DIY Raglan Tee into Funnel Neck Pullover

It started as a “Hmm… I wonder if this would work” hunch, and turned into a great project!

I’ve been having the most fun tweaking patterns lately. I’m not super into the idea of drafting my own blocks, but I just can’t resist the urge to add my own spin to pretty much any pattern. Now that I have a little more time to dedicate to sewing, it’s all about playful experimentation!

I was curious about whether I could turn a regular raglan tee into a funnel-neck top by just widening the neck band. Answer: yes!

Wet hair, don’t care

The pattern I used is an old early-aughts McCall’s, but you could do this with any raglan tee pattern. I’m not going to do a whole tutorial since that’s not my thing, and I’m not sure anyone wants it. That said, here’s a quick rundown of the steps I took to turn a basic raglan pattern into a DIY funnel-neck pattern.

  • Added a number of inches (maybe 7ish?) to the neckband pattern piece, then doubled that so I could fold it over and stitch it to the neckline like a cuff
  • Added two buttonholes in the top front of the funnel-neck and created a casing by just adding a line of stitches about 5/8″ from the top fold
  • Inserted cording through the buttonholes and knotted the ends
  • Added cuffs to both sleeves, breaking stitching along the cuff seam to create thumbholes
  • Added a band of doubled fabric at the bottom and attached like a cuff
  • Added a kangaroo pocket to the front

That’s it! It was pretty easy, since none of the parts needed any real shape or actual “drafting,” It was more about just measuring the existing pieces and, for this particular fabric, matching the stripes where possible. I’m thinking McCall’s 7093 could also be a good candidate for this funnel-neck treatment!

I’m finding this top so wearable, especially as a spring transition item. I just wish I had yoga pants that went along with it, so I could go full soccer-mom.

When you line up your pocket too well and it disappears!

The funny thing for me is the fabric. I bought this heathered windowpane knit fabric, and was a bit let down at some discoloration along the selvedge and throughout the piece. That’s when this fabric was downgraded from, “can’t wait to make something awesome” to “I guess I’ll just experiment with it.” And after I cut out the front, I noticed that portion of the fabric is a shade or so lighter than the rest of it! I was expecting this garment to be recycled almost immediately.

Turns out, the discoloration is a feature, not a bug. My mom actually thought it was a RTW garment because the slight two-tone look isn’t something home sewists can easily replicate. So, with mom-approval, I wholeheartedly embraced this top. While I’m excited to make another (I have some French terry lined up… yum!), it looks like this garment will be sticking around for awhile.

See? I promise the kangaroo pocket is there, just extremely well-matched!

As far as changes to the original pattern, I narrowed the sleeves quite a bit (possibly too much), shortened the sleeves before adding cuffs, and definitely needed the bottom band added because it was pretty short as drafted.

Finally, let’s talk budget. The fabric was a steal at $3 a yard (I picked up 3, so that I could make something more complex if needed), and the navy cording cost $1.25. At a total of $10.25, I have a lounge-y top, some boxer shorts, and about a yard leftover. (A sleep shirt? A regular tee? Playclothes for Baby JuJu?) What looked like a waste of money is already paying for itself. I love it when that happens!

Welcome to the closet, my Surprisingly Successful Funnel(neck) of Love!

Longline Cardi Love: McCall’s 6803

Dudes, longline cardigans are everywhere. Seriously. And I want one.

There’s the Driftless, the Annie, the Kinder, the Blackwood…

And what do I do? Tweak a generic Big 4 pattern to get what I want. Because that’s what I do.

While I love the Blackwoods I keep seeing in my Insta feed, I already had a cardigan pattern on file — McCall’s 6803.

This model will cut you. Don’t try her.

Since I love tweaking patterns, I wanted to try to create the look of the RTW and indie cardigans I’ve been seeing with something I already had on hand. I used a hacci sweater knit from Girl Charlee, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work.

Turns out, it really didn’t require that much sleeve-rolling or work. I just lengthened the front, back, pocket, and band pieces by as much as the fabric would allow, and that pretty much gave me what I wanted. I only had two yards of this fabric, so I was limited in how much length I could add. I measured a RTW longline cardi I bought a few months ago (before I started sewing again) and approximated the length to that.

Spoiler alert: it worked. This is exactly the look I was going for, and I’m glad I was able to use something from my (overflowing? extensive? superfluous?) pattern collection. This sweater is so cozy and I love the larger pockets. So good for holding my phone and burying my hands in!

Much cozy. Very pockets.

I do wonder how long this piece will last. The fabric went through the wash well, and is SO soft! It’s almost… too soft. I know, I know, ridiculous! I’m just concerned it’s going to pill too soon, even though it hasn’t shown any signs yet. If it does, at least I know how to snag myself another longline cardi, since this project was super easy to make. I also wasn’t sure about the chevron print. I know chevrons are super played out, but I was still drawn to this fabric and the richness of the print. In the end, I like it, so I don’t really care what the current status of chevron is in the fashion world. (Seriously, I wear orthopedic shoes. I don’t think the fashion world considers my opinion all that relevant.)

Action Shot!

Besides the length, the only other changes I made to the pattern were to narrow the sleeves quite a bit and also shorten them. This is a unisex pattern, which in my experience, means that the smallest size is still too big for smaller women. Knowing that, I wasn’t surprised that I needed to remove a ton of width from the sleeves, and let’s face it, I’m also a sucker for skinny sleeves. Oh! I also removed the buttonholes and buttons to better mimic the RTW versions I was into. Next time I make this, if I need another version or a replacement (solid color? yes, so necessary!), I’ll try to tweak the band at the back neck, where it totally gapes on me.

