Monthly Archives: January 2014

320+ Raglan Designs

I’ve discovered something interesting about Otto Raglan patterns:  they’re interchangeable. Now some people might be disappointed. They want an entirely new pattern every time. In fact a complaint frequently voiced about Burda is that Burda recycles patterns.  I have two thoughts about this. 1) You don’t have to buy past issues.  If it’s a pattern you liked, it will published again. (2) More importantly and more specific to Otto, I’m getting variations on a pattern I’ve already fit. Which means, unless I change shape , I don’t need to fit a new pattern.  Indeed with yesterday’s darted raglin, I did not trace the front and back pieces.  I traced the sleeve pattern and trimmed the excess tissue. Then I the pinned the shoulder dart closed and compared it to the already traced sleeve from 5/2008 #8. The body of the garment had not changed only the sleeve style.  *No fitting needed!

I feel like Otto is leading me through creating lots of styles from the same pattern. Let me explain.

Otto introduced the Basic Raglan T shirt in Issue 5/2008. Very basic, front, back and 1 piece sleeve. (I discard the band piece. I find bands need their length adjusted depending upon the fabric.)

If you do nothing else to this pattern, you have one great style to use over and over. But Otto also provided in the same issue Style #14, which is a pleated sleeve that you could rouch as well.

You now have 3 styles instead of 1: Fitted raglan, pleated raglan and rouched raglan.

In 2010 (Issue 5) Otto revisits the basic Raglan T and adds

a cap and a 2 Piece Sleeve (Note I have not traced, walked or used the 2 piece sleeve. It could need adjustments to work, but I don’t think so. )

And now in 2013 (Issue 5), Otto is providing us with the darted shoulder raglan sleeve:

You now have 1 pattern with 6 sleeve variations; SIX STYLES you can make without the average person knowing you are using the same pattern.


This darted shoulder comes in 2 lengths. I believe in the industry that counts as an additional style bringing the total to 7.   Style #4 in 5/2011 uses the same basic pieces, but trims the sleeve and adds a cuff.  8 STYLES.

Now here’s an interesting situation. We have 8 sleeves for 8 styles. But take a look at 5/2011 #4 again. The hem has been trimmed 2″ and replaced with a coordinating band. This makes not 9 styles but16. How? Each of the previously sleeves can be combined with either a plain hem or with the banded hem. Each combination counts as a new style.

Ready for more? Look again a 5/2010 #4, the cap sleeve

It is a dress length. That’s another length and has a cover stitched hem. 2 more style changes for now 8 *3 or 24 total styles. Oh I do realize that in our eyes, the dressmaker, changing length isn’t a big deal. We can easily add 2 more hem changes that of the tunic length and cropped which would make for  40 ( 8 sleeves*5 hem) style changes.  I won’t even try to count the asymmetrical, or shirt tail hems or any of the seemingly endless variety of hems that could be chosen and easily adapted to the basic Raglin T.

I will however start to point out necklines.  So far I’ve concentrated on the scoop neckline. Otto also provides a faced and pin-tucked neckline in #4- 5/2010. So that’s 8 sleeves * 5 hems *3 necklines  or 120 STYLES

Still got your socks on?  Well then consider the mathematical effects of  5 more necklines

Issues 5/2008, 5/2008, 5/2008, 5/2010,5/2012

That could be 8 sleeve * 5 hems *8 necklines or 320 Styles that Otto has drafted for you. If you look through Otto there are also jacket and cardigan styles (5/2010 #15 was attached to a cardigan).  Also I haven’t counted the zipper and pleated fronts or the variety of pockets Otto has provided. These are all drafted by Otto. No need to do anything but lift and use.

Then there are lots of easy changes we can make.  I’m pretty sure boat, V  and waterfall necklines would be fairly ease to draft. I make sleeve length and cuff changes all the time. Collars would be a little more demanding as they must fit the neckline. Generally what I do is pin the pieces together; trace the neckline and then establish the outer edge of the collar. I think collar’s are easy, you might not agree.

