Tag Archives: raglan-sleeve

The Where’s Waldo Shirt

Where's Waldo? Shirt

Since it appears I can’t escape my clothing’s cartoon references, I guess I’ll embrace it. I am thus proud to dub this the “Where’s Waldo” shirt.

This is one of those fabrics I eyed at Fabricland for quite a while. I thought I liked it, but wasn’t quite sure. Eventually it made its way to the clearance section, and I picked up two metres of each colour—blue and red stripes—for whatever ridiculously low price it was going for.

And I’m glad I did, although I’m also glad I didn’t pay more.

Where's Waldo in the back yard?

This is one of those terribly annoying knits that rolls like crazy. It also doesn’t have much stretch, so it’s fairly easy to cut and sew (aside from the dreaded rolling.

I used some of the blue to make an ill-fated attempt at a cowl-neck top last spring. The cowl was a disaster—this knit hasn’t got the drape—but I really liked the way the rest of the shirt fit, and the “feel”, if you will.  So it was only a matter of time before it became other long-sleeved knit tees.

Where's Waldo back

This shirt was also inspired by this Burdastyle pattern from ages back. There are some cute versions on Burdastyle, too. But why would I pay five bucks to download a pattern when I have Lekala 5672 for free?  Of course, it doesn’t have the seaming, I (again) skipped the gathering on the front, and the neckline, at least in this fabric, is not quite the signature Burda plunge. But it has stripes and the wide raglan neckline, right?

Fun in the Sun

The fit of knits varies massively depending on the knit itself. This same pattern can be dreadfully loose or scandalously tight depending on the fabric. This is a “tight fitting” fabric, so the armpits ride a little high. That’s all right—better than saggy, which is how my first take on this pattern turned out. I could probably narrow the arms a little bit towards the wrists, but we’ll see.

I decided to go easy on myself and use the self-rolling properties of the fabric as a design feature on the sleeves and hem. For the neckline, I stitched on some clear elastic and turned under twice, stitching with a stretch straight-stitch. I was tempted to let the neckline roll, too, but decided against it. Just barely. I did screw up and keep on turning under past where I should have, so there’s a portion that’s turned under three times and a bit of a kink at the end of it, but picking out the stretch stitch was doing more damage to the fabric than the thread so I am leaving it.

I couldn’t quite resist the obvious combination with the Sailor Shorts for the photos, sorry. I’m sad to say that these shorts haven’t gotten much (any) wear this summer. Partly because these days I only wear shorts for beach-bumming and creek-walking, but mostly because of the fit. The rise is a little high for my taste, and only made higher by the fact that I’ve been a little, ah, chubby most of the summer. It’s only about 5-10 lbs, but my physiology puts it  right around my middle, exactly where you don’t want it from a health perspective, and exactly where the shorts waistband falls. Urk.* Anyway, I’ll probably hang onto the shorts through next summer and see if I’m any more into them, but I have a feeling they’re not going to become faves. Too bad, because it really is a cute design.

It was really nice to whip something up quickly. This top took less than an hour, and at least ten minutes of that was finding the pattern. I REALLY need to organize my patterns better. I love it when I can throw together a knit top faster than it would take to shop for it. Plus a store-bought one wouldn’t have long, scrunchy sleeves.

*Incidentally, I try not to complain much about my body on the blog. It’s a pretty good body even if the tummy isn’t what she was a few years ago.  But I’m not one of those people whose weight fluctuates a lot, and aside from childbearing I’ve been mostly around my preferred weight all my adult life. The excursions from this ALWAYS coincide with periods where my usual minimally-healthy lifestyle tips over into chips-and-lazing-around. This summer definitely qualifies. Now that the school routine is back on, I will hopefully slip back to where I should be. Provided I can break this chocolate-bar habit.



Filed under Sewing

Using up the Blue

Blue raglan-sleeve top. See below for the reason I look so irate.

After the stegosaurus shirt, I had just under 90 cm (one yard) of fabric left. Possibly I should’ve made it into something for one of the kids, since it’s a bit of a distinctive colour, but for whatever reason, I was determined to get one more long-sleeved shirt for me out of it. Wiggle as I might, I couldn’t quite get the Pattern Formerly Known as Lydia onto the available amount of fabric. I didn’t want to cop out and go with short sleeves, as this is a warm, wintry knit.

Fortunately, Lekala patterns came to my rescue once again; the raglan top pattern that I made before just fit, helped out by the fact that the pattern pieces are full-width, not to be cut on the fold. This was annoying when it was eating up all my printer paper, but with careful jiggling I was able to get it all in place.

So, I have another raglan top. As this is a much more stable knit (though without any redeeming factors like cotton, as far as I can tell), it fits considerably more, ah, sleekly, than the white version. Thus far I haven’t bothered with the ruching on the front; I kinda like the round neck (though it is pretty similar to the stegosaurus neckline, isn’t it?). We’ll see how boring I find the top after wearing it today.

Aww... no back ruffle. Plenty of wrinkles, though, as usual...

