Category Archives: 2008/5-08 Raglin T

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.

Otto 5/2008 #8

I haven’t used this lovely Raglan Pattern since almost this time last year.

Freshly showered, shampooed and dressed without a stitch of makeup.

I’m not really sure why I haven’t used it more.  I do approach raglan lines carefully. I need an upright almost vertical raglan. The most common raglan is very horizontal and tends to both visually shorten and emphasize my pear shape. Just what everyone wants, right? Everyone would die to look shorter, fatter, and less bosomy. But Otto has this one right, for me at least.

I choose this rayon knit because it was lovely.  I can’t remember where I purchased it. Since I hadn’t sewn the pattern in a year’s time, I also wanted to check fit. Too often, patterns which fit last year, don’t this year.

While I love this print, I think it has a muted romanticism, it’s hard to tell whether the garment fits or not.  The  top does feel comfortable, I might want to lengthen the sleeve another inch. After much twiddling with photo controls, I’ve decided that if there are any drag lines, they are slight enough to be ignored. I’m calling this a TNT.

I watch Nancy Zieman most Saturday mornings. The exceptions are when PB decides to show something else or messes up the broadcast.  One of 2013 productions was a series of easy changes for T-shirts called Knock out Knits

I bought the book only. Honestly I don’t want to watch video for 30 minutes just to get to the point of how-to.  I chose to use her idea of a front flounce:

I made several changes to her instructions her flounces. When I use her other instructions I’ll probably make changes to all of them too.

She suggests numerous ways to gather the ruffle or even to switch to a real flounce (cut from circles). I however attached the shirring foot to my HV Ruby.  I played with it a bit. I knew I didn’t want tight gathers. I’ve had gathers with lots volume and definitely didn’t want to wear that on my chest.  I achieved the volume I desired by just putting my finger down on the excess threads. Opps, that didn’t impart any real information. Let me try again.  Before inserting the fabric and lowering the foot,  I pulled about 2″ excess thread from the needle and bobbin.  I inserted the fabric, lowered the fabric and put my fingers on the threads.  I was just holding the threads in place. As the fabric was shirred, I had to move my hand backwards to keep an even tension on the work. 

I don’t like unfinished edges. I made a serged rolled hem while stitches the edge slightly. I cut my flounces to 3″ wide, 6″ long and folded the short ends under 1/2″. I used Steam A Seam to hold the short ends in place. I’ll probably regret not stitching them permanently.  I attached the flounces using a utility stitch that takes 2 small forward stitches then a long stitch to one side another 2 small forward stitches; then another long stitch to the other side and repeat.  It’s slow but it both attached and finished those edges.

The topmost flounce is held in place and finished by the binding. I used a 1.75″ strip folded to 3/4″ and then applied to the neckline with a 1/4″ SA.  I applied the binding using my favorite procedure which is baste to the neckline, check the position and look; then join the ends using the quilter’s miter. At this point, I often switch to the cover stitch machine which will top-stitch, finish the binding edge and permanently attach the binding all in one go.  Because of the flounces, I chose to miter the ends, then serge the neckline and binding and finally top-stitch.  I didn’t think I would like the top flounce to have two rows of stitching. Whereas I am happy with the actual final result.

I’m happy with the final result.  The flounces are much more apparent IRL however they lay nicely against the chest.  The fabric did surprise me. I thought it would coordinate with a multiple of colors.  I have blue pants and brown pants in exactly the same blues and browns in the print. However when I try them together with the blouse, they just look wrong.  This fabric is best paired with my black pants, dark grey or dark navy.   Fortunately, I have 3 wearable pairs of pants that do work with this print.

Oh and now that I’ve pulled the pattern out and checked the fabric,   I’ve got other ideas!

Otto 5/2008#8, Ver 2 and Muley Brown Collection

Originally published Oct 18, 2012
I traced a new copy of the pattern. I traced the necks at 38, shoulder/armscye 40 the front side seam at the 50 and the back side seam at a 52.   Having had issues with matching/stitching the armscyes on the first version, I walked all the seams.  The front and back needed minor 1/8″ trims. I probably could have ignored that difference. The sleeve however was really off.  The front armscye was 1/2″ shorter and the back armscye was a good 1.5″ shorter!  I pondered only briefly.  I’m fairly sure the issue is not the basic draft but rather the fact I’m crossing so many sizes to develop a pattern which fits me. I’m making a lot of calls and decisions it’s quite ease to make errors.  If it had been 1/8″ even 1/4″ I would have assumed all is well. But the 1.5″ is so surprising to me that I decided to alter the sleeve.  I slashed vertically from armscye almost to hem about 3/4″ in from the underarm seam and on both back and front  armscyes. I spread the seams apart the needed amount, taped in a strip of tissue and retrued the armscye curve.

