Fit comparison: Renfrew vs. ready-to-wear

Comparison - two Renfrews and RTW t-shirt - front

With two Renfrews complete and some ongoing musings about fit, I decided to compare my two handmade knit tops to one of my favorite and often-worn ready-to-wear t-shirts.  The RTW top is from Ann Taylor in a size small, and I got it for $15 (50% off) in late spring/early summer earlier this year.  I’ve been loving and wearing this top all summer and really like how it fits, and when you compare it side-by-side with my Renfrews, there are definitely noticeable differences.

Click on any of the photos to make them larger.

When viewed from the front, the RTW top sits a little higher on my hips and is substantially less baggy in the bottom half.  Most importantly in my case, the shoulders are cut a little wider than in the Renfrews, creating less strain across the upper chest.  The shoulder seams hit closer to my actual shoulders, especially compared to the long-sleeved Renfrew (that I totally cut too narrow on the top).

Comparison - two Renfrews and RTW t-shirt - back

The wider cut in the shoulders is REALLY noticeable from the back – look at the lack of shoulder blade protrusion in the RTW top!  Altering the shoulders/armholes of a pattern is so tricky, but I might just have to cave in and do it to get a better fit.  Blargh!

There’s definitely a bit of excess fabric pooling at the waist in the RTW top (which I think is typical), but it’s less than in the Renfrews.  I think I need to shorten the Renfrew length a little more, essentially subtracting the entire two inches that I had added at the beginning.  Who knew this top was so long??

Comparison - two Renfrews and RTW t-shirt - sideAh, now we get to the fun part.  RTW top = curvy and flattering (from both the front and back silhouettes).  Renfrews = not so much!  I feel like I look a lot more feminine in the curvy top and more tom-boy-ish in the handmade ones.  I know it’s just a t-shirt, but a few curves go a long way.  : )

How do I fix this??  Maybe a sway back adjustment in the back, and taking out a little fabric from the front side seams?  I feel like I want to put in front waist darts, but sadly this isn’t really an option in a t-shirt.  Thoughts?

Don’t get me wrong, I still heart the Renfrew pattern and want to make a million more of these babies (a cowl-neck version is in progress!), but I wouldn’t complain about a slightly better fit either.  Fitting knits is a whole new beast for me to tackle.  Gotta love sewing – there is always so much to learn!

4 thoughts on “Fit comparison: Renfrew vs. ready-to-wear

  1. How about the sleeves? The RTW has cute little cap sleeves, where the Renfrow does not. Maybe if you made the sleeves on the Renfrow like the RTW top? That may make it more like the RTW. Also, like you said, shortened the Renfrow a bit like the RTW. But, I wonder if the RTW fabric has a bit more stretchier than the fabric you used for the Renfrow, which would make it a bit more fitting.

    Fitting, at least for me, is sometimes a mystery ’cause I just can’t figure out what to do. Sometimes I just need to set it all aside and look at it at later date with fresh eyes. Fresh eyes and a big bowl of ice cream, too 🙂


    • Yeah, I also find that sweet treats seem to fix all my problems. : )

      You’re right about the fabric of the RTW top – it’s a lighter weight and stretchier than my orange fabric – which I think is a major reason why it fits a little closer than the Renfrews. I actually prefer the slightly longer short sleeves over the cap sleeves, so I don’t plan on changing the sleeves much, if at all. For my in-progress cowl version, I shortened the hem by another inch, so we’ll see how it works out!


    • I definitely thought about doing that, but laziness got the best of me. : ) I did lay them on top of each other though, and I can see where the differences are. I want to try tracing it one day though!


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