Change muslin, acknowledge original – raglan tee
This is my second post on whether to acknowledge the source of a pattern. Again I had no intention of making a different style, but had to make so many changes to the pattern to get something that fit and flattered, it looked very different.
My previous post on this topic was about a casual drop shoulder dartless pullover. One of many simple pullover tops that are so similar I didn’t feel obliged to mention the original designer. I felt my version was one variation on a very generic style. But commenters felt strongly I should acknowledge my starting point !
This post is about a raglan knit tee. It has a key feature I think the original designer does deserve credit for.
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A knit tee
Here’s a photo and line drawing of the original – The Sewing Workshop Trio Tee by Linda Lee.
I didn’t notice when choosing this pattern that it’s close fitting, which isn’t for me. The hips have negative ease, the last place I need stretched fabric. The sleeves are so tight I couldn’t bend my average size arms, and the neckline was too small for my head. Debated whether to use another pattern, but this is the only pattern I have with 2-piece raglan sleeves – extra seam along top of sleeve. Which makes it possible to get a good fit over the shoulders without all the strain and drag lines at the armhole of a 1-piece raglan sleeve.
Other people love the out-of-envelope fit of this tee pattern, so you may well not agree with me I’m a shirt rather than a tee person, for reasons of climate, body shape, and personal style. I only wear knit tops as loose over-layers.
So I’ve changed nearly everything except the armhole seam shapes. It does still have the original general style elements : raglan 2-piece sleeve, near jewel neck. But it is now a loose fitting top, not a close fitting one. A different spirit. So I wondered if the designer would be peeved to be linked with it if I said ‘derived from’ or ‘inspired by’.
Here’s the back of my ‘muslin’.
‘Looks like a dog’s dinner’ as we say. I greatly prefer this slash-and-add method of working, and do it in a fabric test garment too. Some people make a new muslin every time they make a pattern change, but I would find that very tiresome. Of course sometimes things get such a mess I have to start afresh, and make a new ‘muslin’ for where I’ve got to so far.
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Parallel slash and spread strips in the sleeves. That solved 3 problems for me :
- wider sleeve,
- bigger neckline,
- bigger armhole.
Changed shape of the upper sleeve seam to match my sloping shoulders.
For pear-shaped ease, I had already traced from M size at bust level to XXL at hips, but wanted more. So there’s a wedge added down CB.
All that extra width at shoulder level meant the neckline dropped. But that solved a lot of lumpiness in the armhole area, and I need a big armhole to be comfortable. So I filled in the neckline rather than pulling it up. Then added a neckline the right shape and size for me.
The armhole is now low. If I wanted a version with higher armhole I would have to re-work this – pull up and re-shape at the shoulders and scoop out the armhole curve.
When I made the ‘muslin’ I thought the major issue would be how to make a high round back adjustment on a raglan style. That was the least of my problems ! – dealt with by the neckline fill-in and a small change to the back raglan seams.
Obviously I give comfort much higher priority than a close fit, however fashionable that may be
Greatly changed ease and proportions from the original. But this isn’t a generic one-piece-sleeve raglan style. I specifically chose the starting pattern to meet my fitting needs. So the original designer should be acknowledged.
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Yes, my tee ‘muslin’ is in swedish tracing paper – open down the front for trying it on. I think I remember the late Shannon Gifford suggesting you use a woven for your first test of a knit pattern. To be sure you’ve got rid of sags and strains. Instead of avoiding fit issues by depending on the knit fabric to deal with them. Which doesn’t always give a comfortable line-free garment.
Many people will be horrified by using this material to test a knit pattern. But it works for me. The knits I’m attracted to usually have little lengthways stretch. Of course using a non-stretch trial garment isn’t possible if you like body-fit or negative ease in your knits. And not sensible if you’re using a very stretchy fabric. (Pattern making books develop different blocks for fabrics with different amounts of stretch.)
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Moving on with the pattern
Despite all the added ease, my version of this tee is too tight for me to wear in a non-stretch woven. I’m planning an enlarged version for wovens. Perhaps then make a top mimicking designer Koos’ triangle dress, see Vogue 1301.
And an even larger version for woven casual jackets. I like the look of the Cutting Line Butterfly and Bees oop jacket, also with upper sleeve seam. Though that’s a semi-raglan style – probably a better look for my sloping shoulders. [More pattern adapting needed to get that right for me, but I've now done enough raglan pattern work to feel confident about it.]
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I acknowledge the original for my raglan pattern was a named style from a named commercial designer.
For my fitting efforts in general – so far I have a raglan top and a dropped shoulder ‘dartless’ top. I still need to finalise a fitted top with fitted armhole. Yes, I know in proper personal pattern making you’re supposed to make the fitted bodice block first. But the casual and raglan blocks are easier – I don’t need an FBA, so just the shoulders and loose armhole to fit. When I’ve done the fitted block, I’ll have the key upper body patterns-cum-blocks. For a complete set of upper body basics I also need a dartless top with cut-on sleeves, but so far haven’t managed to get a good result for that style over my high round back and sloping shoulders. Though I have found a pattern making book which gives the guidance I need. No hurry, it’s a shape used for many easy patterns but isn’t essential. Skirt and pants are also well on the way. Then hopefully I can move on from focus on getting a good fit.
Would you enjoy doing all this, or would it not be at all your idea of a fun part of sewing
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Patterns and links available January 2013
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