Then I started looking for fabric.  I knew I wanted a light brown knit fabric.  Knit fabric because the pattern calls for “viscose jersey”. Light colored because dark fabrics are hard to read especially during fitting. Brown because I’m trying to reduce the sheer number of brown fabrics on hand.  DH says I get a special thrill from handling my fabrics. There is a certain truth to that but I also rearrange my fabrics for a few other good reasons.  Sometimes I arrange my fabrics into wardrobe collections which involve multiple colors, styles and fabric types.  Other times I organize just by color.  This time I organized only the browns and separated the knit/stretch fabrics from the non-stretch fabrics.  I was surprised to see that of 8 stacks, 6 were woven non-stretch fabrics.  I seem to be buying great non-stretch fabrics but not sewing them.  I also noted a number of “aged” fabrics which I wonder if they will ever be anything more than place holders on the shelf.  I acquired lots of suit fabrics which are rarely needed in my current lifestyle. During the reorg, a groups of fabrics just came together. These are a muted cool brown. Not cinnamon or even milk chocolate. More the color of a dead mule deer. Mule deer (someone please tell me the correct color name) is a color which can be a great basic.  It’s not the most flattering brown for me and I don’t have many pieces.  What I do have is a nice sueded moleskin for pants and dashes of this muley-brown color in 4 other fabrics. I have a small collection.  It will consist of pants (TJ906) and a vest (pattern undecided). Then for tops I have my choice of two knits and a woven — all containing significant amounts of Muley brown.

And then I may have made a mistake. I chose for the knit fabric in this collection a white/muley-brown printed interlock knit. I’m pretty particular about using the recommended fabrics. I know from experience  that a draft for woven fabrics is very different from a knit draft.  Most people note that a knit draft contains less ease. That’s because a knit moves with you much better than a woven thereby reducing the amount of wearing ease needed.  But also knit patterns have shallower curves and tend to be slightly shorter in length with that difference distributed throughout the body.  IOW if drafting for a knit fabric, they don’t just whack the excess length off the bottom but take a little from the armscye length, maybe the neckline depth, shoulder slope and midriff.  So I’m careful to use a pattern drafted for knit with knits and avoid using a pattern drafted for woven with a knit fabric (and vice versa).  I’m not as careful when it comes to checking the amount of stretch.  Herein, my problem. I chose an interlock fabric with 100% stretch. My previous fabric, the one on which I based the sizing adjustments,  was a rayon (viscose) single knit jersey with 20-25% stretch.

The first fitting shows that this interlock does not fit anywhere near as close as the last two rayon jersey fabrics that were sewn by me.

First Basting

It’s too big.  I’m swimming in the body and hitching up the shoulders to keep them in place. I’m pretty sure we’ve got a case of Velcro Butt on the back and the drag lines are folds of excess fabric. The length of the hemmed body seems about right. But when I hem that sleeve, I’m going to feel it’s slightly too short.

One of the things I like about tracing Burda and Otto patterns Is that I get to choose the width of the seam allowance.  On knits I prefer a 1/4″ SA.  I used a 3/8″ SA to give me a little leeway in fitting because the rayon jersey had been surprisingly too small at one size smaller.  But with the interlock knit this draft has too much ease and that 3/8″ SA is not nearly deep enough.  I changed to 3/4″ seam allowance and took a second set of pictures.

Basted at 3/4″

In both views the seams are basted together using Water Soluble Thread (I plan ahead for easy removal).  The bottom hem has been roughly pressed into shape and stitched with Ruby’s gigantic basting stitch.  The hem crawled and so is uneven from the stitching.  This time I’m seeing hints of the sway back and more wrinkles along the underarm sleeve seam.  The entire garment feels better to me but I wonder if I could take it in just a bit further?

On thing I like to check is the slant of the side seam.

Raising the arm does affect how the side seam slants, so I have to make allowances. I’m not sure if I am positioned exactly perpendicular to the camera.  The back of the this version looks larger than the front.  In previous versions, of nearly every pattern, the back had seemed a bit too narrow.  The side seam is basically straight. The bulge in front is again my belt.  I think since I nearly always leave my shirt untucked, I should find new belts with flat buckles.

