Renfrew #3: cowl neck in burgundy

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - front

My third Renfrew is complete, this time with the “dramatic” cowl neck and 3/4 length sleeves in a juicy fall-appropriate burgundy.  And check it – I actually took photos OUTSIDE!  Whoa baby!  I woke up this morning to a beautifully cool, non-humid, fall day here in Boston, and I decided that it was a perfect day for an outdoor photo shoot.  I found a retaining wall near my apartment that was the perfect height for propping up the camera, and voila, you can finally see my creations in natural light.  I even put lipstick on for you.  You’re welcome.  : )


Project Stats:

Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew, with cowl neck and 3/4 length sleeves (View C).

Fabric: Burgundy cotton jersey from Mood.

Modifications: Same as for Renfrew #2, with 1 inch added to the sleeves and no extra length added in the waist.

Level of crafty satisfaction: Not bad, although I think this top is a little too loose for my taste – oops!  The sleeves could be a little shorter and more fitted, and I think the top is a little too short overall (I guess I needed the extra inch in the waist after all).  I also decided that cowl necks drive me crazy – I find myself constantly adjusting it.  Annoying.  Oh well!  I do think it looks nice on me though.

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - diagonal view Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - back

Taking out the extra length in the waist definitely reduced the amount of pooling fabric at the lower back, but I think I prefer a little more length in the front.  It’s nice not to have to worry about flashing my stomach when I raise my arms, you know?  Also, there’s some extra bat-wing-like fabric at the back armholes – how did that happen?

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - right side

I think the side views actually look pretty good, and I like how the hem lays flat with no bunching of excess fabric.  The trade-off is the aforementioned peek-a-boo stomach issue.  If only I had a six-pack to show off under there…  : )

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - left side Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - front hands on hips

This driveway was sandwiched between two other apartment buildings, and although I carefully chose a spot with no one’s windows directly behind me, there were windows in front of me as I took these pictures.  I bet those people got a kick out of all my posing… haha.

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - back 2

I bought these jeans at J.Crew about 7 years ago and am kind of impressed that they still fit.  Yes!!  Perhaps one day I’ll be able to make my own fitted jeans, but I think that’s one of the major challenge garments in my sewing world right now.

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - front 2

I really do love this rich burgundy color for fall, and I love the idea of this top, but somehow it just came out a little too big all around.  Maybe it’s the cotton jersey I’m using – cotton tends to stretch out a bit, and this fabric is a little lighter weight than the orange I used for my other two Renfrews.  I think the top is still totally wearable though, so my drawer of knit tops is indeed coming along.

Sewaholic Renfrew 3 - cowl neck burgundy - close up

A few technical notes: This top cost me about $18 (including pattern, fabric, thread, and shipping), which isn’t too far off what I’d pay for a RTW knit top like this.  I used my regular sewing machine as usual, with a stretch stitch (#8 on my Bernina) for the seams and a zig-zag to finish the seam allowances.  It was a breeze to put together, especially since this was my third time using this pattern.

I used about 1.25 yards of fabric out of the 2.5 I bought, so I’m going to try to squeeze out another burgundy top from the leftovers.  This time I want to try the v-neck… and maybe cut it a little smaller?  Knits are so mysterious!

Anyway, yay for more Renfrews!  They’re such quick and satisfying projects, and so great for the Everyday Wardrobe that everyone keeps talking about.  Now where should I go on a beautiful fall day in my new shirt?  : )

12 thoughts on “Renfrew #3: cowl neck in burgundy

  1. The colour is perfect for fall – a good transition piece. I am sure you’ll wear it a lot. I understand what you mean about cowl necks. I, too, like the ‘look’ of a cowl, but they do drive me CRAZY ’cause I am always fiddling with them! The Renfrew has really become your tried ‘n true (TNT) T-shirt pattern.


    • Thanks! Yeah, I’ve been really enjoying making these easy-to-wear everyday pieces. As for the cowl, I’ve been wearing the shirt all day and have resolved not to touch it anymore, which is actually helping a lot. I guess I just have to get it looking right, then not touch it for the rest of the day!


  2. I picked-up the Renfrew at Grey’s Fabrics in Boston about a month ago, so I am interested in all of your fine- tuning! You’ve done an awesome job and this color is one of my favorites to wear. A gorgeous day for a walk along the Esplanade?


    • Oooh exciting! I love Grey’s and (obviously) am loving this pattern. Good luck and have fun with it! Hopefully your fine-tuning will go smoothly, as knits can be pretty forgiving and easier to fit than wovens. Let us know how it goes!


  3. Congratulations on cracking out the lipstick! I rarely do but realised the other day I get lots of compliments when I do!
    I love the Renfrew, I think once you get used to wearing a cowl you will cease to fiddle with it. I love my cowl neck Renfrews. Great job!


  4. Hey Carolyn! That is a beautiful top in a beautiful colour – one of my favs too. I’ve had the same experience with cotton knits with them stretching and all, but if you stick it in the drier or wash it it should bounce back. I find knits a whole new world too! The stuff you learn about fitting wovens is mostly not applicable and you need to learn new stuff like negative ease and whatnot…fun times 🙂


    • Thanks Kat! Yeah, I haven’t thought about negative ease since my knitting days (sadly, long behind me), but you’re right – that’s exactly what this shirt needed. Who knew, since my previous two fit much more snugly. I just washed and dried this shirt, so I’m curious to try it on again and decide whether to take it in a little or leave it as-is. Part of me thinks a non-painted-on shirt would do me some good, since I claim to be a fully grown adult and all… : )


      • Yeah, I’ve never played with knit patterns as much as I have with wovens, so it’s a newish area for me too. I hope you like the fit better when it comes out of the drier. I didn’t think the fit was that bad when I saw your post, but we’re far more critical of our own work (well, I am at least!). Whenever I show something even to my experienced sewing friends they’re like, it looks great, just a few tweaks! But I’m like “oh my god, it’s so horrible I’m going to trash it’. LOL. Taking it in at the side seams would be an easy fix, though.


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