Afro tee’s: The easiest raglan t-shirt DIY. Part 1 – Drafting the pattern

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#1 African wax print with knit jersey sleeves

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#2 Knit jersey with African wax print sleeves.

It’s been a while but if its alright, I’ll skip the usual bit where I talk about some of the things that have held me off completing projects or simply blogging. I want to just share one of my favourite pictures of me and my little brother, who recently passed away. This is us about 6 years ago on a trip to the source of the River Nile, back in Uganda. This is the smile I want to always remember. I love you Enoch and you are dearly missed.

Enoch

R.I.P Enoch 1991-2016

I’ve been planning this post since June, so I’m just going to pick up from where I left off. In my last post, I made my Kakazi a raglan style hoodie, which turned out to be so easy, I could easily imagine making a grown up version, and I had these cool African fabrics I had been dying to play with.

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Raglan style hoodie for my Kakazi that inspired the Afro tee’s

So I went about experimenting with a self drafted pattern, based on a t-shirt my friend Nastya had on when she came over to my house for help with a sewing project. I literally had her sitting shirtless for a few minutes while I traced the pattern. I was so psyched with how the t-shirts turned out, and what’s even better is that I wear them all the time now. I took these pictures back in June, planning to blog as soon as I back got home from this road trip to Denmark I went on with one of my besties, but I never got round to posting.

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Aalborg, Denmark

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Back view

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Bonus one from the Lukas Graham concert in Aalborg.

As you can see, I’m clearly feeling myself in this shirt 😛 I made another version with sleeves.

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Christianfeld, Denmark

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Rock and roll!!

I posted these pictures on the Copenhagen sewing Facebook group, and promised I would share a tutorial but life got in the way. So without further ado, here is how I went about making these bad boys. I realised once you figure out your basic pattern, you can vary it up as much as you like, experiment with different fabrics, sleeve lengths etc etc.

First off, you need a t-shirt that fits you well from which to trace your pattern. One thing to keep in mind is what kind of fabrics you are going to use for this t-shirt, most people use your standard stretch knit fabric that typically t-shirts are made in, but if you are a rebel like me and want to throw in some “non standard” choice of fabric like cotton, you want to pick a looser fitting t-shirt as cotton does not stretch the way knit fabrics do.

Fold your t-shirt in half matching sleeves and side seams as best as you can. Use a fold line on your tracing paper, or if you are tracing on regular paper, use one of the straight edges as your guide for your centrefold line. To create the basic t-shirt outline, trace around the whole shirt, following the back neckline of your t-shirt and mark where the lower neckline would be as shown below.

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Trace around a t-shirt that already fits well to start creating your pattern.

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Basic traced out t-shirt outline

I have drawn another dotted curve going from where I marked my front neck line. This will create the front pattern piece.

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Mark your shoulder seam and centre fold line and you have your basic t -shirt.

Next, cut out the pattern pieces, starting with the shoulder seam to create your sleeve piece. The original outline with the higher neckline will create the back piece.The only difference between the back piece and the front piece is the neck line, the front being the lower neckline.  To create your front pattern piece, trace following the lower dotted neck line. Do not forget to add your seam allowances to the side seams and shoulder seams of all pattern pieces, and of course sleeve hem and t-shirt hem. Your pieces should look like something like this.

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Front, back and sleeves

I’ve added a very generous seam allowance on the sleeves as I intend to vary the sleeve lengths as shown in the examples I already made. I hope you find this helpful and are inspired to make your own version of these cute shirts.

Part 2: T-shirt Assembly, collar options, sleeve and cuff options and some pretty nifty tricks on how to create a simple cuff or hemming the non traditional way.

God bless and much love,

Big Mama

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