I need a DIY raglan t-shirt pattern in my life! Here’s the thing: it’s baseball season in my house for my 3 boys. And while their soccer schedule that runs 7 days a week about does me in, baseball season hits, and everything gets relaxed. Like the raglan t-shirt. That looser fit and fun colorblocking is just the thing for ringing in summer. And playing ball.
This post is going to be #1 in a long series on the fabulous raglan t-shirt. In this post, I’m going to show you how to make your own pattern from a raglan tee that you have. See how to sew your own raglan tee, and then comes the fun of changing it up like in this unexpected DIY sleeveless raglan tee. If you don’t leave this series being inspired by the untapped potential of the humble baseball raglan tee, I will have failed!
As for now, let’s bang out this DIY raglan t-shirt pattern. It’s easy enough for a beginner and a instant gratification project for a more advanced sewist, so let’s do this!
DIY Raglan t-shirt pattern: supplies
The biggest thing here is the t-shirt that fits you. There’s several great raglan t-shirts out there. Tomorrow I’m sharing a round-up post of raglan patterns for everyone.
In my case, I’ve never really had a lot of luck with raglan patterns. The fit is always a little weird for me. I blame my violin shoulders. But I can really easily find RTW raglans that I like. You probably can too!
I’m starting with this very basic raglan tee. I thrifted it for $2 which is not bad given the price of patterns! On to how to make a pattern from your tee.
1. Trace the front
First things: Fold the body of your raglan flat. Match the side seams and the sleeve seams together on the inside.
Keep everything f.l.a.t. The flatter you keep it, the better you match the seams one on top the other, the better the pattern you’re going to get here. Make sure the center front of the shirt is a nice straight line.
Next, grab a piece of your tracing paper and draw a big line on it like this:
This is your center front.
Tracing all the seams
Line up your center front line with the t-shirt’s center front.
Now the fun part: Trace all the seam lines with your pen. I like ballpoint pens for this. They seem to do a really good job of following right along with the well of the seams without much effort.
You’ll be tracing the neck first, then the sleeve seam, the side seam. Finish off with the hem.
That’s it. Other than adding seam and hem allowances, you just made 1 out of the 4 pattern pieces. So easy.
2. Trace your back
Okay, don’t actually trace your back. That sounds like complicated yoga. Fold your side seams and sleeve seams together just like you did for the front piece.
Just like with the front piece, keep everything flat and center back straight.
Draw your center back on your tracing paper, and line that puppy up with center back on your t-shirt.
Same as the front, now trace all your seams with your pen. Piece #2 done!
3. Tracing the sleeve
The sleeve we’ll do in 2 steps. This way we won’t have to deconstruct the actual t-shirt to get the sleeve pattern.
Go back to the front side of the t-shirt. Fold the sleeve flat. The underarm seam will want to sit flat on the table (so helpful, that seam!).
You can mark where the fold in the body of the sleeve hits with a pin at the top and bottom right on the fold if you want. I did this, and then realized that the sleeve sat flat pretty much no matter what I did.
Draw a straight line–this is your sleeve’s grainline and also where the shoulder is sitting flat on the table. We’ll use this line to pivot in a minute to get to the back side of the sleeve.
Trace the front side of the sleeve
Next line up your grainline with the flat top half of your sleeve.
Trace the seams along the neck, body seam, underarm seam and the hem.
Now the back sleeve
For the back sleeve, flip the t-shirt to the back. Make that sleeve all nice and pretty and flat just like you’ve been doing.
Line up your grainline with the top half of the sleeve on the back side. Match up the hem from the front and the neck edge to your grainline.
Trace the back sleeve along the neck, body seam, underarm seam, and the hem. Now you have a sleeve! We’re almost there!!!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.