OK for myself I have to say, I’m not going to make all 320 styles. I’m unlikely to make any dresses; and while I occasionally add hoods, that’s not a very likely style for me either. But I expect to get lots of use from the basic Raglan T because I will use many of the styles Otto has drafted plus I will make many minor changes on my own.  How about you?


*Unfortunately as noted yesterday, I really do have to make some fitting changes.  My maturing body changed again this year requiring that I refit all my TNT’s.

5/2013 #4 Raglan

I’m enjoying the latest issue of Ottobre Design, 5/2013.  This time for its variation of the basic Raglan Knit top.  The 5/2008 version used a 1 piece sleeve as well, but this version contains a shoulder dart.

I’m not completely sure of the advantage of the darted as opposed to the not darted shoulder.  I do know that it’s part of LH5205 the fit of which  I’ve always been enamored.  I suspect that the grain is changed from on- grain to bias and therefore could produce a smoother fit over the shoulder.  I say “could” because the fit depends upon stitching a perfectly smooth dart.  I did this one on the serger.

The front has the same scoop neck as the 5/2008 version.  I finished with a 1-3/4″ band, cut cross grain and folded in half.  I basted the band, corrected the length; then serged and top stitched into place.  I’m fond of top stitching the band. It keeps the band down in place. By selecting my HV Ruby’s “knit” advisory, my SM knows to build in a little stretch.  I don’t know how Viking does it, I just know that the stretch will be perfect even using the straight 4mm stitch length that I did.

However I’m not as happy with the fit as I thought I would be.

While the shoulder and upper bodice fit smoothly, I think the sleeves are about an inch too long and the both front and back are too tight across the tummy and hip.  The hem is rising at the front. I’m not sure if I need to lengthen the front (usual for me) or if I just need to add ease.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell this during fitting.  The garment felt entirely comfortable probably due to the rayon fabric’s 75% stretch.  While I have a single, full length mirror to check fit, the lighting is not the best and of course, I can’t really see the back and side until I check the pics. Which I didn’t do before hemming.

Fortunately for me, this is winter.  Which means that when I wear this top I will probably be wearing either a vest, jacket or cardigan. Either one of which will cover the worst of ills, err ill-fitting garments.

One thing I do want to point out is this spectacular embroidery:

It was to me totally breathtaking and while I don’t usually purchase a single design, Secretsof got my money this time.

Vintage Blouse Fitting Evaluation

Last but certainly not least, how well does the Vintage Blouse fit me?

The fit is hard to judge because of this microfiber fabric and the weather.  Not only are we enjoying unprecedented cold temperatures we’re also enduring high static levels. But it is what it is, so lets take a look at the back

I can assure you that is velcro butt not a sway back. The microfiber though slick and silky to the hand has a slight nap. Added to the static of the season and the blouse is clinging and creating many more folds and lines than any other smaller version of the pattern. I carefully checked the ease during fitting.  After the previous version, I added a scant 1/4″ to the center back and the collar’s center back.  I like that this blouse fits smoothly across the shoulders and upper back. I rather think the back fits that the true issue is static cling.  I will not be making changes to the back pattern piece.

However, I think the front is going to need some adjustments.

It’s not just static cling at work here. The issues are even more apparent when viewed from the side.

The blouse is developing the same swag like draping under the armscye that I objected to in Otto’s Perfect Blouse. I was unable to remove the wrinkles of that blouse and therefore never wore it. Because in winter I usually wear a 3rd layer (vest) this blouse will get worn. The 3rd layer gives me the extra bit of warmth that I need and cover up most of the fit problems.

This will also give me time to observe the blouse and think about what is causing the drape.  The shoulders and high chest fit smoothly and comfortably. On the front, I use the horizontal bust dart but not the vertical waist dart. I don’t have a visible waist in front. I could stitch a pintuck and call it a faux dart but it wouldn’t be contributing to fit.

