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Dolman Heart Tee (pattern hack)

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Today, I’m sharing the tutorial on how to make this darling Dolman Top for your little one.  I made the top based on my free tie front top pattern, but this type of top is so easy to make, it’s almost quicker to make your own pattern than it is to print cut out and tape one together!

how to make a dolman tee

Dolman Top Tutorial

I was browsing online at Crazy 8 and found this adorable Valentine’s Day sweater.  Of course, it’s so close to Valentine’s Day, they were all sold out in our size.  No problem though, I knew I could make my own version of this top using my Tie-Front Knit Top Dolman Pattern!

All I would have to do is cut off the ties and measure for the sleeve and bottom cuff, and of course, add the heart detail.

dolman top tutorial

free dolman top pattern for girls

I sorted through my fabric stash and decided to use this pretty grey and white striped stretchy knit fabric.  It’s hard to see in these photos, but there are silvery threads woven around the grey stripe.  I originally bought this fabric a few years back to make another wrap cardigan, but I figure if two years have gone by and a piece of fabric has not been used for its original purpose- then it’s fair game for other projects!

If you want to add a heart or some other applique to dress up your top, this reverse applique method is great!

Dolman top

Ready to Make a Dolman Top?

Supplies needed: 

  • Dolman Top Pattern (I have one in sizes 3 to 14: knit dolman top pattern)
  • If you need to make another size, you’ll need a long sleeve t-shirt that fits.  (Even if you are using my pattern, it helps to have a long sleeve t-shirt to compare to for the length of top and sleeves.)
  • Up to 3/4 yard of 56 inch wide knit fabric.
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker, ruler and other basic sewing supplies.

Dolman Top Sewing Tips and additional info:

  • Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance in this project
  • Pattern/tutorial is designed for stretch knits
  • Use a ballpoint/stretch needle
  • Sew seams with serger, stretch stitch, narrow zig zag with a long stitch length or a straight stitch with a long stitch length and a slightly loosened tension. (make a couple of practice stitches on your fabric to see what works best.)

How to Sew a Dolman Top: 

Step 1:  Make or Adjust the Dolman Top Pattern.

Print pattern if using mine and take one inch off the sleeve length and follow the instruction below for the length. 

To make your own pattern using a well-fitting tee: Lay t-shirt on a large piece of paper (like freezer paper or wrapping paper.)  Determine the 3/4ish length of the sleeve, mark that spot (in blue.)   Measure up 3.75 inches and mark that spot. (If making a pattern smaller than size 4, measure up 2.75 inches.)  

make a dolman top

When determining your bottom length, raise the hem 1.5 inches to account for the bottom band.

Trace around the t-shirt, adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance around everything but the neckline.

Trace the front and back neckline onto your pattern.  

Cut out the front and back patterns.  (You may want to cut out the full 3/4 length sleeve and just leave the shorter sleeve mark on the paper in case you make future versions w/out the sleeve band.)

Step 2. Cut Out Dolman Top Bodice Pattern Pieces:

Fold fabric, in half so the selvages meet in the middle. (The stretch should be running side to side.)  Lay the pattern on the fabric fold and cut out a front and back pattern piece.  

Step 3: Sew the Dolman Top Together.

Sew along the shoulders and side seams using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

how to sew a dolman top

Step 4: Measure, cut and add bindings to Your top.

Neck binding- (I just grabbed the photos from the tie front top- seemed silly to redo everything.) 

 To determine the length of neckline binding, measure the neckline width and multiply by 2 for the entire neckline measurement. Subtract 1.75 from that number and cut a piece of your knit fabric to your number by 1.75 inches tall.  (Make sure the stretch is going side to side.)

(Tip: if you are using a rib knit or very stretchy fabric for the binding, I recommend cutting the neck binding even shorter. Multiply the neckline measurement by .8, then add the .5 seam allowance to that number,)

Fold this strip in half wrong sides together and press.

Open the strip, line up the short raw edges and sew together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Re-fold the binding.

Using pins or a fabric marker, divide the binding into 4 equal sections and mark the spots. Do the same thing on the t-shirt neckline.  Keep in mind, the shoulder seams will not be the exact halfway point because the front neckline is slightly larger because of the dip.

Line up the 4 marked spots on the neckline and binding and pin the binding to the t-shirt.  The binding should be smaller than the neckline and the extra fabric should be evenly spaced along the binding.

Use a stretch stitch or serger, sew along the edge using 1/4 inch seam allowance, stretching the binding evenly from pin to pin.

Sleeve Binding:

The sleeve and bottom binding are added using the same process.  Measure the sleeve width (multiply the width by two to get entire sleeve measurement,) subtract 2 inches and cut a piece of fabric 8 inches tall by your number. (Make sure the stretch is going side to side.)

Attach using the same method as the neck binding.

Tip:  Always remember to put your pins on the inside- makes it so much easier to sew.

Bottom Binding:

Measure the bottom of the shirt, subtract 1 inch.  Cut two strips of fabric your measurement by 4 inches tall.

how to sew a dolman top

Sew the two strips together to make a circle and follow the steps outlined above to attach to the top.

Add any embellishments to your top, give the bindings a little press with the iron and you are done!

Gotta give this girl props! (Plus a 20% “It’s cold!” bonus.) It was definitely a bit chilly out there…

(See how I made that pretty pink blankie here.)


Products used and recommended in this post:

Pin this project for later:

Want more simple sewing tutorials for girls? You might also like:

Sweater Dress Pattern

Knit Nightgown Tutorial/Pattern

Legging Pattern

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  1. Mabey She Made It says:

    Very cute, Jamie!

  2. Ginger Bergemann says:

    Super cute as always! I love your free patterns. I will be featuring this shirt tomorrow at Show Me Saturday! Thanks for linking up.

  3. This is so fabulous!!

  4. Michele Reynolds says:

    Adorable!!! Love hearts on stripes<3 Pinned