achivement unlocked: sparkly renfrew sweater

jared left for washington DC yesterday & i used my first toddler nap of my solo parenting stint to tackle a project i’d been procrastinating on for months: doing an FBA (full bust adjustment) on my sewaholic renfrew pattern.


i think the resulting sweater came out really well!

for the uninitiated: most patterns are drafted for a B cup. if you deviate from that standard (bigger or smaller), it behooves you to alter your pattern accordingly to achieve the best fit. i am far from a B cup. there a six-inch difference between my high bust & my full bust (that’s a lot). but i’d never done an FBA, first because i had never heard of them, & then because people made it sound like they were kind of difficult & challenging. plus doing one involves cutting up your pattern (or tracing it off & cutting up your tracing) & that scared me. indie patterns in particular are not cheap.

i made a couple of dresses last summer that used the renfrew as the bodice. i did not do FBAs on them, & the fabric i was used was stretchy enough to kind of get away with it. kind of. then i made a regular renfrew shirt, the way the pattern was intended to be made, out of some knit i got at a yard sale, & the results were…not great, bob. i very rarely wear that sweater. it’s just too small, & the fact that it’s purple with white polka dots just seems to exacerbate the problem. i’ve worn it a few times around the house, or as a layer under my hoodie, but mostly it just rots in my closet.

i had been wanting a black glittery sweater pretty much all winter but couldn’t find the right knit (despite spending hours–days, even–searching high & low). i wanted something heavy & sweater-y, with visible knit stitches. nothing sheer or light. i wanted black or dark gray, & silver glitter, not disgusting horrible gold. i finally stumbled across the fabric i used here on the mood website. it was a little pricy, but bad at all for the quality & the fact that this sweater is going to be in very heavy rotation when the weather permits. it was pretty much exactly what i was looking for!

it’s hard to photograph though. here’s a closer view:


yeah. still kind of hard to see. but i love it!

i googled around a bit on how to do an FBA on a dart-less pattern. i had already cut out the largest size to make the purple shirt, & the bust measurement on that was a couple of inches bigger than my high bust. to get to the proper measurement for my full bust, i needed four inches, so i did a two-inch adjustment. i left the resulting width in the waist as well (since my waist is bigger than the pattern’s largest size) & added accordingly to the waistband piece.

i was surprised to discover that doing an FBA is…super-easy. i’m actually looking forward to doing FBAs on everything! look at the fit of this sweater! it’s comfortable & actually downright flattering, even though it’s such a heavy knit, it runs the risk of making a person look heavier. i don’t think i could have found something off the rack that looked this good.

anyway, construction-wise, the renfrew was nothing new to me & it all came together pretty quickly. the wool held a press quite well (for the collar, wrists, & hem band), & it got through my sewing machine with no issues. i used a ballpoint needle so as to avoid shredding the threads.

my only quibble with the final product is the fact that i think the shoulders are too big. like i said, i had originally cut out the largest size of this pattern, with the idea that i could avoid doing an FBA by simply sizing up. (yeah, it doesn’t work that way). turns out that size is too big for my shoulders. it doesn’t help that ramona is really into grabbing on to the collars of my shirts & throwing herself backwards. this sweater came off the machine a little too big in the shoulders/neckline, & i think ramona has stretched it out even more by yanking on it. i think i can steam it to shrink a little? anyone have any tips on that?

so! i did get some sewing done while jared was out of town! i also picked up the few notions i needed to make myself a pair of pants (leggings? we shall see how the finished product turns out), & a skirt of my own devising. i’m not sure i’ll tackle them this weekend though. i picked ramona up this morning & royally fucked up my back. it hurts to breathe. i probably shouldn’t make things worse by sitting at the sewing machine.

i also have to fret & stew over the fact that our landlady showed our house to a friend of hers this afternoon. our lease is up at the end of july, & she is of course under no obligation to renew. apparently she thought we were leaving so she offered the place to her friend. no word yet on whether or not he’ll be taking it, but…our house is amazing. it’s cheap, the location is phenomenal, & for being under 400 square feet, it feels rather spacious. it seems bigger than a lot of shitty two-bedroom apartments i have seen. we’re probably staying in lawrence for (at least) one more year & we don’t want to move, but…we may not have a choice. such a bummer. i’ve lived in this house for longer than i’ve lived anywhere, in my ENTIRE life! (it will be four years in may.) ramona has lived here for her whole life. i keep trying to look on the bright side: maybe we can find a place with two bedrooms! maybe we can have a kitchen with cabinets! it would be nice to have a medicine cabinet in the bathroom! & a normal mirror that is bigger than a hand mirror! what if we found a place where you can access the washer & dryer without having to go outside? that would be cool! …but i still don’t want to move.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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