Thursday, October 6, 2011

Raglan Sleeve Tunic


No, that's not the tunic. That was one of my muslins. 

And here's another one.

And another,

with the sleeves pushed up for washing dishes, giving baths to children, scrubbing the deck etc.

I made er... four of them, to refine the raglan sleeve block/sloper.

I figured that while refining, I might as well make actual shirts I would wear, right? Plus they were so quick to sew.

And it was fun coordinating colors -and use up the stash -while still keeping everything utterly plain.

I've always loved raglan sleeves. Actually, I've always loved this particular kind of basebally raglan sleeve shirt- I have so many of them already, and I still want more. Raglan sleeves cover a multitude of flaws, shoulder-wise. Almost anyone can wear raglan sleeves without feeling their shoulders are bulgy or bony or weird or hunched or whatever. And since that diagonal raglan line is a dart, you can manipulate it to get a nice armscye/bust fit: move it up or down, slant it more or less, curve it, add piping, whatever. Unlike the classic set-in sleeves, however, raglan sleeves are less exact to draft and have to be tweaked in the fitting stage. In addition, different knits (as I'd used) behave slightly differently even with the same pattern. 

Now don't let this mass-production of Tshirts mislead you- I am not about to abandon store-bought clothes for homemade Tshirts. Remember my motto -"If I can buy them, I'm not sewing them because I'd much rather have the time to play with the kids"? This mass-production is just how I draft stuff and refine the blocks and patterns through muslins - I wanted to encourage you all that sometimes, it takes more than one muslin, and sometimes (like when you plan ahead) the muslins are actually wearable. 

But what to do with a raglan sleeve block? Especially one tweaked for knits? This particular cut doesn't hang particularly well as a cotton dress, unless it's peasant-style with elastic and shirring and ease everywhere, which isn't really a look I can carry off. It does make a great cut for a coat or jacket, but I'm not ready to spare the time to sew that for myself right now. 

Then I saw this white sweatshirt fabric I'd bought to make a new pair of pants for Emily, lying on the floor (for shame) along with all my other newly-purchased fabric. Adopted it for myself by rationalizing that children who play on playground equipment in school shouldn't be wearing white anyway. Became nervous, thinking about the coming winter and frostbite and hypothermia and all the other lovely consequences of dressing inadequately in these parts, and made a tunic.

See the seams at the elbows? Didn't have enough fabric to cut the raglan sleeves (they're huge!) out in full, so had to do some joining. 

Here it is actually worn:

I'd always done three-quarter sleeves on my tunics, but with winter coming, I made these full-length. They are also slightly flared from the elbow because it was less boring than straight sleeves or bell sleeves.

The neckline is just faced, with that lace trim sandwiched between the facing and the outer fabric. No buttons or elastic or zippers or anything. It just pulls over the head.

So this is my sweatshirt that doesn't quite look like a sweatshirt! Oh how I love knits. But now I must plough through those alterations I said I would do on those Unfitting Clothes. Why did I say I would do them? Why didn't I just write them off as hopeless? Do you know what I did to ensure I wouldn't chicken out? Unpicked all the sleeves, that's what. So I couldn't cheat and drive out to Goodwill with them. And just when I'd thought of something else to make that has raglan sleeves - nightshirts! Which I need and can't buy. Help.  



20 comments:

  1. These are ALL fabulous! I love the tunic(my favorite apparel for fall/winter). By problem is I am TERRIFIED of knit.

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  2. Will you be posting this as a pattern (free or to purchase)?

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  3. Love this tunic (and the muslins). It looks great on you!

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  4. I love raglan sleeves! I'm trying to convince my sister to do your drafting series with me, so I have some accountability to get it done. Instead of cleaning the house, you know =)

    That tunic is lovely! Perfect for fall/winter!

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  5. Your tunic is lovely! I'm not a tunic person myself, but I could go for a few of those T-shirts! :)

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  6. Great muslins (they look perfect to me) and even great tunic. They fit you so well.

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  7. The tunic is SO nice and looks comfy and cozy. I'd like one please!

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  8. Lovely! Tunics are currently my favorite shirts right now. There's just something so snuggly and comfy about them. This one looks great!
    So I'm curious as to what alterations you did between your muslins and your finished tunic. I can't really see a difference. What did you do? Thanks!

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  9. @Jessica Stier
    Thanks! These are actually muslins # 3,4 and 5. The first one was very loose and the raglan line was too high, but it was also translucent, so no photos. The second was the pink one, which was good, but also translucent, so no photos either. These three modeled muslins differ only in the neckline and wrists, actually (so anal, I know), and only slightly (like 1/4"). They aren't pictured in order (the pink and grey is #5, for instance. But the main point of making so many near-identical muslins is to test the pattern in different kinds of knits. All three Tshirts in this post are made of different kinds and thicknesses of knits (translated: different stretch factors). The tunic is slightly looser in the armpit than the Tshirts, because sweatshirt fleece is not very stretchy compared to the Tshirt knits (interlock, jersey etc). And the neckline and sleeves are also different, of course, but that's attributed to design rather than fit. I know it all sounds incredibly anal, but that's what muslins are for, I guess!

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  10. These are great! I love baseball tees. And what an awesome idea for a winter tunic- sweatshirt material. That will get tons of use.

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  11. So cool! Thanks for explaining your muslin thought process. It's really interesting and helpful for me in my own muslins. I'm sure it's a great idea to try it on different types of knit. I never would have thought of something as brilliant as that! :)

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  12. I love following your blog! I would like to try to make myself some of those raglan T's and the tunic too. You are so talented and I don't know how you get so much done. Do you ever sleep?

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  13. Great post, love that tunic in stretch, might go rummaging in my stash and try something similar.

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  14. Love the shirts and raglan sleeves. Sure wish I had your talent.

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  15. I love tunics and this one is wonderful. The joining made for a cool detail. I'm new here, did you use any special technique for the joining?

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  16. @Ana
    No, Ana, I didn't. It's a normal flat fell seam, but I didn't fold the seam allowance and tuck it under the way a flat fell seam is done, because the fabric is so thick. I serged that edge instead of folding, and then top-stitched on the right side of the fabric.

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  17. What a nice alternative to a sweatshirt! Love it, L!

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  18. Those are too cute. I love the retro style.

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  19. this is lovely and modest. thanks for sharing !

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  20. Lovely. I'm just now seeing this post, and wondering if you would share how you put the binding on the sleeve cuffs of your muslins? I searched through your blog a bit to see if the technique was mentioned elsewhere, but didn't see anything. Any help would be appreciated!

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