Category Archives: 2010/5-10 Raglin Cap Sleeve

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.


The Raglin Cap Sleeve

This is such a relief after the failure of the Shirred Top I finished the neckline with the binding that makes for a more comfortable neckline depth. I think the neckline was as Otto designed. But my personal preference is usually something just a little more modest which I have achieved.  Before finishing the neckline, I realized why the fit was off.  Back when I was tracing the pattern pieces, I added 1″ seam allowances to the sleeves.  I trimmed that to 1/2″ when tissue fitting on my dress form.  Now I trimmed it back to the original draft.

I don’t think the front could get any better.  The fabric skims everything, my favorite fit.  I think a person actually looks slimmer when clothing does not reveal every curve. I’m happy to say that my contrast at center neckline and sleeve hems has offset the tendency of a raglan line to narrow my upper chest.   I didn’t realize that easing the sleeve to the bodice would create additional diagonals.  I saw them on Otto’s model, but didn’t think about the effect.  For me, this cap sleeve is a winner.

I trimmed 3″ from the length and tried the blouse on again. Well it was too much.  I mean that was the perfect length and I wanted a real hem. My solution was to add a 2″ folded (to 1″) band at the hem. I would prefer not to have the horizontal line at the hem but it doesn’t look bad.

With the sleeves and length altered the back falls into vertical folds instead of bunching up in the middle of the back.  It’s one of those things which I’m not sure if I should do anything or not. There is no side shaping to speak of; which means that designer did not plan for a fitted back.  Now it’s my choice, do I want to add some shaping with darts or side shaping, or accept this T-shirt like look?

I transferred two changes to the tissue.  I removed the excess seam allowance from the sleeves and I trimmed 2″ from the length. I think the pattern is good to go for next year.

Yes summer is winding down.  I’ll be able to wear this garment once or twice before putting away the hot weather wardrobe but the 2013 summer sewing is finished.

Raglan Cap Sleeve: Construction

A few minutes experimenting at my cover stitch machine achieved the look I wanted for this garment.   I marked the inside of what would be the front using chalk.  I first drew a horizontal line 1″ above and from underarm point to underarm point.  That became my “start line”. Then I drew 7 vertical lines  3/4″ apart. I began stitching by lining up the center guide of the clear foot with a vertical line and dropping my needles into the start line.  Then I stitched at a moderate speed i.e. neither slow/careful nor pedal-to-the-metal. After each line of stitching, I pulled the wooly nylon at the start line to the other side.  I leave long thread tails at both beginning and end. I was afraid if I did not pull those beginning tails to a place I could see and control, I would stitch them into something. When finished I had quite a mess both inside and out.

I administered a drop of FreyCheck on each group of threads at the starting line. Not shown here, but I simply serged off the tails at the neckline.

A long about here, I realized I wanted to emphasize the line at the sleeve hem. I folded up the hem 1/2″ and stitched with my left needle just barely catching the top of the hem on the inside.

I basted the pieces together and made the first fitting.

I think  it looks a little large everywhere with a distinct excess in the middle of the back.  It’s possible that the fabric is responsible for the apparent excess ease or that I don’t have the sleeves hanging on my shoulders properly. I had noticed the tissue, when pinned to Mimie, was a bit “poofy” in the same area.

I’m pleased that it is not too small. That’s happened to me even with what seemed to be Herculean efforts to ensure sufficient ease. Trusting Mimie was a good thing and maybe I should have trusted just a little more.

Besides the ease, the neckline is lower than I would prefer.  I had cut bindings that would wrap around the neckline edge. I will instead fill in the depth just a little by folding the bindings in half and stitching them to the edge, T-shirt style.

I also think that this top looks longer than I intended. I thought I traced the pattern 3″ shorter but it appears to be the same length on me as in the magazine photo.

Here’s the thing, while I will make the necessary adjustments so this version will fit and look the way I want, I’m not sure what if any tissue adjustments I should pursue.  I had not expected the jersey to stretch as much as it is. When I tested, I measured a 20% stretch. I’m not sure if the issue is the fabric or that Mimie is not my duplicate. She is larger than me. OTOH I don’t actually want her smaller than me.  I had a tendency to over fit when Mimie and I were the same size and shape. This resulted in clothing that was at times uncomfortably close. I think I want Mimie to be a little larger.  Since I’m just beginning to really use her again, I think the best thing is leave the tissue alone but keep in mind these issue for the next garment.

