Raglan Sleeve Tutorial
Step One Drafting the Pattern
Shirt of a similar size to the one you want to make
Turn your shirt inside out. I am using a onesie for this tutorial but I’m going to make a shirt. You are basically using the shirt as a guide to get the sizing right.
The beauty of constructing a raglan out of a knit is that you can use straight lines for the majority of the pattern. Straight lines make me happy when I’m constructing garments.
With the shirt turned inside out, fold the shirt in half. Then trace around the neck, body and bottom of the shirt using a pencil. I like to add a good inch or more to the bottom of the shirt because you can always hem it but it is much harder to add more to the bottom. But that is one of those things that is up to you.
Next I take my ruler and make all of the lines nice and straight and tidy, except for the neck that is curved.
Here is where it can get a bit confusing. I like to take a bit of length off of the neckline I find this makes the neck and the sleeves look more streamline. So measure about a half inch from the outer edge of your neckline for infants or an inch for toddlers. And of course maybe a little more as you size up. This is where it takes a bit of experimentation to make the fit perfect for your child. Make a mark at the half inch/inch point of the neckline. And draw a straight line from the arm pit to that point on your neckline.
Now I am making a long sleeve but if you were making a short sleeve you would want to add some length to the bottom part of the sleeve or the under arm becomes awkward. In picture the dashed line follows the contour of the onesie sleeve and the solid line closest to the dashed line represents where I would place the cut line if I wanted a short sleeve. It is approximately an inch from the dashed line.
Finally Cut the body out and the sleeve out. You have your basic pattern. Mark the fold lines which are pictured on my pattern. Also place your stretch arrows to guide you in ensuring that the stretch goes the proper way when you are cutting your knits.
Step Two Cutting Out The Fabrics
1 yard of a knit fabric (less if you are making the shirt for an infant)
1/4 yard of trim fabric ribbing (I prefer cotton/lycra or cotton/spandex or interlock for neckline and
trim. I find Ribbing or interlock are the best choices as jerseys do not have enough stretch, and 100% cotton ribbed knits tend to lose shape and sag after wear.)
1 t-shirt in a similar size to the shirt you would like to create to use as a template
100% polyester thread of high quality I like Gutterman That matches your fabric and trim.
freezer paper to use to create your pattern
Take out your main knit fabric not the trim. Fold it with the stretch going across your pattern from arm to arm. Place the pattern on the fold using the fold line and stretch arrows to ensure that you are cutting the fabric the proper way.
Now it is time to measure the trim. I take a piece of yarn or thread and I use it to measure the neckline of one of the body pieces. Take that number and multiply it by two. Then subtract 2 and that is the size I like to use for my trim. You want the stretch to go the long way not the short.
Two Body Pieces
One piece of neck trim
Step Three: Sew It Together
Start by hemming the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves. You can do this at the end but I think it is trickier especially when you are constructing baby garments. I like to use heavy duty spray starch and fold up a approximately a quarter of an inch and then another half an inch and hem (honestly I eyeball it). Do this for the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves. I chose to make two seams to add a little visual interest but that is completely up to you.
Next sew your seams open. Now if my serger was functional. I would use it to finish the seams here. But the interlock will not unravel so really serging is for looks in this situation. I have also been known to line my tshirts but that is another tutorial. You can also topstitch on either side of the seam to add some interest. I didn’t for this shirt but it does look nice.
Then sew the sleeve closed and the sides of the shirt closed all in one shot. Once again reference the picture just follow the pins making sure to backstitch once at the beginning and end of your seam to secure it (take note of the nicely pressed seams).
Time to attach the neck. First sew your neck band into a band. Then fold the band in half. You want to divide the band into four equal parts and mark each section with a pin. Next divide the neck on the shirt into four equal parts. Now pin the band to the neck in those four places. Then divide each of the sections again until your neckband is well pinned. This will ensure that your neckband will be evenly stretched. Carefully sew into place. That was a lot of words. Once again. The pictures help.
Then fold the band in half. You want to divide the band into four equal parts and mark each section with a pin.
Next divide the neck on the shirt into four equal parts.
Then divide each of the sections again until your neckband is well pinned. This will ensure that your neckband will be evenly stretched.
Carefully sew into place.
Now topstitch the neckline.
Voila!! You have an adorable raglan shirt! Trim all those pesky threads put it on your child and enjoy!!