Renfrew Maternity Hack in floral

Our exciting (read: overwhelming, a little scary and physically uncomfortable right now) news is that we are welcoming another member to our family…any day now!

Besides the mental preparation, financial and logistical considerations and general nesting, what it has also meant is that I’ve had zero clothes to wear especially since my first pregnancy was during a very hot Sydney summer and this one was mainly through winter.  I have borrowed most of my wardrobe and bought some key pieces but, of course, couldn’t really justify spending much money on clothes I’d only wear for a few months when I have piles of fabric that are aching to be made into something wearable.

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First up:  The Floral Renfew Maternity Hack.  I love this pattern from Sewaholic and have made a few versions that have been well loved.  I decided that this was as good a place to start as any.  I then did a bit of research on how to adjust a pattern for maternity.  There are differing schools of thought on this one and the clearest tutorials I could find were from Melly Sews.  She provides two options with the first probably better for a more flowing style and the second option I decided would suit the Renfrew better and work well with the waist band under my belly.

The fabric I chose is a nice light-weight cotton knit I had left over from my Beach Dress.  It’s a fun floral and although probably more suited to summer clothes, worked well for this in-between season top.  I chose the three-quarter sleeves from the Renfrew pattern which means the top can swing to the warmer or cooler side depending on what’s needed.  Versatility – woohoo!

I followed Melly’s steps and caught the main gist but my pieces didn’t quite line up like they were supposed to.

Any way, I made it work and then set about cutting it out and sewing it up.  Once again, with the help of my trusty old lady overlocker, this came together pretty easily.

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I reinforced the shoulder seams with swimsuit elastic.  I also added rouching in the side seams so that the extra length of the t-shirt is taken up on the sides but sufficient to get over the ever-growing belly.  I created the rouching by just stretching elastic through the lower portion of the side seam and letting the elastic create the rouche. This is probably the lazy way of doing it and really you should sew channels along the side seams and then thread a long tie of fabric through the channels so you can gather as little or as much as you want.  I also should have measured the stretch of the elastic a bit better because the sides aren’t 100% even.  Oops!

This has been a great go-to top during my pregnancy and even now at 38 weeks I can JUST fit into it!  But phew…I’m ready for baby to arrive now!

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Pattern: Sewaholic’s Renfrew adapted for maternity thanks to Melly Sews

Fabric: Lightweight floral cotton knit originally from a fabric store in Marrickville, Sydney

Alterations: Maternity adaptions to the pattern plus side rouching

Do it again: Always room for another Renfrew… Not another maternity one though!

A Beige Renfrew

I have worn my first Renfrew so much already that I knew I had to make another one. This knit fabric was originally destined for a cardigan but when I didn’t have enough for the style that I wanted, I thought that whipping up another top using Sewaholic’s awesome Renfrew pattern would be ideal.

Beige Renfrew

This time I went with long sleeves and because I didn’t have enough fabric for the full cowl, I made a halfway in between cowl that ends up being like a loose turtle neck. I think it worked out pretty well and I quite like not having a seam along the top edge of the cowl neck.

Beige Renfrew2

The other bonus is that this top goes well with the MC pants!  I am trying to think about projects that work well together but must admit that I get seduced by fun fabrics so don’t often make a simple counterpart.

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Pattern: Sewaholic’s Renfrew

Fabric: Beige cotton knit with chunkier knit stitches from a Marrickville fabric store

Alterations: I used the same size as previously but shaped the waist a bit; For the neck I used a single rectangle (ish) that I folded over rather than the full cowl.

Do it again: Since this is number 2 in just over a month, I’m pretty sure there is room for a few more of these 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing.

Stretchy Sewing: My First Renfrew

Renfrew front

I have seen Sewaholic’s Renfrew all over the blogging world for a while now and finally succumbed to trying it out myself.  Part of me felt that with my new found pattern-making ‘skills’ I should be able to put together a decent stretch top pattern and so resisted the temptation to buy stretch patterns for a while.  But then I tried the Renfrew.  And what bliss.  The notches line up.  The cuffs and waist band and neck bands all fit together well and it all came together really quickly.  Nice work Sewaholic!  The most frustrating thing about the project was painstakingly sticking all the print-at-home bits of paper together and that was totally my fault for being too impatient to wait for a pattern to arrive in the mail.  I really liked the choice of cuffs and waist band to finish off the sleeves and bottom because those details are still the downfall of my stretch garments.  I just can’t get them to look fabulous. But with a nice cuff/waistband, I’m one step closer.

Renfrew back

(The back seam of the cowl looks like it’s off centre in this pic but it’s just the way it’s sitting here – really it’s not like that!)

I cut a size 10 based on my bust measurement but I feel that it might be a bit big.  I might try a size smaller next time and have considered giving it a bit of shaping at the waist.  But this loose comfy fit also works well.  I tried view C complete with gorgeous full cowl neck and three-quarter sleeves.  I think next time I’ll go for long sleeves because if it’s too cold for short sleeves, I’m all bundled up and if it’s too hot for long sleeves I want short sleeves!  So I never really know where three-quarter sleeves fit in.

The other awesome thing about this top is I did it ALL on the ‘Old Babe’ Overlocker!  I am in love.  Serging up a storm! This is just the start of the storm ‘serge’! I probably should’ve done some top stitching to keep the seams lying flat but I loved how quick and easy and NEAT it was to whip up a garment on the overlocker.  I know the pro’s among you would be horrified to hear that I used mainly black thread but it was all an experiment to see how my first overlocker garment would turn out.  And I think it turned out pretty well.  I might be pre-empting disaster here…but it looks like with an overlocker you can get away with all manner of sins …in terms of thread colour any way.  Don’t worry…I will change colour when I need to do a light coloured piece 🙂

Pattern: Sewaholic’s Renfrew

Fabric: Cotton knit in a greeny/aqua colour from a Marrickville fabric store

Alterations: None

Do it again: Absolutely! Maybe a size smaller, long sleeves.  Might try it as a dress or even mix it up with a bow like Amy’s version from Sew Well.

Do you have any serger secrets to share?  What did you learn from your Renfrew or what variations have you tried?