Stable Knit fabric

Thanks for all of the suggestions on Monday’s post, asking what kind of things you’d like to see as I sew more Renfrew Tops. So many good ideas! So many things to note as I sew, recommendations to explain why certain things are done, and votes to find out more about fabric selection. While I may not be able to cover everything you’ve asked for, I will do my best to provide useful, helpful and thorough sewing posts to guide you in making the Renfrew Top. Sewing posts are going to be rolled out at a fairly slow pace as I’m working on a couple different things at once here, but once it’s all posted there will be plenty of good information to reference any time you want to sew a Renfrew. And I will definitely explain many of the ‘whys’ with this pattern to help you make the best choices for your own project.

So on that note, let’s talk about fabric!

On the back of the Renfrew Top pattern, the recommended fabric is a Stable Knit Fabric. As opposed to any old knit fabric, a stable knit fabric will work better with the self-fabric bands at the cuff and hem, and create a nicer looking neckline band.

This is one of those concepts that has me waving my hands in the air, trying to gesture and explain how this fabric feels. It’s hard to put into words exactly, but I’m going to try. Here are some of the factors to consider when it comes to choosing a good fabric for the Renfrew Top.


Stretch is important and necessary when it comes to sewing a pattern designed for knit fabrics! You’ll need to have some stretch to your fabric in order to make the Renfrew Top. However, a fabric with a lot of stretch and not a lot of recovery (which we’ll talk about in a minute) may end up growing, getting larger as you wear the garment, or stretching out permanently. You want a fabric with a little bit of stretch, but it doesn’t have to be super stretchy. Think of it this way – double knits are hardly stretchy at all but they’ll work great for this pattern. Bathing suit fabric is very, very stretchy and because it has good recovery, you could use it for this pattern. (But you probably don’t want to wear a tee shirt made of swimsuit material.) Something like a bamboo-rayon knit, very light and drapey with a lot of stretch, isn’t going to be the easiest to work with. Which brings me to the next point..


A fabric with a little more weight to it is going to work better for the Renfrew Top. Something like a cotton-spandex knit usually has a bit more thickness to it and feels sort of spongy and stretchy. (I hope that makes sense!) A double knit fabric is slightly thick and works well. A super light tissue-weight knit is going to be so light that the bands weigh it down, and you’ll notice the double layer of fabric as it will look very different from the main body fabric where it’s only a single layer. Medium weight knits are best, and light weight knits are all right as long as they don’t stretch out of shape, which leads right into the next point.

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