Raglan Shirt Tutorial


How perfect is this raglan sleeve top for Fall? I've had this light-weight sweater fabric from Joann's (here) for about a month, loving it, knowing it was perfect for a Fall top, but still not sure exactly what it would become. Until... I saw THIS sweatshirt from Old Navy.

Basically, I translated the raglan and polka dot theme, and made a few adjustments. Basically I'm in love with it. And basically, you will be too!

Here's how this uber-simple raglan shirt is made:

  • 1 1/2 yards of light to mid weight knit fabric. I used this from Joann's.
  • Coordinating thread.
  • Sewing machine, scissors, tape measure are all a given. But hey, I'll tell you anyway.


Step 1: Use the graphics below to create a paper pattern.
  • You can free hand it, but I would advise making a quick pattern so that your mirroring pieces are truly identical.
  • You can use a bowl or lid from around the house to create the neck line. That's how I roll any way!
  • Freezer paper works great because it's long and wide. Plus you can iron it on if you want a better cut.

Step 2: Cut out your fabric. 
  • You will need two of each graphic shown.
  • Make sure to cut so that the stretch goes across the width of the pieces.
  • I used my fabric on it's reverse side for the sleeves, neckband, and waistband. But you could do the same side for both, the reverse like I did, or a different contrasting fabric.
  • These measurements can guide you. I'm a size small/medium so I would say add an inch or two in the sleeves and width for each size up.
  • You can also determine the body width by placing a good fitting sweater/shirt over the fabric to decided. 
See how the sleeve will be folded in half then attached.

Step 3: Sew the sleeves onto the body.
  • The sleeves are attached first and then you sew up the sides, this ensures even seams all around!
  • Attach them to the front body piece then attach them to the back body piece, like you will see in the pictures below.
  • Make sure to use a stretch stitch all the time, as this will be pulled over the head. A zigzag or serger stitch will do the trick.

Make sure that if your using the reverse fabric for the sleeves to line it up properly.
See how the reverse fabric will be on the outside of the sleeve once it's sewed.
Here are both sleeves attached to just the front.
Now the sleeves are attached to both the front and the back. All the sides are still open.

Step 4: Sew up the sides and sleeves.
  • This ones pretty simple, you just pin all the sleeves and sides, like the photo below, and sew them up.

Step 5: Adding the waist and neck bands. You will want to follow these steps for both the neck and waist.
  • The waist and neck are just a piece of fabric the length of the garment around the particular area (waist or neck) and the width you prefer. 
  • For a more sweatshirt look, I did about 5" on the waist band, folded over to be 2" after seam allowance though. And about 3" on the neck, which made it about an 1" when folded and sewn.
  • Sew the band together at it's ends first, then fold in half.
  • Keeping the garment turned right side out, place the band upside down, facing inside out, like shown below.
  • You will want to place your band connecting seam in the back center of the garment, so that it is not as noticeable.
  • Sew all the way around the edge.
    ***Side Note: I tried mine on before adding the waist and determined if I wanted to take more length off the bottom first. I took a couple inches off since I would be gaining a couple inches with the waist band.

    Sew along the pins. You will do the same for the neck band.

    Step 6: The final step is to hem your sleeve cuffs. 
    • I don't have a picture for this, but you just fold the sleeve opening under about an inch, and sew around it with the stretch stitch of your preference.

    Style it for Fall and you are done!

    Top: made by me, Pants: Romy (similar), Flats: Payless, Bag: Kohl's (different colorsimilar), Necklace: Gift.

    Hope you enjoyed this new tutorial, I know I did! Leave your comments or questions below.


    Perfectly Coutured  


    1. Replies
      1. Thanks! I hope you try it out, it is beyond easy, which totally surprised me!

    2. This is an awesome tutorial! I would have never guessed that sweater was a diy project, it looks amazing! Thanks for sharing with Three-fer Thursday :)

      xo Bethany

      1. Thanks Bethany! And I'm always a fan of Three-fer Thursdays, and giving us the chance to link up with you!

    3. Great tutorial! I LOVE the look of raglan sleeves, and that metallic polka dot fabric is fantastic!

      1. Thanks! I know, raglan sleeves are raging right now, and to be honest they are sooo simple to make!

    4. What a great shirt! Love the fabric. I am your newest follower!

      1. Thanks! and thanks also for following along!

    5. So cute!! I love the fabric! I feel like I always have a hard time finding cute Jersey knit fabric at Joanns. Anyway I've searching for the perfect raglan sleeve tutorial and I think I found it! Thanks!

      1. I know what you mean about Joann's, it can be a hit or miss with their apparel fabrics. Though I think they're getting better. I'm so glad you liked the tutorial! I was hoping to fill the gap because I felt there weren't a lot of good raglan tutorials out there. I checked out some of your blog, and I can't wait to see more! Also, I'm a native Oregonian myself!

    6. Been looking for a good raglan tutorial before I attempted it myself. Great job! Looking forward to giving it a try. I like hearing that I am not the only one who uses bowls for necklines :)

      1. Bowls are perfect sewing tools because they come in many sizes! Haha! Good luck sewing.

    7. Nice Tut! I will definitely try this one!

      P.S. I tried to follow the link to Old Navy shirt but got the Home Page of Bloggers...may want redirect ;-)

      1. Thanks! Hope you do try it. The link is almost a year old, so I'll have to see if I can find something more recent to link it to

    8. thanks for the tut!!!!!, I was looking for something like this for a fabric I have. Is the piece of fabric for the neck, bias cut or just a rectangle?. Emai: sudzui@yahoo.com. Thanks!!!!

      1. Yay! I just cut the neckband piece in a straight rectangle and that worked great for this fabric which had excellent recovery... It your knit doesn't recover well, you might consider curving it to the shape of the neckline.


    I would love to hear from you!
    xoxo, Elizabeth

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