BPD: The Raglin Line

I moved this thought-process onto its own post because I have a lot of thoughts and I tend to write too much. But at the same time, I really need to think through the effect of the raglin line on my body and garment.

The Raglin line is a shortening illusion.  Look up vertical illusions or lines that look longer.  It’s a well-known fact that we will designate one line longer than the other if  diagonal lines extend away from the end of the line instead of extending back towards the center of the line. i.e. a button front topped by a v-neckline looks taller and slimmer than the same button front that converges with a raglin sleeve and jewel neckline.

As drafted, the BPD has a high round neckline.

My best line is the button front with V neckline. The button front with high round neckline is not as good, but still not bad until a raglin sleeve is added.  Even then if the raglin sleeve is very upright, like Loes Hines BoatNeck top,

it can be flattering even on me. I’m not going to redraft this pattern.  I very much admire those who draft patterns. I’ve made some effort with drafting patterns and have a good idea how it is done.  I think changing the raglin from  very angled to upright is a massive undertaking. I’m not sure I can do it.  In fact, before trying to redraft this pattern, I’d take the Loes Hinse pattern above which I also own, add a center front placket and close the boat neck a little.

But there are things I can do that will negate the raglin and high round neckline combination. During wear, I could leave the top of the placket open in a lapel type fashion. That would create a V atop the placket front. A very good line for me. I could change the round neckline to a V, U or Deep Oval. This would involve changing the facing as well. But that’s not as hard as adding and subtracting from the sleeves, fronts and back to create an upright raglin.

There are also ways to keep the raglin from being so obvious. On my first attempt, I used a light peach-colored linen-look cotton.  Both the raglin, neckline and off proportions were very evident. I could simply don one of my vests. When a vest covers the raglin line, it simply disappears. It’s completely unknown. Invisible. Also poor proportions can be “corrected” if they are simply covered up by a vest. AND there’s a bonus:  leave the vest open and suddenly you have the tiniest waist on record.  A mere 3″ (maybe 4). I could also hide the raglin by covering it with something. Like machine embroidery or an applique or even a stenciled design. If I put the facing on the outside, the raglin would be contradicted by the curve of the facing and made to appear shorter.  If the facing were big enough, the very angled raglin, would take on the appearance of an upright raglin.

There’s also the curious, almost abra-cadabra magical effect of a busy print.  More than one person has told the tale of choosing a complicated garment pattern with many pieces only to find all their hard work disappears into a busy print.  Or making a mistake which also just disappeared because their fabric was a busy print.


*** Thanks to one of the commentators for reminding me of another “fix”: Shoulder pads.  There are people who shudder at the very thought of shoulder pads.  My shoulders are narrow and therefore also appear sloping.  I say “appear” because once I perform the narrow shoulder adjustment, I don’t need to further slope the shoulder.  IOW I make the shoulder narrower not more slanted and the top will fit.   There was a time I put shoulder pads in everything including sweaters.  Alas, shoulder pads are so out of fashion that I become a target of abuse. Not kidding. I’ve had people squeeze or poke a 1/4″ shoulder pad and scream “why are you wearing that hideous thing?”  (To which I can only respond, thank you for making me feel beautiful.)  Alas, shoulder pads cannot be worn in tank tops.  I also think shoulder pads should be near invisible which is hard to accomplish in sleeveless styles.  BUT when I’m brave it is an option which counteracts the raglin line. Indeed a square shoulder, even one created with padding, suddenly looks so much lovelier when pairs with the raglin sleeve. Here me out, a shoulder sleeve is an option not a requirement.

So that’s *my solutions.

  • Redraft the pattern
  • Cover up the shoulder
    •  wear a Vest
  • Fill out the shoulder
    • wear a shoulder pad
  • Change Neckline
    • to a V, U or Deep Oval
    •  fold into a lapel
    • draft new neckline on fronts and facing
  • Cover the raglin line
    • machine embroidery
    • applique
    • paint
  • Use a busy print.

