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).
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??
Ah, 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!