Ruffled raglan waffle-knit tee with tailored trackpants Sewing pattern hack + review
I love waffles. Their puffy, soft nooks for butter and maple syrup to pool are so yummy. I hate making waffles. They are a complete pain in the rear to cook, and clean up after.
So, too, did I love this waffle weave knit fabric I purchased from Seams Fabric in downtown East Lansing. It’s so soft, a buttery, creamy color and it even has a bit of heft to it. But waffle weave knit itself is infuriatingly stretchy with zero recovery, making the choice in both pattern AND technique especially important.
I originally cut this into another pattern, but the pattern required a slightly more substantial (and certainly less soft-stretchy) fabric than this, so I used the same pieces and some of the fabric I had left over and cut a Christine Jonson Patterns Raglan Tee. The reason I chose this pattern is it’s ease of construction and excellent fit.
The pattern itself is designed for very stretchy knits with soft recovery (similar to this) so it has some interesting details that make it suitable for that.
The neckline is cut tight so when you sew with a soft stretchy fabric, it stretches while sewing (as it always does) but the pattern has accommodated for that. That, in my opinion, is brilliant design. I still modified the neckline to be about 3/8″ wider (trimming off 3/8″) and I used matching cream rib knit. With waffle weave, using a rib with some snap to it (not a lot, but a bit) was the key to getting a good neckline. I sewed this with a straight stitch, and because I used the 78% (roughly) measurement of neckband to neckline ratio, I stretched the ribbing while sewing, so I don’t really have to worry about stitches popping.
The ruffles are another Christine Jonson Pattern, the Ruffle Top. The ruffles are actually flounces, meaning they are cut on a circular inner shape, and when you flatten them out, the curve on the outside creates the ruffled effect. This makes it easy to sew onto the raglan tee – just straighten the inner flounce and sandwich the layers together as you sew the raglan.
I opted to edge serge the ruffles as the knit was a bit soft. Normally you just cut these with a rotary cutter on rayon/lycra knit, and that’s it! No hemming of the edges needed.
The other nice design feature of this tee is the shapely but slightly flared wrist opening on this tee pattern. This makes finishing the sleeve hem of your tee MUCH easier than most other finishing (other than a rib knit cuff). I edge-serged both the sleeve and the bottom hem, then turned and used Steam a Seam to hold and fix the hems in place for topstitching.
IMHO this Steam a Seam is a godsend for sewing knits. It permanently stabilizes the hem once ironed, is slightly sticky, and offers a stable base upon which to topstitch. Because the sleeve opening is flared, I did not have to worry about this edge being stretchy, unlike a typical tee shirt sleeve.
I also cut this tee about 2 sizes up – it’s a fairly fitted tee shirt in your typical size, so going up gave me a bit of slouch that I was looking for. Still shaped, but slouchy.
ETA: the knit was not pre-washed (boo!), I usually do this right away but didn’t, you know what happens next… It does, however, look fabulous on my 13-year old!
I’m wearing this with the HotPatterns Tailored Trackpant in rayon doubleknit and this combination is pajama-comfortable but casual and stylish.