Saturday, November 15, 2014

Renfrew, Ottobre, Plantain

**Picture intensive post ahead**

I wear comfortable clothes.  Since most of my day is spent at home, this consists of jeans and a tee.  In the winter I freeze so the tee becomes long-sleeved.  I don't have many to choose from in my closet and one of my favorite makes is pilled beyond belief now, which means I needed to make some more.  I decided to sew up three different patterns and compare them.

My current measurements: 35-28-42. Height is 5'7"

Sewaholic Renfrew 1201:

I have wanted to try the renfrew for awhile now - always being the last to jump on the bandwagon.  I ordered it from Patternreview because their shipping is so fast to me.

Size and adjustments: Shoulders/bust 6, waist 8, hip 12. 1/2" square shoulder adjustment.

Instructions:  Pet peeve, no "front" mark on sleeves. Plus, what is up with #6.  "sew collar pieces wrong sides together" This means that the right side is facing up, but the diagram shows the wrong side facing up. Plus, when I followed the directions sewing W sides together it was clearly wrong. Am I the only one who had issue with this?  Also, I wonder why the collar has to have a top seam anyway, can't it be cut in just one piece? or is the seam to add structure? are they separate to save fabric? I'll test this theory on my next one.
I feel like a ninja!

Fabric: 10 oz. Charcoal Cotton lycra from Purpleseamstress in Oct 2014. 2 yards, $13. Love this fabric.

Fit: Love love love the fit. I can see why everyone loves this pattern.  The cuffs and band are a great idea, though I still like to finish with my coverstitch for hems. The sleeves are a tad tight for me so my next one I will add width there.
I don't like how the neckline with the cowl is out so far on my shoulders.  I can see this line when I wear the cowl and it bugs me. I may try to work out a way to have it less wide here.

Ottobre 05/2013 #1A:

I have sewn this one up a few times now and you all know I love it.  My loose striped version is slowly pilling but I wear it a lot.  My color blocked zig-zag is going strong and gets worn once per week.  My favorite of them all, the blue/gray color blocked is pilled beyond belief.  The blue fabric is poor quality and I am sad I can't wear it. So I wanted to re-make that one with better quality fabric. The tunic version I made I don't wear very much, sadly.

Size and adjustments: Shoulder, bust, waist 40 to 44 at hip.  1/2" Square shoulder adjustment, added 1/2" to outside of shoulder in armhole because shoulders were too narrow.  Separated a yoke from bodice to color block. 1/2" swayback adjustment. Did not add a pocket.

Instructions: Great instructions.  I had no issues with them.

Fabric: 7 oz. Teal Blue Jersey Knit from fashionfabricsclub in Aug 2014. 3/4 yard, $4.13; gray bottom is charcoal gray sweater knit from fashionfabricsclub in Sept 2013. 3/4 yard, $2.96. I wish I had bought more of the gray because it is soft and beefy.

Fit:  Great fit. I think it is a sleek look.  I need to add a wedge to the back and take it out from the front.  The drag lines I'm getting from bust to waist are from my large rear pulling the fabric at the hip.

Deer & Doe Plantain:

I made this up one other time in short sleeve and liked the style.  Plus I had to try those cute patches out on the elbows!

Size and adjustments: 38 shoulder, 40 bust and waist, 44 hip. 1/2" square shoulder adjustment, darted 1/2" out of neckline to armpit because of my hollow chest. I also took in 3/4" to 1" from waist to hip on front piece because front was too big.

Instructions:  The instructions are great. I had no issues with them.  I just purchased a binder attachment for my coverstitch and had a bit of an issue with the knit binding for the neckline wanting to fold wrong. I got it to look ok and left it at that. I added the tiny pocket from the Ottobre pattern because I love tiny pockets and it was a way to incorporate more gray into the top.

