Raglan with Structure
The unusual treatment of the raglan sleeve shoulder in a vintage Leslie Fay double-knit wool dress makes the garment a tasteful standout. A clever pleat accents the shoulder and marries the structured shape of a set-in sleeve with a raglan style. The pleat has no visible seamline and is maintained by a fabric stay within the dress. It is further supported with a small shoulder pad.
A standard raglan sleeve is easy to sew and generally easy to fit. You can adapt a raglan-sleeve pattern to get the effect that is shown. Begin with a one-piece raglan pattern that includes a shoulder dart. The dart’s tip will be concealed inside the pleat, so the dart mimics a shoulder seam.
Try the process on a test sleeve to determine the desired pleat depth and any other adjustments needed. I recommend using a ponte knit to mimic the soft stability of the original double-knit wool. You may need to lengthen the sleeve to account for the fabric taken up in the pleat, so cut the test sleeve a little longer.
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