I’m not sure what the collective noun is for raglans but I seem to be on somewhat of mission: to turn every suitable piece of fabric I see into a raglan top. Then when I can’t see any more suitable fabric… I’ll go and buy some!

Early in January I made this top

… and I’ve hardly taken it off. The other night I found myself with an hour or so spare and decided to upcycle a filthy old throw-fleece from primark into another raglan. It’s curry stained, looks like cows have been chewing it, (even after several washes) smells faintly of dog (& we don’t even have one!), and to be honest, I’ve never liked it. MrA bought it home once from a primark spree, allegedly unable to leave it there for a fiver.

I free styled a kangaroo pocket on the front. The dimensions aren’t really right but that doesn’t matter too much as I’m calling it a ‘T.V.Top’. I’m not even sure I’d answer the front door in it…? I love it but I hate it. You can see my contempt in the fact that I haven’t even bothered to hem the thing. It is SO WARM though, it deserves a place with my pyjamas.

I couldn’t stop there though. There are a couple more primark throws hanging around our sofa that I had my beady eye on (MrA sems to have a thing for buying cheap, fleecy throws – It may be a flashback to our Glastonbury Festival days: there, a fleece throw was invaluable, able to become whatever you needed… picnic blanket, pillow, poncho, party outfit, the opportunities were endless…)

I couldn’t live with myself if I’d plonked unmatching pockets on the front of this one. There wasn’t enough fabric to match them, so I used a technique I’d learnt from making an (ill-fitting) hoodie patten and turned a length of seam allowance over on the front sides and stitched quarter circle pockets to the inside. I took a couple of photos as I went, mainly so I would remember what I’d done. They may not make much sense, but here they are…

This one has no curry stains and doesn’t smell like dog at all. There’s another throw exactly like it (perhaps MrA was building an Ark of primark throws, 2 x 2…?) I think I’d like to see if there’s enough fabric for matching ‘Lounge-Pants’.

Anyway. It didn’t stop there. Many sequences aligned to create the perfect opportunity for me to leave Londons Zone 1 and take a Sewing Pilgrimage…

  • I had been seeing many Instagrams of the new @vhaberdashery store in London’s West Hampstead.
  • I hadn’t been to a sewing shop for some time.
  • MrA was visiting family in the Deep South-West (of the UK)
  • I found myself with a Sunday on my own.
  • I had coveted the Merchant & Mills Matt Black 8″ Teflon Shears since Christmas (and seen them on one of the Village Haberdashery IG posts)
  • I needed more fabric for more Raglans.

I was powerless. This was happening.

Now, I very rarely get on the tube. I’m lucky that I can walk most places I need to go. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get out of town. I’m a country boy at heart. But, often I can be heard moaning about the distance we have to travel to, say, a christening, birthday lunch, cinema etc (although I am also often surprised by how easy it really is to get everywhere in London – I think I’m just commute-phobe… my only real fear of doing a tube journey is having to do it again.) Anyway, it would appear that I am cured as it seems that the lure of a shiny new fabric shop is all it takes to get me up and out of zone 1. Even/ especially on a Sunday.

The store was lovely. If you haven’t been, you should. There’s a wide variety of fabric, tools and accessories to choose from. And I even got to do a bit of ‘star-spotting’ as the UK’s current (& possibly last) winner of the Great British Sewing Bee was also there, teaching a class by the looks of it. Talk about Red-Letter-Day, huh? It made such a nice difference to be shopping in person and not online, I’m holding my hands up and admitting that I splurged a little bit.

From left-ish to right-ish you’re looking at:

  • A thick-ish woven jersey raglan.
  • More size 80 needles.
  • Topstitch needles.
  • Basting spray.
  • A new tshirt, or (preferably) polo shirt.
  • Seam gauge.
  • Black denim – Jeans.
  • Green topstitch thread.
  • A bit of Aida… because, you never know…
  • A work shirt that I might possibly regret with people walking to and fro on it… and…
  • THE MERCHANT AND MILLS 8″ MATT BLACK TEFLON COATED SHEARS that I’d had my eye on since Christmas.

Yippee. Needless to say, I went straight home and made myself a new raglan top.

I knew I would love this one. I pulled out all the stops… I basted the neckline (which is unheard of)…

I even fed the overlocker tails back through by hand…

And I’m over the moon with the results. I made sure I added some length to the cuffs and hem for a nice turn over. I diligently changed between single and twin needle without complaint, I paid keen attention to my cutaway-seam-pockets and I overlocked all the edges even though they showed no signs of unraveling at all! The fabric is lovely. I’ve no idea what it’s called, but it seems cottony or a blend, with a waffle type weave… it looks pretty clear in the pic above. I really need to get into the habit of asking what the fabrics I buy are called. I feel like I know nothing about fabric. But I love this top. It’s black, so I’ll wear it to work a lot. In fact, it’s going to replace a top from Zara which I’ve had for almost 20 years. It’s a fantastic top. It owes me nothing. Everyone always compliments it, which surprises me as fundamentally it’s really nothing special. But still waters run deep, and 20 years of wash-&-wear-with-compliments is not to be sniffed at! It’ll be grateful for the rest, no doubt. 

The new one won’t get its chance to really shine until I’m back at work in a couple of days. Photos of black clothes never show up clearly, but…


Happy sewing!

Notes to self:

  • Add 4cm to sleeve of raglan pattern. 
  • Add 5cm to hem. 
  • Don’t feel bad about making the same pattern over and over again, look at the tweaks, perfections & alterations being learnt. 
  • Never underestimate the joy of going to a real shop. 
  • No, you do NOT need any more scissors. EVER!
  • But maybe just one or two more raglans…