got it in my head to do it so it must be done!

  • That fabric is really nice. I love the double topstitching too. I find the sleeves really long on the Renfrew (the long sleeve version) and I leave the band off altogether. I love the fit on this shirt. Great job!

  • I actually like the bit of wrinkling on my Refrew at the waist, it’s interesting to see what people like/don’t like. For me, that little bit of fabric hides my belly nicely.

    But, I can see how it may not be what you want and I do think this version is super cute. It’s a great print.

    • yeah, it’s interesting what style different people prefer to wear, especially because five years or so ago i would never have worn oversized shirts and now i rarely wear fitted t’s.

      thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I love it! You really nailed those fit adjustments. And yay for getting the full use out of a fabric purchase… One of the big downsides to purchasing fabric without a plan is exactly this — I always get way too much. So glad it was able to be utilized!

    • thanks! you know, after finishing I realized I probably had enough for another long sleeved version. oh well. one of these days i’m gonna whip up a bunch of camisoles with my leftover half yard-ish pieces.

  • Cute! I love hearing about others’ experiences with t-shirt fitting. I’m also a loose and flowy tee person but I like having some fitted ones for layering or under jackets. I’ve been through a couple of fitted tee patterns, mostly Burda and Kwik Sew, and still don’t have the fit in the back and shoulders that I like. Some day I’ll sit down as you have and just get it done!

  • Could you write a post or something on twin needles? Whenever I try to use it the thread breaks every-single-time. u_u
    I love the top! You made great adjustments ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Very nice. I wish I had the patience to do all those tweaks. Now you and Susan just have to coordinate every time you’re going to the same place to make sure you’re not twinsies in real life ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Did you ever find the tutorial and/or a replacement??? How does everyone reference this tutorial and now it’s gone to the world! We need less pooling!

Leave a Reply to Amy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SidebarComments (18)