Really nothing to say about the construction. I did the seams all on the serger, which is really easy for the raglan construction, and twin-needled the sleeve and bottom hems. The top edge is just folded under around a narrow clear elastic and twin-needled as well. I have a Schmetz twin needle right now and I can’t tell if it’s just in my head but it really seems to me like the Schmetz needles (especially the twins) break a lot less readily than the Klasse (the other brand I have ready access to…) Oh, and you may have noticed you’re getting a glimpse of something other than my usual, draped-sheet photo background. This is the brightest corner of my kitchen (at least at 8:00 in the morning), and you are being “treated” to it because my darling children trashed the basement yesterday and my sheet is now in a limp little pile on the carpet, buried under an avalanche of… not even toys. Just stuff. Urg. I love my children. I love my children. I love my children. I…

Versatile Blogger Award

oh, yes, and before I forget, the amazing Magda passed on this “Versatile Blogger” award to me, and then the equally mind-blowing Oona Baloona did as well. And I want to thank them both very much, but I think I’m running out of interesting things to reveal, so I’m going to bail on spreading the meme and just point y’all to my previous exposees: Stylish Blogger and Beautiful Blogger.


Filed under Sewing

Knit Tops: the Raglan Experiment

First of all, before I forget, thanks everyone who said they liked the new theme! I finally found one I can customize the way I like, and I get a header! yay!. Though I’m still getting used to the new colour scheme. I’ve been in such a “red and black” mode lately, the blue and cream feels odd.

Lekala raglan tee pattern illustration

So this past weekend, in between madly sewing jeans and bullying Tyo into posing for pictures in her coat, I spent some time sniffing around the Lekala website. In particular, I discovered their “knittings” section. There are some pretty groovy patterns there. Importantly, they have a link to a sample PDF of the patterns (conveniently tiled for home printing, albeit for an A4 size paper. I wonder if I could find A4 paper here if I looked?). EVEN more importantly, that PDF pattern is in a small adult size, for someone with an 84cm bust and 92 cm hips. Which happens to be about as close to my actual measurements as any non-custom pattern ever is (we’ll ignore the 64cm waist, AKA 25″ waist. Haven’t had one of those since I was 14.)

Anyhoo, I cheerfully went along downloading every pattern that caught my fancy, and decided in a fit of mad bravery to sew up my single remaining remnant of white cotton knit into this pattern (#5672, about halfway down the page). Don’t you love their foxy artist illustrations? I especially like that a lot of them are plus-sized (though not this one, obviously)

This is the line-drawing:

Lekala raglan top 5672 line drawing

Lekala raglan top 5672 line drawing

which shows what it is a little more plainly: a simple raglan-sleeved top with a gathered drawstring placket in the front.

I’ve been wanting to try a raglan-sleeved basic tee for awhile. Well, basically since this one appeared on Burdastyle. Obviously there’s some differences (no underbust seam here), but the basic shape’s the same, both have bust gathers, and this one is free!

I printed the pieces out and compared them to my much-laboured-over Lydia pattern. Almost a perfect match, aside from some subtle differences in the waist curve—the sizing was spot on, as was the sleeve length. The bodice of the Lekala top was quite short, as you can see in the pattern illustration, so I extended it by a good 10cm; as I no longer have the firmness of tummy the model does, I try to avoid that sliver of low-belly nowadays. I also added my usual extension to the arm as well.

Lekala raglan tee, V. 1, front

And I got sewing. Since the knit I had on hand was white and a bit sheer, I tried out Sherry’s double-layer, folded hem, enclosed seam technique. This worked really well, though I wasn’t quite clever enough to get the sleeve seam enclosed between the two bodice layers. Next time. Only downside—it’s awkward to take in after construction. Which is why Sherry made a muslin. I didn’t bother, despite remembering clearly that the white Lydia I made from this same fabric needed to be taken in, as the fabric has little to no recovery. So the bodice wound up a bit looser and bulkier than I might have liked… but still wearable. It also looses length significantly as it stretches in width; I should’ve added more length to the sleeves.

I had the most trouble with the neckline. I was quite worried about it stretching out of

Lekala raglan-sleeve tee, slightly better shot of the body

shape (see above about the recovery of this fabric). Initially I went to bind it with a a strip of self fabric cut on the lengthwise grain (as I’ve done with all my Lydias; the technique is the same as Sherry uses in her tank-top post, minus the serged edge and precision). However, I remembered (as I was sewing it on) that this fabric has no lengthwise stretch. The resulting binding looked great and didn’t sag, but when worn it pulled the neckline very high, making the whole shirt very tight through the armpits, but most importantly not providing that lovely almost-off-the-shoulder sweep of skin. So I cut it all off, went back, and sewed 1/4 clear elastic along the wrongside, and then just folded this under and topstitched. I started out the topstitching with a double needle, but one of the needles snapped within the first four inches of topstitching (first time using that needle, too… #$$%#%$@#@$), so I did two rows of single stretch straight stitching. Grrr. Well, it looks all right from a distance, anyway. In hindsight I could’ve been a little more aggressive snugging up the clear elastic; it flares out a bit more than necessary especially right at the sleeve seams.

The pattern called for a drawstring placket to make the gathers at the bust. I had no idea how to do this, the

Lekala raglan-sleeve T

instructions were less than edifying (I’ve never applied a surface placket like this before), and I didn’t have anything  I thought I’d want to make drawstrings out of anyway, so I used the same method I did on my blue tank top and sewed a stretched elastic on the inside. I could’ve made it a bit longer, but on the whole the detail worked.

I definitely want to repeat this in a nicer fabric (this isn’t an awful knit, it’s reasonably stable to cut and sew, but the lack of recovery, lack of vertical stretch, and boring colour irritate me). And maybe stick a big floppy collar like the Manequim Cowl on top.

I wish all the nice knits at Fabricland weren’t so frickin’ expensive. I know, I know, buy online… /sigh.

Here ends part 2 of my Lekala odyssey. I’m pretty sure there will be more in the future…


Filed under Sewing