How I Created The Ilma Raglan {The Flora Modiste Sewing Projects}

How I Created The Ilma Raglan {The Flora Modiste Sewing Projects}

This week, we are going back and updating one of our very first sewing projects: The Ilma Raglan! The sewing tutorial for this sweet little raglan sweater (how to sew a knit seam binding) is also getting a much needed makeover--So make sure to check that out too!

But first.. Let's talk about the Ilma. The Ilma Raglan is a cropped sweater that is perfect for the transitional seasons of Spring and Fall. It provides that little bit of warmth we need with the cooler weather, without being too heavy.

This sweater is perfect with a high waisted skirt, or with a tank underneath tucked in to jeans. You could even wear it with a button-down underneath.

Or just cut off the long sleeves altogether!

In an age when people are really starting to think consciously about their wardrobes, and building them up with versatile clothing.. The Ilma is definitely the personification of versatile.

Also--I love the length of the Ilma. I feel like it's so rare to see a cropped sweater--You see cropped shirts and tanks, but not so much sweaters. Sometimes it feels like just because it's a sweater it automatically has to be big and bulky.

But don't get me wrong--I LOVE my big, bulky sweaters. They probably make up more than half my wardrobe. (Like actually!) But sometimes you just don't want to wear that big bulky thing. Sometimes you want to feel lighter, cuter, but also still warm. In comes the Ilma Raglan.

(Ready to learn how to sew a knit seam binding? Make sure to download our brand new and highly improved step-by-step sewing tutorial that walks you through the process.) The Ilma Raglan: How To Sew A Knit Seam Binding Sewing Tutorial The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: Full Front View

The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: The Ilma Raglan

So you may be asking: "What is a raglan?" Excellent question. The term "raglan" refers to the cut of the sleeve.

You know what a normal sleeve and armhole looks like: The armhole is round, surrounding the shape of the armpit. The sleeve fits in to the round shape, and is then connected to the garment.

In contrast, a raglan sleeve extends to the neckline and is attached to the back and front of the garment with a long diagonal seam. (No traditional round armholes here!) The shoulders of the garment become part of the sleeve, rather than the front and back of the garment.

Raglan sleeves are designed to give additional comfort and ease, allowing the shoulders more room to move around.

Which makes it a perfect sleeve for a sweater.

Take a quick look at your closet--I guarantee a large majority of your sweaters have a raglan style sleeve. Not only are raglan sleeves incredibly easy and straightforward to sew, but the cut of a raglan is just so elegant. It's so much more interesting than a boring ol' regular sleeve.

I love to use unusual seam work when creating my patterns, so the seams of the raglan sleeve are really very appealing. And speaking of unusual seam work.. I added some asymmetrical seams in with this design, to flow with those beautiful raglan sleeves.

I also love sewing asymmetrical seams because it's almost like putting a jigsaw puzzle together (which we all have been doing lately #quarantinelife) and it really makes you think in a different way. Outside the box, if you will.

(Ready to learn how to sew a knit seam binding? Make sure to download our brand new and highly improved step-by-step sewing tutorial that walks you through the process.)The Ilma Raglan: How To Sew A Knit Seam Binding Sewing Tutorial The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: Construction Details

The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: Back View

When I initially drafted the design of the Ilma, I didn't include the small godet section on the front of the sweater. But after coming back to the project when I was writing this post, it just came to me: I really wanted to add a godet to this design. So now you may be asking.. WTF is a godet?

Say it with me: "Go" (Like, "Go, it's a green light".) And "Day" (Like, "It's a beautiful day today".) Go-Day.

A godet is a triangular insert that creates a beautiful flaring fullness in an otherwise flat fabric and design. It pretty much just gives some shape and volume to a design that is otherwise not very voluminous or shapely. Which makes it perfect for this design! I seriously LOVE godets.

They add an interesting element to a design, but they aren't too much. Which is what I like.

Interesting, but not in your face.

The raglan sleeves on the Ilma are extra long, because really, all of the best sweaters have extra long sleeves. With long sleeves you can roll them up if you're warm or pull them long to keep your fingers toasty. And lastly, the neckline of the Ilma is finished off with a knit seam binding.

I chose to close the neck with a binding because (I think) it just looks more professional than your basic rolled hem.

Knowing how to sew a seam binding is an excellent addition to your sewing education because the knowledge can transfer to sewing all types of seam bindings--Not just a neckline binding. Or a knit seam bindings.

We have used bindings for many different projects here at TFM: For the (woven) neckline of the Teri Dress. For the length of the Jupiter Wrap Skirt. And even for our massive DIY constellation quilt project. (Btw, there are one, two, three, FOUR different parts to that series.)

(Ready to learn how to sew a knit seam binding? Make sure to download our brand new and highly improved step-by-step sewing tutorial that walks you through the process.)The Ilma Raglan: How To Sew A Knit Seam Binding Sewing Tutorial The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: Full Design

Sewing with knits can sometimes be more challenging than sewing with wovens, but the upside is that with this particular knit, we don't need to sew in any type of closure. (i.e. A zipper, buttons, etc.)