I’m a believer in fixing the obvious so…

While I seem to have enough ease around my tummy, the front is not long enough. I need to add length at the center front. I guessing 3/4″. The rising hem is pretty obvious; also the flaring forward. But I’m not sure why it’s flaring forward.  I’ll check the side seam and make sure that from hip to hem to vertical and not angled. I didn’t take a picture of the side seam so I can’t tell if it is leaning or if the pulls originate at the seam line. It could be that I need to add to the seam line. The blouse definitely seems to have more front than back whilst I know I am more back than front.

From the side it almost looks as if a larger bust dart is needed. If I take up more in the dart (which is already 1″ deep) I’ll need to add more length to the side seam.

Fortunately, because it’s winter, any blouses I make will be wearable. I can take my time tweaking blouse after blouse, until I get it right.

For the next version:

  1. Add 3/4″ length to center front
  2. Ensure side seam from hip to hem is vertical.
  3.  Measure at hip level. Back should be larger

Vintage Blouse – Finishing

The beading? Well I cheated. I used E6000  and glued those suckers in place. BTW, I get nothing from the ads to which I link. None of my blogs are monetized.  I linked to the 10 pack because I like to buy those little tubes.  I tend to use a tube two or three times before it solidifies forcing me to open another.  The little tubes are more economical for me. They don’t go bad, as long the tube hasn’t been punctured. A big tube, is a big waste of $$$ for me because it goes bad long before I use even a quarter of the contents.  YMMV.

I chose to add the beading because of the planned buttons.

These 1/2″ buttons look like beads themselves.  Not sure how long they’ve been in my stash. They look like dolls buttons instead of adult buttons. But were perfect combined with the embroidery and beading:

As I worked with the microfiber fabric, I felt like it demanded to be treated as better than cheap crap.  Since it was a 4 yard cut, I’m pretty sure it was cheap Walmart stuff.  Initially I planned to make pants, summer pants. But matching fabric for a top never made its way into the stash. Besides, I’m pretty sure microfiber is not all that cooling for summer wear. As a fall/winter blouse, this fabric is wonderful. It is smooth; deliciously silky and I began to think better of it.  I had planned to finish the back neck with machine stitched binding.  When it came time, I cut a bias binding, stitched to the neckline, turned and hand stitched into place.

Perfect! Likewise, the cover stitched hem was changed to a blind stitch.

I have no ESP. None. But I believe that when the “garment” starts speaking to me I should probably follow its suggestions. These changes amped up what could have been a cheap looking garment into something in which I  have pride.

One last construction step that I hesitated about to the very end.  I had  decided not to use the cuffs in the pattern or hem the sleeve as in the other pattern versions. I’ve found that I can make small changes to a pattern to make it look like a completely new or at least different animal from the versions I’ve made previously.  I decided upon an elastic cuff. I lengthened the sleeve pattern by 3″. Clean serged the sleeve’s hem edge and turned that up 1.5″.  I stitched 1.5″ from the folded edge around most of the hem before inserting my 1″ elastic. (My elastic was 10″ long before joining.) I joined the elastic in a circle and then finished stitching the channel 1.5″ from the folded edge.  This procedure was a bit fiddly.  I’m not sure I’d want to do it exactly the same way a second time. I read The Fabric Incubators instructions for installing elastic. In her example, she using a longer length and a narrower width elastic. While that seemed to work well for her example, I’m not sure it would be easier for this  shorter and wider elastic.  I’ll have to try it some time.  I’m open to other suggestions, but I must say, I like the finished  look of both my “cuffs” and hem.

Vintage Blouse – Embellish Considerations

I had intended to eliminate the collar and fold the revers back like so: (left side)

which looked incredibly poor.

First off, it covered the embroidery and beading. I’ve wanted to use this embroidery design for years, years I tell you.

It was a free design from a now defunct site.  I loved the swirls and light lines of embroidery.  It is a large design. I simply could not divide it up for my 4×4 hoop.  Doing so would have require difficult realignments and lots of trims for jump stitches. I sincerely doubted I could do justice to the design and left it for the future. I tried again with my 5×7 Janome hoop. While the design could successfully be divided, it would require several hoopings. Lots of stabilizers would be required of which only a small portion would actually be used. The rest of the stabilizer would be needed to fill the hoop and eventually the trash can. Can you say $$$ down the drain? Now, with the PE770’s MultiHoop, was the perfect time to use this lovely design.  I hooped the fabric and stabilizers only once. The design was divided into 3 sections


All 3 designs were stitched with same color thread, forming the  beautiful  total design seen above.   The design is mirrored and stitched on the other side. Two hoopings total.  Little waste in the way of stabilizers. (I use both stabilizer beneath the blouse fabric and a WSS topper.)

