Bella Sunshine Designs re-released their ever popular Reagan Raglan pattern last week, this time with a new rounded neckline and expanded sizing. You can now make either a v-neck or crew neck Reagan in any size from 6M to a women’s size 30! I was lucky to help test the new neckline before the release and I’m excited to share some things I learned in the process.
The Reagan Raglan pattern offers great versatility. It comes with three different bodice lengths (tee shirt, tunic and knee-length dress), two different sleeve lengths (short and long) and now, two different neckline shapes (v-neck and rounded). The kids version is unisex and looks great on both boys and girls.
The pattern calls for knit fabrics with 25-75% stretch and good recovery. For the sailboat version, I used two colors of cotton interlock and for the dog sketch version I used a combination of cotton interlock (print) and cotton lycra (black). All of these fabrics are easy to work with and are great choices for the Reagan.
I like making raglan tees because they are a natural canvas for color blocking and print mixing. On my versions, I mixed fun prints on the bodice with solid colors on the sleeves and bands. The solid colors compliment the prints and keep the shirt visually focused. I also like that I can conserve my fancy fabrics without sacrificing excitement or style.
Sizing & Grading
My daughter is slender and taller than average for her age. When I sew for her, I usually end up blending sizes. Bella Sunshine Designs has a great video that walks you through all of the steps to blend sizes for the Reagan Raglan (link here). Even if you’ve never blended sizes before, this video is simple enough to help you through the process. Blending a raglan sleeve is a little different, so although I have blended patterns before (many times!), the video was helpful and gave me confidence that I would get the right results the first time.
The two Reagan Raglan’s I have made so far are completely different sizes. For my first test (sailboat fabric), I made a size 12m for the hip, waist and sleeve blended with size 2T length. This size fits my daughter great now, but because she’s growing fast, I wanted to make my next version one size larger. For my second shirt (dog sketch fabric) I made size 18m for the hip, waist and sleeve blended with size 3T length. It’s a little roomier, but it still looks good and I am confident that it will fit her throughout the fall and winter.
The Reagan Raglan is a beginner friendly pattern. If you want to try your hand at knits, I’d say that this is a great place to start. The round neckline is easier to assemble than the v-neck, so the updated version is even more accessible for beginners.
One area that is a little tricky, however, is finishing the sleeves. Sleeve openings for children’s patterns are very small. If you use a serger or a coverstitch to hem sleeves, the long presser foot on those machines can stretch and distort the fabric. When I sewed my first Reagan, I found it almost impossible to attach the bands without creating an unsightly bell sleeve.
If you are running into this problem, consider attaching the sleeve bands while the sleeve is still flat, as is common in store-bought garments. This method works both for attaching a hem band (like on the Reagan) and for using a double needle or coverstitch hem. Here’s how:
How to Hem Children’s Sleeves: Flat Method
1. Press sleeve band in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
2. BEFORE you sew the underarm seam, attach the folded sleeve band to the end of the sleeve. Press the seam allowance up, toward the sleeve.
3. Sew the underarm seam, from the end of the sleeve band to the end of the bodice. Press the seam allowance toward the back.
4. Secure the thread tails at the sleeve opening, using your favorite method. My favorite method is described in this post.
5. Using a straight stitch, secure the seam allowance of the sleeve band to the sleeve. About ½” of stitching is enough.
You’re done. See, no stretching!
Get the Reagan Raglan for FREE
If I’ve convinced you that you need this pattern, I have some good news: you can get it for free! Members of the Bella Sunshine Designs Facebook Group (link here) have access to coupon codes to get the Reagan Raglan pattern for ladies (link here) and kids (link here) for free. Request to join the group and you can save $10 and get a great pair of patterns! Yesss.
If you see any other patterns you like while you’re there, now is a great time to buy. Bella Sunshine Designs is having a 40% off sale (no code needed) until October 1st.
Reagan Raglan Sew Along
Another benefit from joining the Facebook page is participating in the Reagan Raglan sew along that’s happening in the Bella Sunshine Designs Blog right now. Today the sew along is on day 6 of 8, but the Reagan is a fast sew. You’ll have to hurry, but you can definitely catch up if you want to.