I've had my eye on the Renfrew top from Sewaholic Patterns for a good long while. Renfrew is the Swiss Army Knife of patterns. This fitted knit top comes with three sleeve variations, three neckline variations, and is easy to modify into a dress or cardigan. (I'm pretty sure there is a toothpick in there, too, if you can figure out how to open it.) There are a bajillion lovely Renfrew examples out there. Go ahead, take a look and come back.
My mom sent me this pattern for my birthday. In older-not-wiser fashion, I made the same silly mistakes I've been repeating for years:
- Picking the wrong fabric. Though it seemed fine when I tested a swatch, this baby rib knit stretched like silly putty as I handled it, growing with every seam. My finished shirt does not offer the close fit that I would have gotten in a less stretchy material.
- Not paying attention when applying the neckband. It was only after I'd serged the neckband into place and topstitched (!) that I discovered it was too long. Removing it stretched the neckline beyond saving.
I've gotten some helpful advice on PatternReview.com (lurker no more!) on how I might salvage this shirt by applying stay tape to the back neckband. If I can keep the neckline from stretching, I might be able to wear this shirt out of the house without having to stand perfectly still so it doesn't droop off my shoulder. Of course, in the time it takes to fix, I could sew another...maybe even two.