So it looks like I’m capable of doing one post per month. Clearly I am not destined for the successful blogger’s award (if there is such a thing). Truthfully, I do a fair amount of making, but the normal amount of ‘fail’ and an inability to take a decent photo is besmirching my blogging record.
But enough of that – let’s talk raglans!
No idea why, but I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to make raglan t-shirts. I have a favourite one that recently got a huge rip in the sleeve, which made me sad; but what’s a sewing room for if not to fill holes in wardrobes?
I started out with New Look 6054.
Looks like a normal raglan tee on the pattern, right? Well, yes and no. The sleeve is cut in two pieces, front and back, so you have a seam down the top of the arm. While I didn’t love the idea of that seam, I realised that it would create a more curved profile for the shoulder, so I gave it a go. Being thrifty, though, I made it up out of some recycled tee’s from my refashion stash.
I quite like the colour combo actually! And there are little sequins on the top left shoulder there. Cute.
Now, while the seam over the top of the arm is shapely, I don’t think it’s worth the extra cutting & sewing time for a t-shirt! And despite taking a bit of excess fabric out at the head of the shoulder there, it doesn’t fit well. So the extra cutting & sewing is not really worth any advantages in fitting.
So I went trawling around the internet looking for raglan tee patterns. It was a toss-up between Liola’s Zoe Raglan and Hey June’s Lane Raglan. In the end I went for the Zoe, because I really dug the pleated sleeves. For my first muslin, I hit the refashion stash again and used an old martial arts tee I’d picked up at the op shop, plus some black cotton lycra & scraps of animal-print jersey for the neck band.
For this muslin I folded out the sleeve pleats on the pattern (just for ease of making a muslin, really) and made the sleeves shorter, and put bands on instead of hemming the sleeves – you can see it looks slightly ‘shiny’ which is the animal print jersey. I made the large, according to my measurements, but It’s a bit longer than I like my t-shirts. However I’ve worn it several times already, and got a few laughs at the dojo for my upside-down text :-)
Muslin number two got the same old-t-shirt treatment. This time I graded to a medium around the armhole and took 3cm out of the length.
As you can see the neck band didn’t sit well at all, I think I overstretched it as I was putting it on. Not to worry; this tee was in the refashion pile due to colour-run stains and was always destined to be a pyjama shirt anyway!
Finally it was time to make a real version using proper fabric. I found this nice cottony jersey, with a touch of lycra I think, in a sort of maroon marle at my local cheap fabric store. This time I made a straight medium, but still took the 3cm of length out of the body.
I LOVE IT!
The pleats worked perfectly!…. Well, they would have, if I hadn’t sewn half of one sleeve inside out and spent the next episode of Doctor Who unpicking triple stitch….
It went together really well. As mentioned I used triple-stitch (lightning-bolt stitch) to do the pleats, but the rest of the seams I did on the overlocker. The neck band (which I topstitched with the double needle) sits nice and flat which I am very pleased with. The hems I serged and then folded under and used my regular machine with a double needle. I can’t seem to get the tension right with the double needle, it always seems to create a little ridge. It’s not too noticeable though, and it could pass for deliberate.
And then, because you can’t have too much of a good thing, I made a ‘sport’ version, because I liked the designer’s example so much.
I probably could have gone down to a small, to get a more sporty fit, but mostly I like a loose-fit shirt for exercise so I stayed with the medium. The fabric is a polyester lycra, and the contrast some scraps of nylon lycra (also used here!)
Not wanting to spend an hour triple-stitching the pleats again (seriously, on the red shirt it took FOREVER), I hit on the idea of using the twin needle with a contrast thread. I played with the tension some more – it’s still not right but it smoothed out a bit after I pressed it.
I made a bit of a hash of the contrast piping – you can see the back left is substantially wider than the right!! This is what happens when you are too lazy to tack the piping in first, before serging.
I finished the hems by overlocking, then turning and stitching down with a zig-zag; the same for the neckband topstitching. The neckband gave me some issues, as my overlocker didn’t really love the bulk at the seams created by the piping, so stretching the neckband to fit got a bit out of whack. I don’t believe it’s too noticeable though.
So – three wearable muslins and two excellent shirts! Total cost of fabric was $12, and the pattern itself was US$7 – what great value, as I’m definitely going to be using it again. It’s such an easy top to make and turned out to be a great fit. Plus the pattern has plenty of versatility – I’m thinking of versions with only some of the pleats, or short sleeves, and maybe I can figure out how to add a thumbhole/handwarmer to the end of the sleeve.
Did you participate in IPM 2015? Was it a challenge? Did you discover new designers, new blogs, new sewing friends?