The image above is the culmination of a grand sewing strategy. Are you strategic with your fabric and pattern purchases? I’ve been trying to get better at planning ahead with the goal of creating a wearable, everyday wardrobe. The idea is to create comfortable, easy-to-wear pieces that are functional in my daily life, and to create new pieces that work with existing pieces.
I had identified a few problems in my existing wardrobe:
- I needed more long-sleeved t-shirts for layering in cold weather.
- Wearing an Archer with a tank top underneath doesn’t keep me warm enough.
- My existing knit tops don’t match with my Archers.
The solution: Buy some jersey in colors that match my Archers, and sew up a bunch of Renfrews!
I also tried to keep my color palette in mind when shopping for jersey. How do you think I did?
I think I’m on track with everything except the burgundy combo. I tend to pull out a few fall colors at this time of year that don’t see much wear throughout the rest of the year, and I think a few exceptions to the palette are acceptable. 🙂
Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew, with long sleeves and V-neck.
Fabric: The orange, yellow, and purple tops were made with Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey in tangerine, citrus, and amethyst. It’s a medium-weight cotton/lyrca knit, and I would highly recommend it! It has a good weight with excellent stretch and recovery. The burgundy top is made from a heavier cotton/lycra knit that I got at Fabric Place Basement. It’s pretty substantial – about the weight of yoga pants.
Modifications: A bunch of tweaks to fit my long, inverse triangle body shape (quite the opposite of the pear shape the pattern is designed for!).
Level of crafty satisfaction: Although these are just plain t-shirts, I’m pretty happy with my strategic sewing. 🙂
All right, now it’s time for all the requisite photos! You’ll see that I kept the tops quite long with extra long sleeves, and with a decent amount of ease around the mid-section. I’ve noticed that my handmade knit tops tend to keep shrinking over a long winter with many washes, and I want these tops to last a while!
Renfrew #14 in Tangerine Laguna Jersey
Yes, I’ve made a lot of Renfews. I can’t help it – I wear one almost everyday in the winter!
I’ve paired it with my Spring Archer. What do you think of the combination? I think it’ll keep me nice and toasty all winter. Sewing win!
This was the first of the four tops I made, the one with an alteration FAIL. I made the armholes too deep, resulting in some unflattering pulling over the bust when I stretch out my arms. Oops! I corrected this for the subsequent tops, thankfully. Live and learn, right?
Renfrew #15 in Citrus Laguna Jersey
When I showed John this top, his response was “interesting color choice.” I’m just going to take that as a compliment. I love yellow! Plus, it’ll be great for crossing the street in the dark. 🙂
This top is paired with my Archer of Many Details. I really love the combination of yellow and gray, or yellow and black/white. I used this combo in my Sgt. Pepper dress, which I love wearing! I think this is my favorite Renfrew/Archer combination of the bunch.
Renfrew #16 in Amethyst Laguna Jersey
I was aiming for more of a blue color when I bought this fabric online, but the purple is growing on me quite a bit. A few people have told me over the years that purple looks good on me, so I’m going to roll with it. 🙂
I’m wearing this top with my Oxford and Liberty Archer. I think the combination is ok. Not quite what I was aiming for, but good enough!
Renfrew #17 in Burgundy Heavyweight Cotton/Lycra Knit
This jersey is different from the previous 3 in that it’s heavier weight with a higher lycra content and less drape. It’s incredibly warm and comfortable to wear! I also think the higher lycra content makes it appear just slightly less loose than the other tops, although the pooling around my waist is still there. No biggie. Like I said, I’m trying to guard against inevitable shrinkage, and I’ll almost always be wearing these tops under button-downs and sweaters.
This top is paired with my Chambray Bird Archer, the most recent addition to my army of Archers. I’ve also been wearing my teal Renfrew with this shirt, which also matches pretty nicely. It’s nice to have options!
A few details and final thoughts
I’ve been using my new serger for most of the construction on these tops, with the exception of attaching and topstitching the neckband. Check out those serged seams!
I used gray thread for the right needle and both loopers for all the tops, just changing out the left needle thread to match the fabric color. To sew a circular seam (like the sleeve cuff above), I start at the sleeve seam, serge all the way around, and then serge over the starting point and then off the fabric. Can you see where I did this above? Is this the right way to do it?
Another close-up shot of the point of the V-neck (check out the yellow one here). Not bad!
Overall, I’m feeling quite pleased with myself after this t-shirt sewing binge. I successfully used my new serger on a few garment projects, I increased my arsenal of staple garments that I’ll wear all winter long, and I coordinated new pieces with existing ones in my wardrobe. Yeah!! 🙂
If all this planning and coordination has the OCD part of your brain all riled up, stay tuned because I have 2 Moss mini’s on deck that will also coordinate with these Renfrew/Archer combos. Hooray for planning an everyday wardrobe!