HEMA Raglan Sweater

I am Dutch, so my love for HEMA is pretty much embedded in my cultural genes. I don’t know what it is, somehow they manage to be super basic and solid but also have a cool edge. I haven’t bought RTW in a long time, but when we were back in Groningen in August I saw this quilted jersey raglan sweater and I couldn’t resist. The quilted jersey wasn’t as widely available as a fabric as it is now so I figured it wouldn’t be easy to make myself. Plus I liked the boxiness combined with the narrow sleeves.

Handmade Jewellery

I managed to burn a hole in it at a campfire two days later. A punishment of the sewing gods perhaps? It wasn’t in an obvious place so I continued to wear it. Until I spilled some food on it and couldn’t get the stains out. I was not too bummed about it because I already wanted to copy the pattern, and now I could just take it apart for super easy tracing. For my first version I used a sparkly French terry from The Sweet Mercerie. I lengthened the sleeves a bit but didn’t change anything else. I don’t have photo’s with the sleeves down but they are still a bit too short. I have monkey arms!

HEMA copied raglan sweater

What I also really like about this design is the little dart at the shoulder. This is perfect for my square shoulders. Design wise, this dart also makes it possible to have narrow sleeves and not too much bulk at the armhole. And I love that the hem is slightly high low. And it’s very fast to sew up, I made it in an evening on my serger. I finished the hem with a twin needle, I finally got that working by messing with the bobbin tension. It does have a tendency to curl up, maybe I should lower the top thread tension some more? At first I used a twin needle for the neckline too, but it stretched out. So I unpicked and attached a neckband.

HEMA copied raglan sweater
HEMA sweater neckline

A little tip for attaching neckbands: try to stretch as you sew. I know that the regular method is to measure the neckline, subtract 10-15% and then pin evenly. I’ve never had a good result with that though. How much to subtract depends on how much stretch your fabric has and it’s hard to guess. Plus I find that you actually shouldn’t pin evenly when you neckline isn’t curved evenly. You should stretch more in curved parts like the center front and at the shoulders, and less at the back neck. Stretching as you sew requires a bit of practice to get a feel for how much to stretch, but now I never have to unpick my neckbands anymore.

So you cut off a strip that has the same length as your neckline. Pin the band at the center back, leaving a tail of 3/8″ (1.5 cm). Start sewing at 1″ (2.5 cm) from the center back, towards the shoulder. Don’t pin the band to the neckline at all, just stretch and position while you sew. When you are at the back neckline again, leave a 2″ (5 cm) gap. Sew the short ends of the band together first, then attach the last bit to the neckline.

HEMA copied raglan sweater

I have a pile of fabric lined up to make a dozen more versions: quilted jersey, sweatshirt from my jasper sweater, even some Nani Iro to copy Ute’s Linden. Now I just need to decide on which combinations to make.

What is your favourite fast project?

8 Comments

  1. Gillian

    : Reply to Gillian

    Very cute! I sewed up a raglan yesterday in sweater knit, but I think it’ll be a fail because the knit manages to be thick and clingy at the same time! The darts in your sleevs are probably exactly what I needed on my recent quilted knit raglan that gapes at the neckline… I’ll try that next time! :)

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      That could be a solution! Especially if the gaping happens at the shoulder area.

  2. InmgeMaakt

    : Reply to InmgeMaakt

    Yay hema! Love the shirt, and the comcination with your skirt. I was always a bit jealous of people sewing entire garments on their serger because mine was always acting up. Now that I have a new one I love using it for sewing instead of just finishing seams. Bring on the quick projects!

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      I’ve been without my serger for a year and learned to do without, but it is great for projects like this. Even though it’s one of those bought from the Aldi, I’ve never had much problems. Truth be told, I use it mostly for sewing, not for finishing seams :)

  3. embee

    : Reply to embee

    Thanks for the neckband tip. I’m doing a couple of neckbands to finish up shirts this weekend so hopefully they’ll go a little smoother than usual! PS I love the subtly sparkly top and the high low hem :)

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      I hope this helps! It does require a little practice because it relies on your gut feeling when stretching, but even gut feeling can be strengthened through practice :)

  4. Ute

    : Reply to Ute

    My favorite has been the Linden in the last weeks ;-) I love your sweater, it is a nice variation to the classic raglan shirt. And yes, do the nani iro version! I can´t wait to see! Good tip about the neckline; so far I have always had pattern pieces that worked well, but for my next top I will have to make my own neckband and want to try this.

    • Lisa Kievits

      :

      It seems to be everyones favourite suddenly! Sometimes a new pattern turnes out to be the thing everybody was waiting for. I am eager to do the nani iro one, but I haven’t decided on the sleeve fabric… It has to be nani iro worthy!

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