Hi guys, today I’ve got a tutorial on how to hack the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern to make your very own asymmetrical ruffle top. If you have a question or I’ve totally confused you hit me up in the comments. I’ll be more than happy to clear things up.
Oh and if you use this tutorial I’d love to see! You can find me on instagram @katypatzel or twitter @KatyandLaney #hackattack.
Alright away we go…
1. Trace pattern pieces 1 (front), 3 (back), and 4 (sleeve) in a size larger than your measurements.
I choose to start with pattern pieces one size larger than my measurements to add ease throughout the top. I wanted the body, shoulders, and sleeves all to fit a bit looser than the Renfrew’s original design. In my case this meant cutting a size 6 rather than a size 4 as suggested in the size chart.
2. Lower the front neckline 3/4 inch and straighten both the front and back side seams.
At the center front lower the neckline 3/4 inch and gradually blend the new curve into the original neckline before reaching the shoulder (see red dashed line).
A quick tip for altering necklines, make sure your curve intersects the center front or back (the cut on fold line in this pattern) at a 90 degree angle. The edge does not need to run 90 degrees to the center for very long, but if you intersect at a different angle you will create a point like you see on v neck shirts.
With your ruler draw a straight line from the corner where the side seam and armscye meet to the corner where your side seam and hem meet (see red dashed line). Repeat this step on both the front and back pattern pieces. These new side seams have removed shaping at the waist to given your top a boxy silhouette.
3. Parallel to the grainline slash your front and back pattern pieces once from the neckline to the hem and a second time from the armscye to the hem.
Now we are going to add some extra ease at the hem to make sure your top doesn’t cling at the hips and give the hem some swing. To do this we will be slashing and spreading both the front and back pattern pieces. On both pattern pieces you will draw two lines parallel to the center front or back (both lie on the grainline). The first line will run from the neckline to the hem and the second will run from the armscye to the hem (see dashed red lines). Cut your pattern pieces down these lines.
4. Spread your pattern pieces at the hem.
Now that your front and back are each slashed into three pieces it’s time to spread. We will be adding wedges to the pattern pieces to preserve the shape of the neckline and armscye while adding volume at the hem. Place your three front pieces on top of fresh tracing paper so you can tape them in place once they are arranged properly. Where you have slashed from the front neckline to the front hem spread the pieces 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) at the hem angling the pieces towards on another so they just touch at the neckline creating a narrow wedge. Once in place tape these pieces to fresh second layer of tracing paper. Where you have slashed from the front armscye to the front hem spread the pattern pieces 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) at the hem and angle the pattern pieces so the armscye line remains uninterrupted. Tape pieces to second layer of tracing paper.
Repeat this process with the slashed back pattern pieces. The slash running from the back neckline to the back hem should be spread 3/4 inch (2 cm) at the hem and the slashed running from the back armscye to the back hem should be spread 1/2 inch (1/3 cm) at the hem. Tape your pieces to second layer of tracing paper.
Draw a new hemline connecting your spread pieces. Don’t worry too much about this last point because we will be modifying the hem again in step 7.
5. Add a wedge to the center front and center back to add volume at hem.
Perpendicular to the center front measure 1/2 inch and make a small mark. Using your ruler draw a straight line connecting this point to the corner where your center front meets the neckline. This line will become your new center front and grainline. Connect the new center front to your hemline. As with the neckline the new portion of hem should intersect the new center front at a 90 degree angle to create a smooth curve (see step 2 for detailed explanation)
Perpendicular to the center back measure 1 inch and make a small mark. Draw a straight line connecting this point to the top corner where the center back and neckline meet. This line is your new center back and grainline. Connect the new center back with the hemline.
Cut your spread front and back pattern pieces from the tracing paper.
6. Trace your modified front and back pattern pieces on a folded piece of tracing paper (the center front and center back should be placed on the fold as if the tracing paper were fabric). Cut out traced pattern pieces and open.
The asymmetric hemline means we need to cut out our fabric on the flat rather than on the fold so we need to create a front and back pattern piece that include both the right and left sides. No more of this cut on fold business. I think the easiest way to do this is treat a fresh piece of tracing paper like fabric and fold it down the center. Place your front and back pattern pieces on the fold as if the tracing paper were fabric. Trace your pattern pieces onto the paper and cut out. Open the folded tracing paper and voila your pattern pieces have both a right and left side.