The downside of sewing with knits can be that the fabric stretches as you sew, so it's incredibly important to go slowly, to ensure that this doesn't happen. If the fabric stretches as it's sewn, you will 100% be able to tell with the finished product. Avoid the dysfunction, and sew slowly.

The fabric that I ended up choosing for this project is a beautifully textured knit. While the knit I chose is fairly lightweight, it does also have some drape to it.

Not too heavy, but not too light.

All knits typically have an excellent draping quality, which is necessary when sewing a design with a godet. I think that textured knits also add an additional interest layer over using a regular jersey knit, simply because that the textured look and feel can completely transform a design. It's pretty incredible the range of designs that work well with textured knits, because they are just so incredibly diverse.

And not only do textured knits typically drape beautifully, but I have found that they also hold their shape pretty well over time.

As with all fabrics, textured knits do have a weakness. They can snag pretty easily, so it's important to take special care with your knit to ensure it doesn't snag, which can result in a run down the length of the fabric.

Overall, I think the Ilma is a pretty amazing sweater. It was an easy project to sew, perhaps the most difficult part being how to sew up the knit seam binding. (Which we just so happen to have a sewing tutorial on!) Otherwise, it's mostly just sewing the seams together correctly, like putting a puzzle together.

(Ready to learn how to sew a knit seam binding? Make sure to download our brand new and highly improved step-by-step sewing tutorial that walks you through the process.)The Ilma Raglan: How To Sew A Knit Seam Binding Sewing Tutorial The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: Close Up

And finally.. The namesake for the Ilma Raglan.

You may be asking: "What's an Ilma?" Or even "Who's Ilma?" Say it with me: "Ill" (Like, "I think I feel ill") "Ma" (Like, "Ma! Come here!"). Ill-Ma.

This project isn't named after a specific person, but more so after a spirit of excitement, of timeless adventure. I'm sure I have mentioned this in a previous post--But I have been with my husband now for over 12 years. We started dating when I was still in high school here in Southern California, and he was a freshman in college at the University of Oregon.

This is a long and wonderful story, but what I want to tell you about now is how we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. Because it had to be BIG, you know?

10 Years is a long time, something to be proud of.

As we got closer to our 10 year, we discussed a few ideas.. The main one being that we would go to New Zealand. Neither of us had ever been to New Zealand, or anywhere near it, despite all of our travels. It was going to be a completely new adventure.

So why New Zealand, you may ask? Well. Forgive my nerdiness for a few moments.. But growing up (and still to this day) I have always been a huge (like, embarrassingly huge) Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fan. I have read the books numerous times. (And I truly believe they are one of the main reasons that I am such an avid reader to this day.)

I saw the movies countless times when they were in theaters, and I still put them on (extended editions, obvi) when I'm cleaning up the house, or if I'm working and tired of listening to music.

(Ready to learn how to sew a knit seam binding? Make sure to download our brand new and highly improved step-by-step sewing tutorial that walks you through the process.)The Ilma Raglan: How To Sew A Knit Seam Binding Sewing Tutorial The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: New Zealand Mountains

The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: New Zealand Hobbiton

The Ilma Raglan Sewing Project & Knit Seam Binding: New Zealand Mount Doom

And, if you know anything about LOTR, you know that they were all filmed in New Zealand. I had literally been dying to go to New Zealand ever since those movies came out, almost 20 years ago now. So.. About two years ago now, we took 3 weeks off, rented a van, and drove it all over the country of New Zealand.

Not only did we drive in the van--But we slept in it, cooked in it, and read in it among beautiful, ethereal landscapes. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life. You may be thinking.. "Cool. But WTF does this have to do with the Ilma Raglan?"

Well. Please, please forgive the nerd in me one more time. When I originally wrote this post, all I could really think about was how excited I was for our upcoming trip, since we had just booked the flights. And when I thought about our upcoming trip, all I could think about was Lord of the Rings.. And in the world of Lord of the Rings, the Elves have their own language, Elvish.

(They were always my favorite, so beautiful & elegant.)

"Ilma" means "Starlight" in Elvish. To quote Tauriel from The Hobbit, starlight "is memory, precious and pure."

10 Years is a long time, filled with countless memories, precious and pure. It's more time than some people get in a lifetime, and we are lucky enough to have experienced such a milestone in our 20's.

But anyways. I hope that wasn't too much nerd for you. Or maybe I inspired you to go read some Tolkien? But truly.. As with all of our sewing projects, I want each one's namesake to embody what The Flora Modiste represents. A precious and pure beauty that is as near and dear to my heart as anything possibly could be.

(Ready to learn how to sew a knit seam binding? Make sure to download our brand new and highly improved step-by-step sewing tutorial that walks you through the process.) The Ilma Raglan: How To Sew A Knit Seam Binding Sewing Tutorial

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