Monday, June 11, 2012

Fake Renfrew Tee

Three-quarter sleeve, scoop-neck, black-and-white striped Not A Renfrew tee.
What is this, the end of the world? Could I really be sewing cake and enjoying it? Yes, it's true, fellow sewasauruses, I have made myself the most basic of basics, a plain tee in neutral colors. Maybe the comet will strike soon and render my sewasaurus self extinct?

Back view, slightly twisty because I'm trying to turn and give directions to my husband about shooting.

Side view. Stripes matched, again!


My picked-apart tee and the resulting pattern. I just taped on the
scooped-out front section so that I could flip it back when
cutting, instead of drawing up another piece for the front. I am
azn-ly thrifty even with my giant roll of brown paper.
After seeing all the Renfrew tops floating around the sewing blogosphere, I decided I had to get in on the action...only I can't shake the azn thriftiness ingrained in me by my parents (hello, Dad! How's that eight year old Walgreen's sweatshirt holding up?). Much as I would love to support* Sewaholic's awesome patterns, I just can't justify spending that much for something I feel like I should be able to draft myself. Or in this case, trace. I took one of my old tees that fits superbly, but is too grotty for public wear, took it apart (you should have seen the pile of serger thread I picked out!), and traced it off onto some brown wrapping paper. And seriously, without fitting issues or seam finishing, this thing just flies together! I could totally see making up a whole fleet of these, provided I had enough different knits, of course. I still have enough to make another short-sleeved version, but I don't think I need more than one. Maybe my sister will want one.

Unfortunately, the stripes weren't quite as easy to match up on this. The fabric was ever so slightly stretched out near the selvages, and neither as pliable nor as possessed of powers of recovery as my coral stripe knit dress. In fact, my machine was pretty grumpy about sewing this fabric, which was surprising to me. I expected the whisper-thin, floaty coral stripe knit to be an issue, but instead this fairly thick and stable knit kept wanting to get sucked down into the bobbin compartment. When it came time to using the twin needle, which unfortunately is not ballpoint and therefore has more issues with knits, my machine downright refused to sew through multiple layers. Because of that, I opted to "finish" the neckline by just sewing in a circle with the double line of stitching, and leaving the edge raw. It's not going to unravel, and I'll just say it's a, umm, design feature. I also left the bottom edge unhemmed, which actually makes it less obtrusive when tucked into my high-waisted shorts.

Unhemmed bottom edge, and a little baggy under the arm.

I really like how this tee fits through the torso and shoulders (for once, my shoulder seam isn't hovering over my bra strap! Yay for sewing to fit my own measurements!), but I think the arms are the teensiest bit baggy. Not surprising since I just guesstimated that part of the pattern, as the original tee I traced was a cap-sleeve tee. It does afford a nice range of motion, though, and my arms don't feel like they've been stuffed into casings. Frankly, I'm not sure it's even an issue at all, except that it doesn't look as sleek as it could. Ah well, whatever, sleekness is for sausages, pony rumps (but not pony rump sausages), and the "after" pictures in restorative shampoo ads. Seeing as how my upper arms don't fall into any of those categories, I'm willing to let it go.

I can stretch luxuriously!
I can wrangle an unwilling Walnut!

Summary:
Fabric: 1 yard of black and white striped thick poly-blend knit from SAS Fabrics' discount shelf
Notions: none
Hours: 1!!! I whipped this up during my husband's Call of Duty session and he couldn't believe I had already finished a new top. Seriously, why go shopping when you could just sew?
Will you make this again? Oh yes. Best waste of an RTW tee ever!
Total cost: $1.50
Final thoughts: I love this top. Even with its unfinished edges and wonky double-stitching (shh, it's on the back of the neckline, which I purposely didn't photograph!), my husband declared it good enough to join the ranks of "real" clothes (I'm afraid superhero dresses don't quite count as "real" in his mind...but it's okay, they're loved and worn like the Velveteen Rabbit). I was afraid that the black and white stripes might make me look like the Hamburglar, or maybe a Sephora bag, but he reassured me that I don't look anything like either. Thank goodness. Even so, I don't think I'll be wearing this top into a Sephora anytime soon. While I don't mind looking like an IKEA couch, a cosmetics bag is an entirely different story.

