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September 2010
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How To Make Raglan Sleeves

          A raglan sleeve is attached to the garment by a seam that runs diagonally down from the front neckline to the underarm, and up to the back neckline.  This sleeve covers the entire shoulder (A) and needs some shaping device to make it conform to the shoulder’s shape, which is usually done with the use of a dart that extends from the neckline to the shoulder edge.

          With right sides together, match, pin and stitch the shoulder darts from the wide end to the point leaving 4” thread ends (B).  Knot the thread ends.  Slash the darts if necessary and press open.  Match, pin and stitch the underarm seams, right sides together.  Press the seams open.

          If your pattern has a 2 piece raglan sleeve (C), place the front and back together with right sides facing each other.  Match, pin and stitch the shoulder seam.  Clip the curving shoulder edge, then press the entire seam open.  Again, with right sides together, match, pin and sew the underarm seams of the sleeve.  Press the seams open. 

          Sew the garment side seams and press them open.

          With the right sides together (D), pin the sleeve to the armhole, lining up the underarm seams and matching all notches.  Baste as pinned.  With the sleeve side up (E), machine stitch next to the basting lines.  Trim the cross-seam allowances at the underarm seams.  Place a second row of stitching between the front and back notches of the underarm curve about ¼” from the first row, for additional strength. 

          Clip the seam allowances (F), and trim the underarm seam allowances close to the second row of stitching to eliminate some of the bulkiness.

           These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”.   This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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