7. On both front and back pattern pieces mark 6 inches up from the hem along the left side seam. Use a hip curve or free hand a gentle curve connecting mark at left side seam to hemline at right side seam.
Now it’s time to make the angled hemline. Be careful to correctly identify the left side seam on the front and back pattern pieces. This can be a little confusing when the pattern pieces are laid out in front of you. You’ll notice the left side seam appears to be on the right side of the front pattern piece when it is lying face up toward you.
Measure six inches up from the hemline along the left side seams and make a small mark. Free hand or use a hip curve to draw a gentle curve connecting these marks with the hemline at the right side seam (see dashed red line).
8. Almost done hacking! Your front and back pattern pieces should look a little something like this.
Yay the front and back pattern pieces are hacked! They should look something like the step 8 illustration.
The chiffon ruffle is created from two rectangular chiffon panels. Since these panels are on the grain I find it easiest to rip the chiffon rather than cutting. It is nearly impossible to cut a perfectly straight edge in chiffon, but when you rip the fabric you’ll know that each edge is square and on grain, plus it is so so much faster!
So since you’ll be ripping the chiffon you don’t need to draw out pattern pieces, but you do need to calculate the dimensions of each panel. The short edges are easy 6 1/2 inches (16.5 cm) for both the front and back chiffon panel. To determine the long edge lengths measure your hem length on both front and back pattern pieces (see step 8). Multiply these numbers by 1.5 (you’ll need extra length for gathering) and voila – you’ve got the lengths of your long edges.
Finally we need to work out the neck binding (which will be cut from the knit fabric to finish the neckline). You can use Renfrew pattern piece 8, but I’d add an extra inch or two in length since we’ve scooped out the neck a bit in step 2.
I don’t usually use pattern pieces myself when it comes to knit neck bindings. I find the length I want can vary depending on the stretch and recovery of the knit. A good starting point is 1 inch shorter than the neck edge. I’ll pin my neck binding to the neckline and see if I like the amount of stretch. If I want to shorten the binding I’ll just zip a little off with my serger. If you’d like to replicate my top exactly, it may be helpful to know that I went for a slightly wider neck binding at 2 inches thick. I was using a serger for this top so my seam allowances are 1/4 inch. If you are using a zig zag stitch on a normal machine you may want to make the binding wider to accommodate the 5/8 inch seam allowance.
10. Cut out your knit fabric and rip your chiffon panels.
Time to cut your fabric. You’ll be cutting the modified pattern pieces on the flat since they are asymmetrical. Be sure that both front and back pattern pieces are facing up so that your left side seam is the short side seam. You’ll also be cutting out 2 sleeves (see step 1) and a neck binding.
Rip your chiffon panels. Just make a little snip through the selvedge to get things started and enjoy a little catharsis.
11. Sew top according to Renfrew pattern instructions up to step 9. Hem sleeves with a double needle.
Use the Renfrew pattern instructions to assemble top. Stop at step 9. If you decide to omit the sleeve bindings as I have done hem your sleeves with a zig zag stitch or double needle.
12. Sew chiffon panels together at side seams (short edges).
The side seams for your chiffon ruffle are the short edges. Sew side seams to create a large loop of chiffon. I suggest using a french seam finish for clean sturdy seams.
13. Hem chiffon ruffle.
My favorite method for hemming chiffon is to use two rows of stitching to help me press evenly. You can read a more detailed tutorial by Colette patterns here.
Sew a row of stitching 1/4 inch (6mm) from bottom edge of ruffle. Sew a second row of stitching 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) from the bottom edge. Press hem towards inside of ruffle along the first row of stitching. Turn hem a second time along the second row or stitching and press again. Topstitch folded hem 1/4 inch (6 mm) from edge.
14. Gather chiffon ruffle.
Use two rows of basting stitch to gather chiffon. Since I used a serger to attach my ruffle I tried to keep my basting stitches within my 1/4 inch seam allowance. If you’re having trouble with the fabric unraveling (as poly chiffon tends to do) baste further from the edge and remove the stitching at the end.
15. Pin and stitch ruffle to hem of top.
Pin your ruffle to the hem of your top matching side seams. Adjust ruffles so that they are even along the hem and pin liberally. The more pins the better when joining chiffon and knit. Sew.
And that’s it. THE END!
Happy sewing everyone!