Marvellous merino

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A teal long sleeve top with darted raglan sleeves sewn in delicious looped back merino french terry….

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Do I have your attention yet?

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Despite the cover art… since when did a sketch of bottle green top with yellow trims sell patterns?  Sorry, I digress… McCall’s M6992 is a great basic pattern.  It has a darted raglan sleeve, which gives a lovely sleeve shape, and two hem options.  I sewed View D without the colour blocking.

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I did alter this pattern quite a bit… mostly to fit my unique body, but also to adjust for some inaccuracies in the drafting.

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If you are planning on making this pattern, take a good look at the front neckline.  As drafted, it’s quite flat and sits very high… at windpipe level.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be choked when wearing my clothes!  I therefore dropped the neckline by 1 3/4″ (4cm) and I’m really happy with the result.

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I sewed a toile of this pattern (yes, I toile knit projects too!) and I found that the sleeve cuffs were difficult to apply without puckering.  To alleviate this problem, I added 3/8″ (1cm) to the width of the cuff pattern piece.  That extra little bit of fabric made attaching the cuff a delight rather than a huge frustration.

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This year I seem to have acknowledged/embraced/come to terms with the fact that I need to adjust for the following things:

  • My forward shoulders (see below for the low down….)
  • My shorter than average arms (I removed 2″ (5cm) from the sleeve length)
  • My bust… which is a good size larger than any draft that fits my shoulders (nothing that a FBA or a spot of ‘grading out’ won’t fix)

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A forward shoulder adjustment on a raglan pattern had me scratching my head.  I consulted my fit books and did some online research and I couldn’t find anything convincing on how to adjust for forward shoulders on raglan sleeves unless the pattern had a two piece sleeve, which mine didn’t.

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I contacted my friend and walking pattern drafting encyclopedia, and she suggested that I leave the sleeve pattern piece alone and alter the raglan sleeve on the both the front and back pattern pieces.  I added 3/8″ (1cm) to the raglan sleeve on the back pattern piece and then removed 3/8″ (1cm) from the front raglan sleeve.  The photo above depicts this change to the back pattern piece… the crossed out line shows the ‘as drafted’ raglan sleeve and the cut line includes the added 3/8″ (1cm).  Please ignore the crossed out line at the neck… just keeping it real my friends.

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And guess what?  It worked!  Look how perfectly that shoulder dart sits on my actual shoulder.  To tell you the truth, it feels like a small miracle.

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I was going to finish this post with giving you a little ‘how to’ on hemming knits that are prone to stretch out, but this post is long enough, so I wrote another post on this subject.

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Pattern:  McCall’s 6992 (View D)
Size:  12 graded to a 14 at the bust
Fabric:  Merino french terry from The Cloth Shop
Alterations:  3/8″ (1cm) forward shoulder adjustment, removed 2″ (5cm) from the sleeve length, graded out a size in the bust on both the front and back pattern pieces, lowered the front neckline by 1 3/4″ (4cm) and added 3/8″ (1cm) to the width of the sleeve cuff.
Accessories:  Scarf from Scarlet Jones
Photo Location:  Ballarat

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16 comments

  • It sure was worth doing a toile! The top looks great on you. I bet it is warm and soft. And the colour is magnificent indeed!

    • The toile was actually a life saver Jenya as when tracing the pattern I mistook the sleeve dart sewing line for the cutting line… you can imagine how it ended… very badly!

  • Wow, that dart placement is perfection, what an achievement! I’m coming to terms with my fit adjustments slowly & the latest has been forward shoulder adjustments … now I’ll have a clue how to fit my raglans, which I’ve ignored but none so far have had this dart – thankyou oh genius one!

    • Thanks Shell. For me it feels like a fitting journey. The more I sew and braver I become with tackling, or should I say tweaking, problem areas. The forward shoulder adjustment has been a big revelation and I’m pleased that I can share an raglan sleeve success story with you.

  • Your top is lovely ! I’ve always wondered how to grade out at the bust – in your case size 12 to 14 without the bother of an FBA? Do you start at the size 12 cutting line at the underarm and gradually trace to the 14 cutting line and then go back to the 12?

    • The grading out at the bust is the cheats FBA and it works quite well on knits as stretch is quite forgiving. In my instance, I traced the size 12 armholes on the front and back pattern pieces and when I got to the side seam I extended the armhole line to the size 14 side seam. I then used my french curve to drawn a smooth line from the size 14 seam line to the waist area in the size 12 side seam. If your a visual learner like me, the diagrams in the bottom on the following blog post illustrate how to grade between sizes (different areas, but similar concept). http://www.cashmerette.com/2016/08/how-to-grade-between-sizes.html I hope that makes sense.

  • Aaaargh, I have this knit in a magenta colour and so wishing I had bought your beautiful petrol blue. I try to make a mix of very high necklines to keep me cosy for a Sydney. Winter (!) and lower ones that are more flattering to the generous chesticles, not one or the other but both works for me! Yes, pattern art can be such a make or break, one wonders why they don’t pay more attention. Thanks for the forward shoulder raglan info – very helpful.

  • This pattern is a favourite of mine as well. It is very under rated!

  • Great fit, and that’s a very clever little pattern adjustment that no doubt I will need one day! Nice one lady!

  • Looks fantastic Anna. A good raglan sleeve tee is one pattern I’m missing in my collection, so thanks for the review. And I am 100% with you on the wonders of merino fleece.

    • This pattern is quite under-rated and definitely worth adding to your pattern stash next time their a pattern sale at your local.

  • Love the colour and fit! Looking forward to your ” how to” hemming tips, as I must admit I often just leave my tee tops unhemmed!!!