So I'm not the Hamburglar, but I wouldn't be opposed to stealing a pastrami sandwich from Langer's...Seriously, I don't even like pastrami, or coleslaw, or Swiss cheese, or rye bread, but somehow when they are all combined into a #19 sandwich...mmmmmm. Perfect for a celebrating-the-end-of-the-school-year lunch!


So that's two pieces of cake in a row. Gosh, what's next, a pair of (non-Elizabethan) underwear???


*I did, however, show support by buying a Cambie dress pattern, as that's not something I feel like drafting myself. 

22 comments:

  1. Looks great, I love the stripes!

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    1. Thanks, me too! Totally worth the effort of matching...

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  2. Nicely done! The Sephora bag issue wouldn't have occurred to me had you not pointed it out, but it was hilarious, so thanks for doing so...

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    1. Haha, I am all about making things harder for myself by thinking of all the unfortunate resemblances I could possibly have!

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  3. Great self drafted T. I'm with you on why pay $$$ when you can do it better yourself!

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    1. Thanks! I don't know that this is better than the Renfrew, but it's certainly serviceable. Also, I love the challenge!

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  4. It looks great! And more wonderful matched stripes! Your stripes make my inner-perfectionist happy. =)

    I traced a waffle fabric shirt that I love the fit of and made myself a couple more a while back - if you use a pin to prick the paper in a dotted line, you can trace a shirt (inside out so your seam allowance isn't in the way) without having to take it apart. Then you just add the seam allowance to your traced pattern. (Of course, if the garment you want to copy is old and ready for the trash, just cutting it apart is way easier!)

    Every knit stretches a little differently. Some will be looser in different places even when you use the same pattern. And, yes, some annoyingly like to get sucked into the machine.

    You can always hem it with a zigzag stitch and a single ballpoint needle if you decide you want a hem. A zigzag on knits will stretch with the knit. =)

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    1. I don't have an inner perfectionist, but my outer perfectionist (read: my mom) is going to be seeing this, so I figured I'd better match the stripes! I hadn't heart about the pin-prick method of tracing, so thanks for the idea! As for the zigzag stitch, I like it aside from the fact that it doesn't look as RTW...

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  5. Beautiful! Perfect drafting! I didn't make the Sephora association either, so I think you're safe. ;)

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    1. Thank you for the compliment and the reassurance :)

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  6. It looks lovely and you can wear it with so many things! Sometimes it's good to make things that you can wear daily. XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It probably is the most practical thing I've ever made...and I'm embarrassed to say I've already worn it lots.

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  7. It looks great! I admit I waffled a fair bit over the Renfrew, as I already had a knit sloper---but when she had her birthday sale, I caved. Cambie, on the other hand, I had to have. Nomnomfrostingnom.

    My grade 2 teacher was an artist, and used to draw cartoons on the chalkboard for us while narrating stories of Le Hamburgleur. Yes, in French. :)

    I must admit I haven't been thrilled with my twin-needle most of the time. Either it tunnels badly or the stitch doesn't stretch enough for the fabric and threads start snapping after a week or two (especially on hems), or I break the needle after two inches of stitching. /sigh.

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    1. Heh, I bought the Cambie during the pre-sale, so yeah, I hear you on the sales. And my twin needle has the same issues, but gosh darn it, the twin lines of stitching are so pretty!

      See, the Hamburglar sounds so much less ridiculous in French!

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  8. It looks fantastic! Even though you listed out your issues with the fabric, your stripe matching looks superb - and I think the neckline and hem look great! Cake never looked so good, my friend! Bravo on drafting yet another fabulous project :)

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    1. It was a battle to get the stripes right without a walking foot, but the battle was worth it! Thanks for your kind words about my cake!

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  9. Great job, fits you perfectly!
    I appreciate the raw edge look you were going for! :)
    And you bear no resemblance to the Hamburgler.

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    1. Oh yes, that raw edge was totally meant to be ;) Thanks for reassuring me that I don't look like a cartoonish burger thief!

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  10. Oooh! That's some good cake! :) I've been phone-reading and not commenting lately, but I have to say you've very firmly planted icing vs. cake in my mind and I find myself thinking about it constantly lately...!

    Mmm. Good cake. Very good cake.

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    1. Do you know, the only reason why I started thinking about it more seriously is that you keep talking about pants that work for you as a mom running after a little kid, and making sure that you can climb walls in your tees? Your practicality (but not without elements of fun in every garment) inspires me.

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