The other problem with the collar, was the microfiber fabric. It did not want to turn and lay flat along the revers.  After a few burnt fingers and many adults-only words, I opted to trim the revers and create a V neckline.

The beading? Well I cheated. I used E6000  and glued those suckers in place. BTW, I get nothing from the ads to which I link. None of my blogs are monetized.  I linked to the 10 pack because I like to buy those little tubes.  I tend to use a tube two or three times before it solidifies and I need to open another.  The little tubes are more economical for me. They don’t go bad, as long the tube hasn’t been punctured. A big tube, is a big waste of $$$ for me. YMMV.

Vintage Blouse- Fabric Considerations

I decided to make a test garment with the pattern (otto 5/2007 #1) as currently altered.

My fabric is a microfiber twill that was on its way to the Goodwill. It’s a wonderful fabric. Soft and silky in the hands and on the body. Fairly sturdy, I didn’t snag it once during construction.  It did fray. Had I been doing a lot of fitting, this fabric would have required serging all the  raw edges at the very start of the process.

The fabric was on the way to the Goodwill as a result of recent destashing.  Actually I was tired of working with browns and had decided to put together a 4-PAC in blue and another in black. As I was sorting the fabrics this little voice started saying “why are we keeping some of these”. I paid attention and had to agree.  Some of the fabrics, this one included, had sat in the stash for at least 20 years. Some were inherited from my mother, may she rest in piece, 15 years ago.  (How long had they sat in her stash?) I’m one of a strange breed that thinks things should be used or transferred to someone who will use them.  I filled nearly 2 boxes with fabrics in the category of good-but-not-likely-to-use.  Some were colors I never use (such as this blue). Some were suitable lengths for summer garments but winter fabrics (i.e. 1 yard of worsted wools).  of the two dozen fabrics filling the boxes 3 have called out asking to be made. This blue microfiber is one of the 3.

Let me add that it launders beautifully. I believe that originally I was thinking summer pants but it would be uncomfortable for summer wear. It is perfect as a winter long-sleeve blouse.

Vintage Blouse for 2014

It is really appropriate that this be my first garment of the new year.

Otto’s Vintage Blouse (5/2007 #01) is not only a beautiful blouse but  also an excellent fitting block. Ever since I first made this pattern into a garment, I’ve depended upon it to check my other woven patterns for basic fit i.e. does it have enough ease? Long enough? Shoulders the right width? Bust dart in the right position?  If the new pattern meets the standards of the Vintage Blouse, the new pattern is likely to fit. That’s not always true.  The Vintage Blouse is drafted for woven fabrics without stretch.  Add stretch and fitting requirements change. I do not therefore use this pattern with knit fabrics. (I use Otto’s Basic T 2/2006 #01).

The reason I chose to work with this pattern so quickly in the new year, is related to Goal #1 Buy Knit Sew Woven.  The fabrics which sit unused in my stash are mostly woven, non-stretch.  To start meeting my true goal, (equaling the stash between stretch and non-stretch fabrics by using up some of those non-stretch fabrics) hinges upon good fitting blouse/top and pants patterns.  The Eureka Pant has reached the point of being usable to create for both stretch and non-stretch pants.  I had noticed that the blouses I’m wearing are not fitting exactly as I would like. Is that because they’re old and have become misshapen? It’s for sure that my butt changed shaped causing me to refit pants. Do top patterns need to be refit as well?  I thought the best way to make that determination was by going back to my “ground zero”, the Vintage Blouse. Earlier in the year, I had added a bit more ease to the back.  I wasn’t sure that would completely fix the fit issues.  I knew  that before I begun churning out new blouses, I wanted to be positive. Hence the new blouse above.