Relaxed Raglan Button-downs for summer

raglan button down


Periodically, I make a round of button-downs for my boys.  I always use the same patterns in whatever size they happen to need for the moment, and I cut a lot of them and I sew them as quickly as I can.  This year I needed to change up my pattern as they’ve outgrown all of their previous patterns.  For my older boys, I went with Ottobre 3-2017-25 which is a raglan button down pattern.  It’s the cover pattern on the last Ottobre.

My younger guy gets Ottobre 1-2017-6.  It’s a typical button down with pleats in the sleeves/vents/cuffs.


There’s not a lot to be said about the crocodile shirt, but the raglan button down is a little bit of a twist on a typical shirt.  Do you ever feel like there’s so very little variation in boys’ patterns?  Ottobre does a great job mixing things up in general, and the raglan button down is a great example of their creativity.  That being said, construction is a little hairy!  Let’s break it down.

Pattern sizing

The raglan button down is for 116-158cm (size 6-16) and the standard button down is for 74-104 cm (size 12 months-5T).  I sewed a 128, 116, and 98 respectively.


raglan button down

All the fabric I bought from Fabric Mart recently.  Good quality shirtings are on of those things that should fly into your shopping cart! The navy and the multi plaid are both Japanese cottons, and the yellow stripe is from a rtw designer.

The plaids were a good challenge for matching.  I was particularly proud of my matching on the multi-plaid.


Pattern Features

The biggest feature of the raglan button down is of course the raglan sleeves.  I haven’t seen too many raglan sleeved shirts that weren’t knit.  Ottobre says they were going for a 60s look.  Here’s an old Butterick from that era with a similar look:

raglan button down

I can only assume that because he’s got a pipe, raglan shirts are what you wear when you’re relaxing by the BBQ in the summer!

The other big thing is topstitching down the center of the raglan sleeve which is a 2 piece sleeve.  I love 2 piece raglans because you get a nice smooth look over the shoulder.  Sometimes in 1 piece sleeves, they’ll put in a dart at the shoulder to curve over the shoulder.  The 2 piece eliminates the dart.

raglan button down

Fitting/pattern changes

raglan button down

I didn’t change anything for the raglan button downs, but I did shorten the sleeves for the navy plaid shirt.

Lessons I learned (i.e. where things got hairy)

The raglan shirt is pretty simple to put together EXCEPT for the facing/collar situation.  Ottobre does not hold your hand through this part.  You sew the neck edge of the facing to the neck edge of one side of the collar.  The front edges of the collar are left unstitched at this point.  The pattern markings for where this attachment is supposed to happen are pretty lacking.  The notch on the collar does correspond to the corner of the facing, but there’s nothing to help you on the facing.  Just mark your notch well.  After this, the facing gets flipped to the other side and you sew the facing and unstitched front of the collar in one go.  Clip into the corner well, and you get a nice collar.  It reminded me a little of a notched collar, but mostly, it took some trial and error to puzzle it through:

 Why you should make this shirt

There is so little variation in boys’ patterns, so when you find one, jump on it.  A raglan button down is still pretty tame, but this one fits really well, and in the right fabric, they can be light and cool for summer.  Just watch out for the collar!

Coffee Dates with Your Seam Ripper Required:

If you mark your collar notch well, you and your seam ripper might not need any quality time together.  As for me, this pattern was a 3 date affair.

raglan button down

What’s your favorite pattern company for boys’ patterns?

Here’s to happy sewing and fewer coffe dates with your seam ripper,

4 thoughts on “Relaxed Raglan Button-downs for summer”

  1. Your boys and their shirts are totally adorable! Now I just wished I should not have skipped this year summer issue of Ottobre! The raglan shirts does sound like fun!

    1. Thanks Georgia! The raglan is a great style–definitely different than a standard button-down. I love how slouchy they look. I’d keep an eye out for back issues of this year’s Ottos…this has been a stellar year. I want to make everything!

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