Overall, I like this version of 5/2008-8 with the 3/4″ seam allowances.  The Raglan is shaped such that I’m not made to look narrower on top than I already am, a common problem for me with Raglan sleeves.  I’m sure the colors and pattern help with this impression. With the retracing, the neckline sits a nice comfortable depth for me. Adding the neckline band will only make it better.  One of the things I really like about Otto, especially in comparison with Burda, is that the necklines are home and work appropriate.  –@Burda it’s not all date night. Women have many activities they need to dress appropriately for.  — I’m so glad that I didn’t have to raise the neckline!

Finished Otto 5/2008 #8

Originally published October 23, 2012
I apologize for the dressform/hanger shots.  Just like you, I prefer to see clothing on real bodies.  I’ve been investing a lot of time in my new toy, the Silhouette Cameo.  Typical for me, I spent some time researching before purchase and then afterwards thought to join a Yahoo Group.  The group, silhouetteusers, puts me in contact with other users of my particular device.  I find that my issues with any device are usually of my own making IOW user error. I’ve also noticed that a manufacturer will provide minimal information and generally warn against some of the things the machines can easily do.  I’m thinking specifically of embroidery machines.  All the techniques we have now, cutwork, free standing lace, applique etc were developed by users who said “what if I do this?” At any time had they asked the manufacture, they would have been told “this” violates their warranty. So I joined the silouetteusers groups and I’ve been reading their messages to see what “this” things they are doing.  I have 56,000+ messages to read before catching up…


I am again very happy with Otto. My sizing up worked well even if I did have to “size down” for this fabric.  I’ve noted on my pattern where to cut for interlock or slinky knits.  Mimie and I are no longer the same size.  I probably need to fix that. But where you see a fluting hem and some drag lines on Mimie, are filled out by my tummy and hip.  I needed to leave the sleeve at the same size. It looks OK a size smaller but I don’t like my clothes to fit that closely.  IMO only the undergarments should be skin-tight.

I learned several years ago if I wanted a perfect neckline like this:

Click for larger view.

I needed to baste first. I cut the ribbing  75% the length of the neckline.  It wouldn’t lie flat.  Resisting the urging of the iron and steam, the ribbing buckled and bowed. I ripped all but the front 3 inches, very easy to do since I used water-soluble thread in the bobbin, cut 1/2″ off both ends and basted the neckline a second time. Before I even got to the ironing board I could tell I had done the right thing.  I gave it a few light puffs of steam, then permanently serged the ribbing to the neckline.  A few more puffs of steam and then topstitched the neckline seam allowance to the bodice front. Beautiful and professional result which lies on my body even better than what you can see in the photo.

The raglan T above is garment 1 in the Muley Brown collection.  I’ve also completed pants for that collection using a moleskin fabric in the same brown. Together they make a lovely couple:

I’m cutting the vest and a blouse to complete this collection. I don’t have a purse which harmonizes well, so I’m considering making a purse too.  Problem for me is that I don’t acquire many fabrics in this color.  While it’s OK, there are browns which are more flattering and those are the ones I collect.  Most of the fabrics I”m using in the collection are several years old and were purchased over the Internet.  Monitors have gotten much better at displaying actual colors but there is still room for errors and I make them. My solution to these almost-my-colors is to stack them in the stash until I have enough to make an outfit and that’s the real reason for this Muley Brown collection.


A Raglan T Shirt 5/2008-08

Originally published Oct 17, 2012

from Otto 5/2008 Style #8.  I”m really loving the Ottobre magazines.  As I look through the women’s issues, I see garments I’ll actually wear. On top of that, once a style is fit there are tons of repeats with different styling details!  I started by fitting the classic blouse, next the classic jean and then everybody’s favorite, the T Shirt.  Yes the classic jean took 3 tries to get a TNT pattern. But compare that with the Kwik Sew pants patterns which have been banished because I could never fit them or the Big4 with so many wrinkles I don’t know where to start (not to mention a crotch shape that doesn’t fit anyone over the age of 12). I mean, 3 tries can be forgiven when it results in perfection.

I was ready to try some of the variations on the T-shirt which Otto seems to show in nearly every issue.  The long-sleeve T-shirt paired with warm pants and a vest is my go-to outfit for the winter. OK I wear long sleeve T-shirts year round.  If the temps drop in the summer, I grab a long-sleeve T-shirt and slip it on top.   Many of my T-shirts are looking sad or no longer fit–that weight gain thing again. So I’m ready to ramp up the T-shirts when I spy  a raglan T-shirt in the 5/2008 issue.  I thought I should go ahead and refit this basic style now.  I have to be careful with the raglan styling.  I have narrow shoulders and some raglan sleeves, some color combinations make me look like child’s toy spinning top.  So I have to be careful in how I use the raglan design on me.

