Raglan, the King of Sleeves!

I love a raglan, I am drawn to them. I first made a raglan in stretch for the little one, a Brindille and Twig pattern. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. It convinced me that I never needed to buy a sweatshirt for the my toddler again.


Trying to find a larger sized pattern for the big boys seemed to allude me, so I decided to draft a version based on there measurements (luckily they are about the same size).  Whoop Whoop, it worked a treat thanks to some help from Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich.

I backed this up by drafting my very first pattern, of course a raglan sweatshirt.  It’s one of my favourite pieces, mainly because I drafted it and also the awesome bling on the shoulders.  I am sure you have seen this many times before.

I am getting to the point I promise.


I don’t really know what it is that makes me love a raglan so much.  Maybe it’s the simple construction or maybe the flattering fall of the sleeve.  Whatever it is, I love them and it inspired me to find the perfect raglan sleeve dress.

The first one I made was a very simple self-drafted number based on my sweatshirt. I didn’t want a stretch version though, so I just added a little extra width, basically enough to fall easily over my hips.  A boxy shape, my favourite shape. I then added more ease on the three quarter length sleeves.  It is possibly the most impractical item I own, it’s in white!  WHY?? What was I thinking!  The kids are not allowed to come near me with food!  This ultimately means I don’t wear it much, shame really because it’s rather nice.

The main fabric was a charity store find, it’s a cotton mix with quite a nice drape.  The sleeve fabric is a cotton lace I found at Lincraft many moons ago.  There is nothing fancy about this make.  Just some homemade bias binding around the neck, hemmed sleeves, and a chunky hem at the bottom.


A more practical colour option was in order and I wanted to try a ‘proper’ pattern! So I tried the raglan sleeve dress in the Japanese pattern book, Stylish Party Dresses.

I used some black crepe that I found at the charity shop.  I have been holding onto it for ages looking for the right project but I think this was the one! I wanted to make it a little special so I used the last bit of my quilted bronze fabric.  This is the reverse side of the fabric I made my Frocktails dress  in.  It’s such a wonderful colour, I just couldn’t help myself.  I seem to have a thing for bronze shoulders!

I didn’t have enough to make a full sleeve, which is why I opted for the shoulder panel. It’s a minor tweak and easy to redraw, I wrote about it here. It’s amazing how much you improve as you sew, I just re-read that post and wondered who wrote it, lol!

The neckline was also quite high on the pattern so I dropped it by a few centimetres. The pattern calls for a button closure but as I had dropped the neckline I could get it over my head so I ignored this step.

I quite like it, although I think it is perhaps a little short! I will see how I go and then maybe drop the hemline by about 5cm. I rather like it and I am glad I used the last scraps of the bronze as I love it so much!


I am currently working on the ultimate raglan, the Rushcutter dress by In the Folds. It has some really interesting elements in it, I am excited about this one.

Watch this space…

17 thoughts

  1. These are so fab – Would you believe I’ve never made a woven raglan garment?? Clearly this must be addressed, instantly if not sooner! I’ve got a couple of favourite knit patterns – a burdastyle gathered raglan that I’ll be making a new one of this winter I think, and the named geneva – that beautiful curved raglan seam!


  2. Loved this post, very inspirational! (big raglan fan here too 😉 You managed to add great details to a simple design, making the end result fabulous. I am trying to draft my own “ultimate” T-shirt, using the Aldrich book as well, and that should hopefully allow me to make some dresses with it too. Fingers crossed!


  3. I lurve this dress! The bronze shoulders are perfect and give a little more squaring to the raglan. I’m not a big fan of raglan on myself as I find it curves the shoulder visually and makes my small shoulders look even more feeble. Nothing feeble about those epauletts!


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