Neckband, what are you even doing? Also: camoflage sleeves!

I would also add some length back to the sleeves. I swear I tried it on and marked the appropriate length, but the sleeves in the finished product are a bit too short. Not actually too short but, like, too short to constantly tuck my hands up into, which is what I was going for. Oh well. Appropriate sleeve length it is then.

Finally, budget. The fabric was $12.60 for two yards, with no notions needed. Not bad, and I’m guessing I’ll have my cost per wear down to under $1 (always my goal) before the end of spring.

Welcome to the closet, my Longline Love!

Party Pants Pattern Review: McCall’s 7726

I’ll start with the tl;dr — the pants are super fun to make and wear.

I planned on skipping this pattern, even though it caught my eye on its release. I think pleated-front pants are, in general, a mistake — thus, the palazzo style I went for with my #catpants. (Also excellent party pants for the record.)

Then, I discovered this was That’s Sew Monica’s pick for #sewyourview, and I was in. I’m so glad I gave these a try! Okay, first, the positives:

  1. The silhouette is fun, in a cool, “I-don’t-care-about-fascist-figure-flattery-I-do-what-I-want-who-needs-a-torso-anyway” kind of way.
  2. The pattern is enjoyable to sew up and everything comes together smoothly. Maybe I’m just getting better, but I also think that the instructions were solid and the pattern pieces well-drafted.
  3. The pockets are spot-on perfect! I’m not super obsessed with pockets, but I’m in love with these. They hit at just the right height and the pocket bag is a perfect length. It’s so natural to have my hands in these pockets, and they are ideally sized to hold my phone without creating weird lumps and bumps. Having added some ill-advised pockets to garments through the years, I can appreciate an uber-functional pocket when I find one!
  4. My hands fit so perfectly!

  5. The zip fly deserves a call-out for being easy to install. I botched the last zip fly I tried (in this romper), but this one was a total breeze. Of course, I did also watch Brittany J Jones’s Sew with Me video and found it helpful. That said, this zip inserted beautifully on the first try.

Another plus? The fabric. I love this fabric! I struggled for years (I’m realizing this only retrospectively) to match patterns to the right fabric. I was always trying to retrofit something to work with a fabric I had in the stash that wasn’t really the best fit, or vice versa. Because I’m so damned cheap, I rarely ever bought fabric specifically to go with a pattern. I bought fabric that was on super sale, then stashed it for some unknown use later. Buying fabric for specific patterns has made such a big difference in my end results, and these pants are a case in point.

La-la-love this fabric!

The fabric is a cotton/linen twill by Milly, purchased from Cali Fabrics. (I placed a big order and am really, really happy with the quality!) It’s suitable as a bottom-weight, but has a bit of a soft hand that works well with the pleats. And it’s just super rad! It has a splash of neon yellow, but is still a bit of a wild neutral. Since I opted for the sash instead of the carriers, I used a full two yards to make these. Both pattern and fabric are working overtime here!

Okay, onto construction notes:

  1. I stitched up my usual size 10 and these fit. Barely. Yikes! I’m not surprised, based on the finished garment waist measurements, but it’s a close fit. Just something to keep in mind — these might run a tiny bit small. On the other hand, there are eight pleats with which you can tweak the fit at the waist, so don’t sweat it too much. (That was my plan — let out or take in as needed, and hope that they relax a bit with wearing. Seems to be working.)
  2. I actually cut a 10 at the waist and graded down to a 6 at the hip and through the leg. That part definitely worked for me to keep the look relaxed but not Hammer-pant-esque.
  3. Just a warning: if you suffer from Concave Butt Syndrome (known colloquially as Flatass), these pants will not do you any favors. You may or may not care. I don’t. But these definitely flatter women with curves in back!
  4. CBS victims, unite!

  5. There was one direction for the zip fly that called for inserting the zipper stop at the large circle. I couldn’t find that large circle to save my life. Am I blind? What is going on? Either way, there’s a healthy margin of error since there’s a bar and hook at the top anyway. Don’t spend too much time worrying about this if you have Selective Large Circle Blindness as well.
  6. I eschewed all top-stitching (called for on the pockets and pleats) since my machine needs maintenance before it’ll do a non-gnarly top-stitch, and it won’t show up in this print anyway.
  7. I took the hem up an additional 1-1.5″ than drafted. I wanted them to look intentionally cropped, but just barely. As drafted, you have a bit of room to play with the hem length. (I’m about 5’6″, for what it’s worth.)

Also, the marking on this pattern is key. I hate marking. I was taught to mark with snips and pins, and sometimes it creates a real headache. I decided to whip out my Crayola Washable Marker and just transfer markings that way and it was SO MUCH FUN! It was easy to mark (on the wrong side of the fabric), and equally easy to find my markings later. I also feel like it’s not 100% accurate, but pretty good, since I don’t end up transferring from pin to pin to pin. I’m going to get more creative with my markings in the future in the hopes of enjoying the process and being more accurate. Anyone want to start a betting pool on how long it is before I accidentally ruin a garment with “creative” marking?

Alright, time to wind this up! Love the pants, love the fabric, love the process — total win. I wore these the day after I finished them, and can’t wait to wear them again. Total summer staple!

Welcome to the closet, my Pleated Party Pants!