Otto 10, 5/2010: Tissue Alterations

I traced my usual multi-sizes except I have determined that I need a 38 width across shoulders with the 44 length between shoulder and bust. I thought it would be possible to trace the 44 line as long as the 38 and extend the armscye up to the 44 shoulder. Wonky. Yeah there was this sudden upright the last inch which I was pretty sure was not going to translate into a smooth body conforming raglan.  For this style, it was easiest to trace the 38 armscye and shoulder; then separate the upper bodice above the notches and add 1″.  I traced the 38 sleeve, add the 1″ length above the notches; and added 1″ seam allowances.  I still needed to do a 1″ BWL above the waistline. Funny how that works out. I need to add an inch so the dart drops down where my bust is, but then I need to remove an inch in length so the waist and hip shaping will correspond to my body.

If you follow me through my sdBev blog, you’ll know that I repaded my dressform, Mimie, a few weeks back.  I’ve been perplexed at her appearance and measurements and contemplating what and how to change. After the last few garments, I’ve decided to trust her a bit more. I made that decision because every change I made to her cover is what I’ve been making to my recent garments and I’ve seen those same issues when I pin the tissue or photo garments on Mimie,  but I’ve not taken action because I thought there was something not right with Mimie.  So I decided to trust.  I pinned the tissues together. Pinned them on Mimie and then evaluated the fit from shoulder to hem.

First thing I saw is that the sleeve didn’t need the 1″ SA and I pinned it out. I’m showing the front here, but both front and back were pinned the same.  I expected to remove the extra SA on the front, but I did think I would need a little more on the back.

Hope you can see the red pin above because the next thing I noticed was the front wrinkled and bubbled at the bust.  This is a clear example of how patterns are drafted for the symmetrical and must be adapted for where our bodies are not symmetrical.  I need extra width across the back. I actually traced a 44 front and 46 back at the underarm.  I thought that would work. The back did. The back is fine but there is too much ease for the front and I’ve seen that with each of the last two garments I’ve finished. The most simple fix, especially right now, was pinching out the excess and red pinning. After I take the tissues off Mimie, I’ll make the change permanent and true the seam lines.

I took it upon myself to trace a 46 waist and 48 hip on both front and back pieces.  Even though the Otto chart says my hip line is a size 44, my garments are consistently too close in the back. So having made the hip area 2 sizes larger than recommended, I was surprised to see my tissue pull away from the center back.  I split the tissue while it was still on Mimie and add whatever Mimie needed. I’m hoping of course that what Mimie needs is the same as what I need.

My fabric is a fine knit, not sure of the fiber, that’s been in the stash for so long I don’t remember when I purchased it.  It is a very narrow horizontal strip of blue and black. I mean it is like two weft-threads of blue and then two weft-threads of black.  From a distance, it reads as a muted blue.

Tomorrow, the sewing begins —spoiler alert— by testing at the cover stitch.

Otto Style 10 Issue 5/2010 (Design Evaluation)

I have real reservations about raglan styles.  My pear shape needs style lines which will balance my shoulders with my hip line.  Too often a raglan sleeve emphasizes the narrowness of my shoulders and can even makes them look narrower.  However Style 10 has some balancing design lines going, making it a possibility for me..

First there is this wide neckline made even wider by the shape of the sleeve. I’m cautions about these.  First off, the neckline will have to be sized to fit me. I do not tolerate shoulders poking up through necklines. Secondly, although the line drawing shows the fairly straight shoulder, it may not be that way IRL. But for now, I give both features tentative pluses.

A very upright raglan, such as the LH5205, works very well. But you can see that the raglan here is angled steeply inward. BUT…

is counter acted by the outward angled lines of the sleeve hem and neckline portion of the sleeve. Another interesting feature at the neckline is the series of pin tucks. There are more than just decorative. They can help with fitting, especially when you are hollow chested such as I. They also “read” as a horizontal block from which the sleeve launches

So what you end up with, is a visual dominance of horizonal lines and outward bound angles that offset the inward angle of the raglan.

I don’t know who designs for Otto, but when I examine this design’s  details, I start thinking they must be shaped like me.