Fabric: 10 oz. Royal Blue Cotton Lycra. From the Purpleseamstress in Nov 2014. 2 yards, $13.  This fabric sews up so beautifully and is the perfect weight of not light and not heavy. Gray band and patches are Laguna Stretch Knit Heathered Pepper from  I want to caution. The fabric calls for 2.25 yards and it really needs it.  I wanted the neckband to be in the royal blue but didn't have enough for even that small bit of fabric after squeezing the other pieces out of 2 yards.

Fit: Love it. For a free pattern this sucker fits great!  And these elbow patches make me smile.

** So I recently stumbled upon the Purpleseamstress on facebook, she also has a website. And thought I'd try her knits. They have all gotten glorious reviews.  Well they are worth it!  Not only are the solids cheap ($6.50/yard, cotton lycra) they are also a dream to sew with. Not lightweight, not heavyweight. Just perfect.  And Melinda ships super duper fast.  I recommend her to anyone.  She lists special things on her facebook page each day and you can order both on her website and on her facebook. She also replies to you almost instantly if you contact her via FB.  **  I know good quality knits are hard to come by so I wanted to share. I do not get any sort of payment from telling you this.

Oh, and let's get these tally's back in order here;
Totals for the year to date:
Purchased in Oct and Nov: 41.25 yards (oops, but I was ill and it felt good)
Stash from before this year, sewn this year: 44.75 yards
All Fabric sewn/sold/gave-away in 2014: 182 yards
Fabric purchased in 2014: 195.75 yards

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~


  1. Nice review and comparison! You know, I thought that the missing notch on the front of the Renfrew sleeve was my fault - that I'd forgotten to trace it!! And I had the same thought about the two pieces for the cowl - until I decided to make it in a directional print and realized that with the two pieces I could avoid having one piece upside down!!

    1. Thanks Gail! the directional print thing makes total sense :) I will remember that!

  2. I see why that Ottobre tee is your fave. It's perfect on you!!

    Love all 3 and I love the plantain elbow patches :) I have to resize and try that one again. My first attempt was a bit snug!

    1. Thanks Nakisha :) It's my only tnt for myself, lol. I do hope you give the plantain a shot again!

  3. I love your new tops and they all look great on you! I have heard great things about the Renfrew but I have yet to make or buy the pattern. I've also been wanting to try the Plantain - love the elbow patches!

    I'll have to check out Purpleseamstress. I'm always on the look out for good quality knits!

  4. What a great comparison! I haven't tried the Renfrew with the cowl neck, only a short sleeved tee. I thought the arms were a little snug on me too. I really like the Ottobre t-shirt on you! I will definitely try that one, as well as the plantain. I downloaded that a while ago but haven't printed it up. All 3 look really nice on you and thanks for the info on the fabric site! I will definitely check it out! It is hard to find the right weight for t-shirts. I think that is why I haven't made myself too many.

    1. Thanks Shirley! I was starting to get a complex that maybe I have fat arms because they seem to be snug in many of my makes! I was super happy to stumble upon those knits because you are right, it is so hard to find the good stuff!

  5. I adore the Plaintain on you and i am very grateful for all your fitting tips.

  6. All of these make great every day tops. Like you, I prefer to sew stuff I will wear not just get out once in a while! If I had to pick, the Ottobre just gets it for me - it's just so neat looking and I can really see why you wore your other one out.

    1. Thank you Philippa! it is a great pattern - which is hard to come by some times! I did make a dress for myself last summer I think and I haven't worn it since. I just live for comfort :)

  7. All your tops are fab, Kristin! I haven't bought the Renfrew pattern yet (I'm late to the party too!) but it's on my Christmas list.;)

    1. Thank you Cindy! I hope you get it for your Xmas :) I am dreaming up all new ones to make now!

  8. The Renfrew is really gorgeous. The fit looks great on you. I don't think I'd buy the pattern myself since I doubt it'd be smart for an inverted triangle to buy a pattern meant for pears ):

    I think I'm going to steal your color-blocked Ottobre shirt variation!

    1. Thank you Joy! I am so addicted to the Renfrew now. I understand what you mean about the fit and triangle. I tried Colette patterns and I'm just not the body type for them - it was sad.

      Go ahead and steal away :) I'd love to see your version!


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