Apr 22, 2014

Pattern Review: Jolly Roger Raglan Tee

A few months ago I started teaching sewing at this great space in Upper Manhattan, Bread and Yoga (they also have yoga, obviously, as well as art and cooking). In addition to beginner adult classes and weekend workshops, I also teach tween classes (age 9-13). And since most of the young girls in my class ultimately want to sew clothes, I started searching the web for easy tween patterns. It's not easy to find patterns for that age group that look like something they would actually want to wear.

And then I found the Jolly Roger Raglan Tee pattern by Patterns for Pirates, a small indie patternmaker who specializes in boys clothing. She has just four patterns available for download at her Etsy shop. Having drafted a raglan T pattern before, I didn't mind paying the $7.50 for the downloadable PDF of this multi-sized T-shirt in several variations, including long sleeved with a cuff, 3/4-length sleeve and short. Plus it comes in sizes 3m,6m,9m,12m,18m,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,12,14 — which gives you options. But I've never heard of Patterns for Pirates — nor could I find any sewn examples on sewing blogs. Would it be any good? 

I made one in size 7 for my daughter, using some cotton knit from Chic on 39th Street in NYC's Garment District:

And then I tested it out in the largest size — 14 (I wondered whether both sizes would fit well; pattern grading between such disparate sizes ain't easy). It fit me pretty much perfectly:

There's a bit of rippling at the top where the stripes meet the sleeve and neckline. I chalk that up to my own error in using fabrics with different amounts of stretch. (I also possibly didn't measure my neckband properly). No matter: I've worn it at least several times anyway since then.

This was such an easy make: I sewed it all on my serger. My fabric was quite stretchy so the fit was great all around — even though this top was designed to fit a 14-year-old boy. The striped fabric is rayon from Metro Textile. The grey sleeves and neckband are upcycled from a maternity nightgown:

The pattern also includes options for elbow patches and that little triangle thing at the center front (is there a word for that?). There are three different hem choices too: banded hem, traditional hem and curved. I do love options. (My big quibble with some indies is that often there are no options — you have to draft them yourself).

The pattern instructions include full color photos and detailed instructions, making the Jolly Roger a good option for someone who hasn't sewn a T-shirt before. If you have sewn a raglan T before, you probably won't even need them. All the pattern pieces are clearly marked and fit together perfectly.

Making a bunch of little Ts in the smallest sizes would be a great way to use up scraps of your most treasured stretch fabrics. I've yet to try out the littlest sizes to see how they fit, but I'm guessing after my two samples they will be just fine. It's a great basic top — and I think easy enough for a tween to sew (they don't yet know to be afraid of stretch fabrics, which is wonderful!).


  1. I think if I had learned on cool patterns like this at that age, I wouldn't have taken a 15-yr hiatus from sewing. ;) I love your top -- multi-colored stripes + raglan = my fave tee style.

    1. Yeah, so many of the "learn to sew" patterns for kids are pretty atrocious. I love at the pics and I'm like, "If it doesn't look good in the hands of their sample-sewer, it's definitely not going to look good after a beginner gets through with it!"

  2. What fun fabric you used for both! Sounds like a keeper of a pattern.

    1. Thanks, I totally bought this fabric for my kid....and then stole it for myself. Oops!

  3. It came out great, looks so comfy!

  4. Both of these are super cute! I love a good raglan, but I wouldn't have thought of using this to teach kids. Great idea!



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