First off, we’re headed into the dog-days-of-summer. This is the time of year I don’t wear vests.  I keep with me a blouse to wear as a third layer should I find myself in very overly air conditioned rooms i.e. hospital and freezer section of grocery store. So vest is out. Since I’m not sure of the fit, I’d like to chose a non-stretch fabric to construct this maybe-wearable muslin.  But I don’t have a lot of confidence. I’ve already failed hideously once. Do I really have the solution? Or am I fooling myself into holding onto an expensive pattern? I want to use something from my Under 2’s which are mostly remnants from previous projects and are FREE (in my mind.) I try a remnant that’s almost a yard long and discover, I will need more yardage because I added the 6″ in length to front and back. That facing is going to be a problem too.  While I love the one piece, it takes a lot of fabric especially since I’ve added 6″ to it’s length as well. To my surprise most of the remnants that are between 1 and 1-7/8 yards are knits. Then I remember. Yes I placed the knits orders for 1.5 yards lengths because that’s all I need when the fabric is knit and 58″ wide.  I don’t want to use knits.  I have real ease issues which I haven’t solved. My acceptable wovens i.e. right length, no stretch are all dark. Dark disguises too much. I need to be able to evaluate the pattern for fit. Can’t do that when I can’t see the drag lines.

Sigh, I ended up selecting a busy flower print.  It’s been in my stash for a long time because the basic color of peach is good for me but all the print colors are poor. For me, they are poor. They drain color from my face or reflect a greenish or purple-bruised light.   The fabric would be fine as a muslin except that it is a crinkle rayon.  Crinkle fabrics have stretch and therefore aren’t good when I’m asking, “Do I have too much ease?” or “Is the bust dart in the right place?”  Yes I can correct these problems with the garment in hand, but I’m reluctant to change the tissue because the next fabric be it woven or knit won’t drape the same. Ah yes drape is a factor. I’m glad this fabric does drape nicely.  No matter the style, when the garment sticks out 6″ beyond any plane of my body, it adds pounds and ends up in the Good Will bag instead of my closet.  I’m using this fabric because

  • I don’t mind if it becomes a wadder
  • It will tell me if the proportion of garment-length to my body-length is correct.
  • It will tell me if I can camo the raglin sufficiently
  • It will tell me if I need to change the neckline to a V,U or Deep Oval.
  • It will be enough to tell me whether to keep this pattern or put it in the dust bin.

Let’s cut fabric.


* If I think of more solutions in the future, I’ll edit this post to create an all-inclusive list.


5 thoughts on “BPD: The Raglin Line

  1. I really look forward to seeing where you go with this, and if you are successful in adapting this pattern. In the past, I’ve been very tempted by this one, particularly because of the raglan sleeves, as in my 40+ years of sewing I’ve yet to be successful at adapting a set in sleeve to fit me. I do agree with you about how the raglan “line” is not the most becoming. Hmmmm maybe I need to make my next major sewing challenge, (once I solve the make-your-own-bra challenge) to finally figure out a TNT button front blouse… But I digress… Truly, Bev, I really appreciate your detailed posts about your thoughts and trials and progress in your garment sewing


  2. Oh my, Bev… you’re not a freak. You have sloping shoulders. Raglan sleeves seem to look best on squarish shoulders. This theory was tested by DD and me over the years. 🙂 If you look at Louise she’s a broad- shouldered inverted triangle. I know I’m a pudgy rectangle, and I’m short. I love her patterns but I’m learning (slowly) how to adjust them to me. The fact that Louise lists the finished measurements on her patterns nominates her for pattern sainthood in my book.
    Thanks for your posts, Bev. I too really appreciate them.


  3. I’ve tried many variations of raglan sleeve shape, and there’s not one that will work for me–sloping shoulders, full bust, sway-back. It’s been a sore point for me for years, because top-down raglan sweaters are so much fun to knit. (Sigh. I’ve given away a bunch of beautiful sweaters that scream “Look at my…chest!”) This was true when I was young and thin, and time, biscuits, and gravy have only added to the trouble.

    Those Cutting Line designs look wonderful–clean lines, simple shapes, great details. Also, mouth-watering illustrations and examples. I’ll never buy one because the shapes are all wrong for me–flowing pants, billowing jackets, boxy tops. They might fit, but they’ll still make me look huge and shapeless. Sigh. The jackets, especially, speak to me.


    1. One of the “fixes” I forgot is shoulder pads. They are definitely out of fashion. I’ve known several people who hate shoulder pads. Myself, I’d prefer a 1/4″ pad in most of my clothes just because it would give me shoulders; but pads in sleeveless and tank tops are just not an option.


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