2008/5 Style 8

I chose the 5/2008 because it was the simplest with only a single band at the neckline.  I traced the 3 pieces using the same sizing as the T-shirt i.e. 38 neck, 40 shoulder/armscye (since they are combined in a Raglan, I chose the larger size), 46 side. One of the wonderful uses of a TNT is to quickly compare with a new unknown pattern.  You just use corresponding pieces i.e. back with back, front with front, etc and place one on top of the other.  I placed the back raglan on top of the back T-shirt and said “WHOA!”. I did the same with the front and sleeves. The sleeves had about the same width (as the unaltered T-shirt sleeve) but the back and the front were obviously much smaller.  I knew at a glance that 1.5 to 2 inches of width would need to be added. My first thought, I didn’t trace the right sizes. So take out the master pattern sheet, smooth it out again and put the traced patterns on top. Holey Moley, I traced the right sizes. So then I thought “even though the schematics look the same, this version must be using lycra”. Nope the pattern guide calls for “150 cm viscose jersey”.  So then I think I must not be understanding the directions because this raglan does not even come close to the same amount of ease contained in the T-shirt.  I take my problem to like-minded souls at Stitchers Guild. A days worth of conversation and I now know:

Jersey knit is the same single knit cotton that I normally use in summer T-shirts

Interlock is that great double knit, usually cotton, that I like for winter T-shirts

Elastane is Lycra

Viscose is rayon not polyester.

And most importantly of all :

from Lisanne: “There are two issues I know of that each have a suite of T-shirts with interchangeable parts. I read somewhere – maybe in one of Sherril’s reviews – that one set has a closer fit than the other. Maybe you’re working from the issue with the more fitted T’s,….”

I re-traced my pattern size 40 neck, 42 shoulder/armscye and 50 side seams.

I’m using a rayon knit for the first version.  I bought it when I was looking for interesting knits in basic colors (dark brown, navy and black).  I wasn’t sure I liked it when viewing on the internet.  It has a 60’s vibe that I didn’t like in the 60’s. But dark brown knits were in short supply and put it on sale, so I bought. I disliked it a bit more upon receipt but it survived the wash with nary an issue and so occupied a place on the Brown Shelf (I group my stash fabrics by color) for a few months.  I wasn’t really enthused about it now but thought if this first version didn’t work out this was the best fabric to sacrifice.

Unedited photos.

It didn’t work out. I grouped 3 shots together so you can see the fabric well. I think the dark fabric “hides” some of the issues, so I also lightened each photo for discussion.

The neck and shoulder are too wide and the neckline too deep for me. I cut but didn’t apply a 1″ front band. I can see that it will really be needed and probably needs to be 1.25 to 1.50″ wide. Not really shown  here is that I had problems sewing the armscye/shoulder seam. They didn’t match. The body feels comfortable and for that reason I’m surprised to see a tummy bulge. No it’s not a belt buckle this time. That’s definitely my belly. The arms were tight while going on, but was comfortable once in place. I’m surprised again at the wrinkles all up and down the underarm seams. The seam is flat when lying on the ironing board. If it feels comfortable, why is it wrinkling? Is it because the neckline is too wide and the garment is falling off my shoulders?

I made the 1″ BWL on both front and back. The garment is unhemmed.

Boy this fabric really make my shoulders look round!

Still I sort of expected the sway-back appearance. I’ve been seeing hints of this in all the blouses I’ve been making for my larger size. As little as 2 years ago I asked my doctor if I was developing a sway back. My back hurts more and more often.  She insists that my back is fine, my weight is still to blame. She may be right because from the side

especially if I raise my arm

you see the ol’ booty sticking out, the hem is uneven (creeping upwards in center back) and the side seam veers towards the back on the lower half.  I’m thinking that this pattern  needs a size-52, back, side-seam.

I traced and dotted. Dithered. Retraced and dashed. Trying to decide what size to trace the raglan seam itself. My neck and shoulder really need the narrower size 38 but that’s just a bit tight in the armscye. The combined shoulder-armscye of the raglan had me confused. I think the upper issues are due to a combination of wrong size and tracing/veering-to the wrong lines.  Now that I’ve decided what sizes would be best, I think I should retrace on completely fresh paper size 38 neck and 40 armscye.

Yes, there will be another version.