A Tale of Two Tops

Tale of Two Shirts

You just might remember these two fabrics – they both come from my recent order from Cali Fabrics. They both sewed up nicely, so I thought I’d show them off together! (In truth, I’ve also sewed up the lovely french terry from that order, but I improvised some changes to a TNT pattern and it didn’t work out that well… still deciding how to make it work!

First up, cherries and polka dots!

Modified Renfrew Wrap Top

(I must also apologize for the over exposed pics… I’d already asked my husband to retake them once so I didn’t want to ask again! 🙂

This is, believe it or not, a Renfrew. It was a really simple change – I basically just measured how far under my arm I would want the cross-over to sit, and freehanded a curved line from shoulder to that point. It’s finished with folded bands everywhere, just like an classic Renfrew. A mod like this would work with any t-shirt, but I chose Renfrew because the snugger fit means that the wrap stays in place and doesn’t flap open. I think with something loose like  Plantain it wouldn’t be as successful!

Modified Renfrew Wrap Top

It’s been a while since I sewed any tops as fitted as this, and I’m curious to see how much it gets worn. I’ve gained a little weight this summer (that’s what I get for wearing pyjamas for 2 months – I’ve always relied on my pants to tell me when it’s time to put down the cake! These red pants that I made 2 years ago were always snug, but man – now they are TIGHT!) The other side effect of not wearing proper clothes all summer is that shapes and styles I often wore in the spring and winter now look a bit odd to me. My long loose tops are feeling frumpy, so a fitted style like this is a perfect antidote!

On the total flip side…. there’s this!

Maria of Denmark Olivia Tee

This is a Maria of Denmark Olivia Oversized Tee, which I first sewed as a pattern tested back in the winter. It’s a really loose 80’s-esque kimono tee, and … what can I say? It’s SO comfy to wear!

My first Olivia didn’t get worn much (too sheer and clingy) so for this version I really wanted something loose and effortless. This mid-weight rayon blend is great – it was so fun as I cut to see how the large-scale print was framed by the pattern pieces. The feathers curve and flow so nicely.

Maria of Denmark Olivia Tee 

Oh, and these pants? I bought ’em. No sewing for me! Since that I’ve got a wardrobe full of slightly tight me-made pants, I was highly uninterested in remaking them all. Instead, I hit some sales and ended up with 5 pairs of jeans/pants for $5-15 each. They’ll all need darts in the back to keep them from sagging during the day, but for about $60 I’m awfully glad I didn’t have to do all those pockets, flies, and topstitching myself!

A Tale of Two Tops
These two tops really are different in style, but they’ve got a lot in common too: modest-but-open necklines, 3/4 length sleeves, and ending right above the fullest part of my hip. Sometimes I feel like my style should be more cohesive, like I should pick between the styles I like and settle on only one… but come on, where’s the fun in that? My only real criteria for what I make and wear is that I need to feel good wearing it. 

How consistent is your wardrobe? Do you go for variations on the same “look” most days, or do you alternate between modern, retro, chic and casual? 

ps. I’d also like to send big hugs and love towards Alessa and Jeni, who both picked my love of knits, maxis and prints as inspiration for the Sewicialist’s Tribute month! Thank you, ladies. I’m honoured, and you both made my day! And… I want to steal both dresses you made. 

28 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tops

  1. I love both these tops. Never would have thought the cherry print one was a Renfrew. I’ll have to try that hack on my selt drafted t-shirt pattern.


  2. Both tops are really cute! I like the necklines very much on you and I love the feather print fabric! Great pairing of style and fabrics.

    Sometimes you just have to buy rtw. And now you have some finishing detail examples to study and copy! =)


    1. Oh and to answer your question, my closet holds a large variety of looks (I am a costumer after all!) but I’m mostly a t-shirt and jeans girl when I’m freelancing because sewing is often messy.


  3. Both these tops look great! I love both the fabrics and what you did with the renfrew is awesome!!
    When it comes to style and what I sew (and wear), I am pretty much all over the place. I sometimes wish I had more of a “uniform” or cohesive style, but I don’t. I guess I like to keep people (and myself) guessing. LOL!


    1. You know, in North America we have a lot of pressure to dress consistently… but in Japan people really embrace dressing as costume, and will happily wear punk one day and cutesy Lolita stuff the next! I find that level of chameleon dressing a bit odd, but the concept is sound – I mean, we never wear more than one outfit at a time, so who cares if they are different day to day?


    1. Thanks Heather! That loose top is going to be awesome on days when I just want to wear pyjamas to work. I’m also rather tempted to make a long dress/tunic version of that pattern… I could go full 80’s!!


  4. i think these are greats tops, and both look very “you.” we’re totally allowed to vary our style. i could never choose between fitted or flow-y… both have a spot in my wardrobe! and really it’s mostly about choosing the right fabric for the right style. you made great choices here, i love the hacked renfrew! and the feathers… so so cute.


  5. Very nice! I especially like the cherries- your Renfew mod worked a treat!

    I have very little cohesiveness in my wardrobe; even when I look back through my blog it seems that I sew a whole mish mash of styles. Sometimes I think I should try & be more focussed, but as I said in my most recent post, sometimes I just wanna have fun! Makes it kinda hard to put an outfit together at times, but there’s bigger problems in life, right?!


  6. Ooo, I love both tops, but especially the one with the cherries on looks so nice on you. The colors really fit you so well! No surprises here – I love variation in my wardrobe, that makes it more fun! Although I have to say that I have started to wear a rather “strict” uniform for choir work, as it makes it easier to choose what to wear for work. 🙂


    1. Yeah, “uniform” is helpful in the morning when you are getting dressed and rushing out the door! And I’d say variation is fun for weekends when there is more time and leaway to be creative… except usually on weekends I just wear pyjamas! 😉


  7. That’s a really clever Renfrew hack!

    I have a confession…I’d actually intended to pick you for Tribute Month as well. That was the Red Velvet hack that I’d posted on Instagram recently, where the striped fabric was just too narrow for those sleeves and I had to shelf the idea for now. There’s absolutely no way I can get anything done for this sewalong now, given that the entire rest of this month is being swallowed up by my DragonCon trip and prep, but I wanted you to know I was thinking of you!


    1. Aww, you are awesome! Thank you. It’s a lovely compliment, even if the project didn’t work out! And truly, what could be more appropriate than a rushed knit dress that didn’t quite happen. That’s me all over! 🙂 Hope your month goes well and Dragon Con is really super duper extra fun!


  8. I love your Renfrew hack. Both tops look terrific. I mix it up too. I like to try new things. I usually wear pants to work. They are perfect for teaching. However, it is so easy to just put on a dress and look “done” so they are creeping into my wardrobe.


  9. I love both of these tops but especially the cherry Renfrew! Genius idea and I love the fabric. I don’t have a cohesive look so much as a colour scheme, as long as it’s navy blue I’m there, or a bit of yellow! Bit boring perhaps though.


  10. Ooh yay, great tops! I especially like the (can you guess?) polka-dot cherry one! Now that autumn is coming up again, I think I also need some more 3/4 sleeved tops to go with my skirts… and it’s been ages since I made a faux wrap!
    Hmm, good question about the cohesiveness (cohesity?) of my wardrobe. I do think I have different preferences depending on the weather/temperature and the season, for example I love red and floaty skirts in early summer, tend towards shades of blue in late summer and come autumn, I really want to wear slimmer silhouettes and shorter skirts. And now and then, I just take any excuse to play dress up with every day clothes and go for a certain style… So, more fun and spur of the moment, I guess. 😉


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