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 sleeve tops. 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 this raglan sleeve tutorial: 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 sleeve t-shirt 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. How to make a raglan sleeve pattern
We’ll keep on with this tracing, but to make a raglan sleeve pattern, we’ll have to dotThe 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!!!
4. Add seam allowances + hem allowances
The front, back, and sleeve are going to need seam allowances and hem allowances. Up until this point what we’ve traced is just the seam lines.
Sew it up as is, and it’ll be too short and too tight! Find your ruler–I like a clear one with 1/8″ markings and we’ll do this up quick.
|Neck seam |
|Side seam |
For the seams, I like 3/8″. They’re easy to handle, easy to sew on the serger, and since this t-shirt fits me, I’m not worried about adding extra. If you like wider seam allowances, by all means, add what you’re comfortable with.
For the hems, I’m adding 1 1/4″ for the front and back and 3/4″ for the sleeves. Again, this is personal preference here. On to the last piece, and we’re building the seam allowances into it which is why it’s not on the table.
5. Make that neckband piece
The neckband is the easiest. It’s a rectangle!
To get it, first fold the neck together at the neckband. You don’t have to match center front or center back, just keep it flat and together.
Next, grab your measuring tape. Measure the length of the neckband along the neck seam.
We’re going to cut this length on the fold, but do add 1/8″ to this measurement. Why 1/8″? When we cut it on the fold, the 1/8″ becomes 1/4″ for a seam in the neckband. Smart, eh?
The total for my tee is 10 1/8″.
Really quick to finish off, measure the neckband width from the neck seam to the edge. Mine is about 5/8″. You want to add a seam allowance to this. I went with 3/8″. So 5/8+3/8= 1″.
For the width, multiply x2. In my case that’s 2″.
So the dimensions for my particular tee are 10 1/8″x2″, and we’re cutting it on the fold the long way. Feel free to make a pattern piece for this, or you can draw it straight on your fabric with chalk.
I’m a chalk for rectangles girl. But choose your own adventure!
Now we have all our pieces. But before we do a happy dance, and start sewing up ALL the raglans, we have a tiny task with a little less glamour.
6. Walk your seams
It would be super sad if you went through making your raglan sleeve t-shirt pattern and ended up with wonky seams that were different lengths. This method is pretty reliable, but it’s easy to shift things around.
Consider this step the “measure twice, cut once” part of the process.
I’m going to throw a million pictures at you. Just kidding. Kind of. Don’t panic.
Also I retraced all my pieces onto tissue paper so you could see them better. You totally don’t have to do that!
Check the underarm seam
Fold your sleeve seam in half so the underarm seams are matching. Double check that they’re the right length.
If they’re not, true up the seams. For me, one side was 1/4″ longer than the other. I used a pen and prettied up the curve so that the sides were the same.
Check back and front sleeve seams
Next, grab the front piece and the sleeve, matching them on the sleeve seam.
Match the seams together at the bottom of the sleeve seam. Use your fingertips to pivot the seam as you match the seam going upwards towards the neck.
Some people walk seams like this by sticking a pin through the seam lines as their pivoting up. That works really well too!
Again, make sure that the length of the sleeve and the front are the same along that seam. True up the seams if you need to.
Now, do the pivot walking with the back and sleeve. If you get this one right, there will be a tiny triangle hanging off the sleeve. That’s okay. It’s just the edge of the seam allowances. You can cut that off during construction.
Last check: lay the front on top of the back right at the side seam. The side seams should match perfectly. Adjust if you need to, though you probably won’t.
Here’s a video version of the tutorial:
And that’s it. You have your diy raglan t-shirt pattern all ready to go, and it’s screaming at you to grab some jersey and get cutting!
Do you like raglan style shirts but making you own pattern is not your jam? Check out some commercial patterns for raglan sleeve t-shirts in raglan tee patterns for everyone.
I’m throwing the ball to you now: Have you ever tried to clone a raglan tee-shirt in your closet?
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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.