Week Three: Wranglin' Raglans

Please excuse the delay in posting for this week...both Rhonda and I ended up otherwise distracted on Tuesday, but back on track today....

Week Three of our Month long T-Fest is all about the raglan sleeve T.  This week Rhonda and I are both starting with the Chelsea T pattern from Fabric Store.com.  It is a free pattern that you can download and tape together, easy to do and not many pages to deal with.  Rhonda did a post about using the pattern HERE.  She also used it for her tea towel T in week one HERE.

For most people, raglan sleeves are flattering and easy to fit and sew.  But, for a broad shouldered person like moi, not so much.  There never seems to be enough fabric to fall nicely over the cap of my shoulder.   I was a bit worried when Rhonda suggested the pattern because I have kind of given up trying to get a raglan sleeve to fit me, usually opting for a set in or other type of sleeve.  But I took the challenge....

I made a 'trial balloon' of the pattern, once I got it taped together, and sure enough, I got plenty of wrinkling and pulling between my shoulders.  The front and back of the T fit OK and the length of the raglan seam was good, it was just the amount of fabric over the shoulder that was off.  To create the needed room, I did a 'fisheye' adjustment at the shoulder point, which added room without changing the length of any seams.

A second 'trial balloon' confirmed my suspicions, I did need the extra bit of fabric and once it was added, the fit was very nice.  Thank you Rhonda for nudging me into raglan sleeves!  (She is the Queen of Sleeves after all! 👸)

With my adjusted pattern in hand, I started looking around for fabric.  I liked the idea of a good old striped T-shirt.  I thought making the front and back in stripes with contrasting sleeves would be a sporty, fun look.  I found a black and white striped scarf in my drawer and liked it with a beautiful sheer gray silk crepe over it.  The scarf was  not big enough to cover the need, so I went shopping, hoping to find a black and white stripe, preferably silk, to match the drape of the sheer overlay.

I came home with several pieces, one small stripe, one dot and no silk!  I laid the gray over them, along with the striped scarf and still wanted those stripes...and silk!!!

Not giving up, I decided I would make my own stripes!  ...And here's where I got totally carried away!  It sounded like a simple idea...just make some stripes...out of silk crepe de chine...yeah?!

#!@&!!**### (no need to elaborate on that part of the process! 😬)

I did manage to get my stripes and loved them.  The black has a lovely jacquard pattern and I used the matte side of the white.  

Once I got the pieces together, I realized that the simple turned neckline finish recommended in the pattern would not work with the sheer sleeves.  Instead I cut a facing from the black silk.  I turned the outside edges, applied some fusible seam tape and laid it under the neckline on my dress form.  I steamed it to activate the fusible tape and hold it in place and then sewed the right side facing in place.  Worked like a charm!

So my 'sporty' striped T got a wee bit over the top and decidedly schmancy!  But I really like it!  It feels very elegant and refined and I have no idea where or when I will ever wear it!


Since I ended up with such a fancy T-shirt, I thought a fancy recipe would be in order....

The last time my son and his girlfriend visited she and I took a baking class together.  I'm not much of a baker, but she is very accomplished, so I was following her lead.  We made french macarons, which I love but never imagined ever making myself.  I got out the recipe and dove in!  

First the meringue:  stiff peaks

Then add the dry ingredients and fold to make batter that flows off the spoon like "slow lava"
(the dark flecks come from very finely ground Earl Grey tea. Yum!)

Use a piping bag to make a whole slew of little cookies...the paper templates under the parchment paper make the spacing easy. (hint: take the templates out before baking...and don't ask me how I know this *#!!)

Bake, cool...fill with yummy butter cream and enjoy!

This recipe is very similar to the one we used in the class, with the following changes:
Skip the coloring and the flavoring and add 2 teaspoons of very finely ground Earl Grey tea.  I don't care for Earl Grey when it's made into tea, but when you put it in a cookie...yummy!

Even if you never make French Macarons you will want to make this butter cream!  It is totally divine.

2 sticks unsalted, room temperature butter (oh yeah!)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt

Whip it all together until smooth and creamy. 

A silk raglan sleeve T and Earl Grey Tea Macarons...totally schmancy!


  1. Lovely T-shirt! And I might just try that wonderful sounding recipe! thank you!

    1. If you do...remember to take the paper circles out from under the parchment paper...oops...the next ones are going to be much better!

  2. Yes, I think your glamorous T-shirt and Earl Grey Macarons go together beautifully. Perhaps your T-shirt should be called a Tea-shirt. I think one must make occasions on which to wear gorgeous clothes. Perhaps hosting a tea-party would be the right time to inaugurate this lovely garment. I hope you'll model it for us sometime. It's so much fun that you and Rhonda are doing this. And thanks for the recipes. Yum indeed. Amazing work making your own striped fabric. An extra gold star for that.

    1. Update...my sister in law visited from Milan just after I finished the shirt. She has a much more glamorous calendar that I do and she loved the shirt, so it now lives in Milan with her. It was so nice to have something for her that I know she likes...and will wear!

  3. This T is over the top - well done - I love it and would wear it with just about anything and everything. I may need to copy your design since I do have some silk stripe yardage in my stash. I just may give those macaroons a go too. Great post - thanks for sharing.

    1. I would be flattered! I do like the way the sheer silk mutes the very contrasty stripes. Have fun.

  4. Love the top ,love the macarons!

    1. Thanks. My macaron skills are still developing. I can't practice too often, unlike sewing, baking has the side effect of being fattening!!!!!!