Raglan Sew Off – How To Make A Sports Jacket

Grand Slam Sports Jacket - Pienkel for Peek-a-Boo

Grand Slam Sports Jacket - Pienkel for Peek-a-Boo

Hi, it’s Nienke from the Contributor Team, with my take on the Grand Slam Tee! This month is all about the Grand Slam raglan pattern, besides the new ladies version, there’s a real Sew Off Challenge going on… The Grand Slam Tee is quite a versatile blank canvas pattern in itself, with options for both shirt and dress, with different sleeve lengths. However, inspired by the sporty raglan lines and by sheer necessity – our eldest is a dedicated gymnast, but often freezing during warming up – I made it into a sports jacket. It’s somewhat along the lines of the Happy Camper Reversible Jacket, but with raglan sleeves, obviously, and with my daughter’s favourite feature: thumb holes!

Starting from the long sleeve tee version of the Grand Slam, cut back bodice and sleeves as prescribed. However, cut the front bodice as two separate mirrored pieces, so not on the fold. Add 3/8″ seam allowance to the mid front line as well. Sew these parts together as usual, along raglan seams and underarm/side seams. To create the standing collar, use the width of the neckband as called for in the pattern, plus twice the seam allowance of 3/8″ that was added to the front bodice parts. The collar piece should be twice the desired heigth of the collar, plus a total of 3/4″ for two seam allowances. I used 7″. With right sides together, pin and stitch the collar onto the neckline, as pictured below.

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Next on, the zipper! I used a 20″ separable zipper. To attach the zipper, pin it to one of the front bodice parts, right sides together. At the bottom start an inch from the bottom, ending at approximately 1/3 of the collar.

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Using a zipper foot, stitch the zipper to the bodice. After zipping it up, pin the zip to the second bodice part, thus ensuring the seams of the collar match. I have a special talent for unmatching seams with zippers…. After carefully pinning and triple checking its position, stitch the second half of the zipper into place.

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Then, fold the top part of the collar back down, with right sides together, so that the raw edge of the collar just passes the collar seam. Stitch along the edge, along the same seam you just made when attaching the zipper. After stitching both sides this way, clip the top corners to avoid bulk.

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Turn the backside of the collar to the back again. The top of your zipper should look like the picture below now.


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Pin the raw edge of the collar in place, so that it just covers the seam where collar meets bodice. Topstitch into place, working from the outside of the jacket, to ensure it all looks neat.

Use the same method to finish the zipper at the bottom, folding up the hemline, from the point where the zipper ends, right sides together. Stitch along the zipper seam and clip the corners. Then, turn the hem back to the wrong side of the fabric again. Pin it into place and stitch it down.

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To create the sleeve cuffs with thumb holes, you first need to decide on the sizing. Measure the bottom of the sleeve pattern piece, 3 3/4″ for my size, then take 80% of that amount. For this one it came to 3″. However, on hindsight, it would have been more convenient when creating the thumb hole, to add some extra seam allowance. This 3″ (plus some extra seam allowance if you like) is the width of your cuff pattern piece, to be cut on the fold, just like the original sleeve pattern piece. The heigth is calculated just like on the collar: twice the desired heigth, plus twice your seam allowance. I used a 6″ heigth.

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Cut two cuffs, on the fold. Then fold them in half, along the fold you used when cutting, right sides together.

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Find the center of the side seam, pictured below.

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Measuring from the center, mark the desired thumb hole. I started half an inch from the center, leaving an opening of one inch after that. However, the hole is a bit narrow. If you’re an organised sewist, use some chalk or other marking tool. My markers are always confiscated by the kids, or they like to run off by themselves, so I just marked with pins.

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Now sew from one corner to your first marking, then skip the designated hole and continue sewing at the next mark. Skip the next hole again and finish towards the corner again. Make sure to secure your stitching by going back and forth a few stitches at the beginning and end of your seams.

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Now fold your cuff in half, wrong sides together, as pictured below. The holes should be right on top of eachother.

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Topstitch along the hole, to make sure your kid doesn’t get caught in between the layers. Here the extra seam allowance would be useful, my small seam allowance kept peeking out of my “button hole”.

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Attach the cuff onto the sleeves, matching up the seams.

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And you’re done!

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