I wanted to make a raglan t-shirt for my daughter because I kept seeing cute ones on the sewing pages I frequent. So I decided to put together a tutorial on how to make one in about 20 minutes using a RTW t-shirt and some leftover coordinating fabric!
First, I traced one of my daughter’s t-shirts onto a grey RTW t-shirt from a thrift store, aligning it at the collar. Then I made a line from the armpit to the collar and cut all the pieces apart.
After cutting the pieces, I grabbed my contrasting fabric and used the sleeves I cut from the t-shirt as a base pattern for the new sleeves. Basically, I traced around the top of the sleeve, then extended it at a slight angle until I had myself some super long sleeves.
Tip: If you want to be more exact, you can measure from your neckline down to your knuckles to get a more concrete estimate of the length you’ll want for your new sleeve.
Then, with right sides together, stitch the new contrasting sleeves onto the body piece you cut from the RTW shirt.
After the sleeves are attached, top stitch on the right side on the body fabric sweeping the seam allowances towards the body. You can see the topstitching on my daughter’s shirt in black thread in the picture below. This gives a professional, store-bought look.
Once the sleeves are topstitched, sew your side seams by pinning the sides together right sides together, and sewing from the end of the bottom hem towards the end of the sleeve, making a smooth curve under the armpit.
At this point, do a quick fitting because, if yours look like my daughter’s, the sleeves will be way too long! Mark where to hem them and then hem both the sleeve cuffs and the bottom of the shirt.
Last, you’re going to take the bottom hem from the original shirt to make your neckband.
If you don’t know how to measure a custom neckband or attach a neckband, check out the blog post, How to Sew Knit Neckbands, Sleeves and Hems.
The shirt came out perfect! So perfect I had to make one for myself!
And since these are for Valentine’s Day, I decided to stencil the number “14” on our tees. I had a couple of thrift store tees laying around so I made one more!
I am very happy with how they turned out! This is perfect for those sassy, yet oversized Walmart tees. Go buy them all and turn them into raglans!
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