Sewing | sewing with knits | Women's Sewing Patterns / Tutorials

How to make a Dolman T-Shirt without a pattern (DIY Banded Dolman Tee)

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How to make a Dolman T-shirt without a pattern. (DIY Banded Dolman Tee)

How to make a Dolman-Style T-shit from a self drafted pattern. (All you need is a few supplies and a t-shirt you love. You will be surprised at how easy it is. No reason to spend money on a such a simple pattern- you can totally make your own!)

There is nothing I like to wear more than loose and comfy knit tees and dresses.  Lately, I have sewn myself a few new tops and dresses.  (I’ve got quite a collection of knit fabrics and figured I better start using them.)

I’m so glad the Dolman-style sleeves are so popular now because they are ridiculously easy to sew. (And super flattering – at least on me, you can check out my Anywhere Dress Tutorial I made last year using this same self-drafted pattern.)

If you haven’t tried to make your own pattern before, then this is the project you need to do!  Making the pattern is so easy.  You just need a T-shirt that you already love the fit of and then you really only need to make one pattern piece. (the back piece.)  It is (IMO) so much easier to make your own pattern than it is to print out and tape together a huge pdf pattern.

Part of what makes this project so easy is the loose fit and very few pattern pieces to cut.  (The style is very forgiving…)  You can add binding around the neck, sleeves and bottom or just leave it raw – depends on the look you are going for.

How to make a Dolman T-Shirt without a pattern (DIY Banded Dolman Tee)

Materials needed:

  • 1 to 1.5 yards of 54+ inch wide knit fabric.
  • t-shirt to trace
  • Paper to trace pattern on.  (wrapping paper or freezer paper.)
  • fabric marker
  • pencil, ruler, iron, scissors, and other basic sewing supplies
If you already have a dolman style t-shirt to trace, that is great!  Use it.  If you don’t have one, that’s ok, you can use a regular tee too.  (I am using a regular tee in the photo below.)
Step one:  Make the pattern and cut the fabric.
Fold the T-shirt in half, lay it on the paper and smooth out all the wrinkles.
Trace around the back of the tee.  You can add the seam allowance now, while tracing or just trace the tee as-is and add them later.  If you are using a regular shaped tee, just follow the line of the sleeve at a gentle downward angle as shown below.


How to make a Dolman T-Shirt without a pattern.  Learn how to make a Dolman T-shirt without a pattern!
Fold the paper you traced the pattern on in half and cut out your pattern.  When you open the pattern, you will have a full pattern piece, which is helpful when working with knits, since they tend to slide around.  (Technically this is the back pattern piece, but it is the same as the front except for the difference in the front neckline.)
Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut out a front and back piece.  For my shirt, since the stripes ran side to side, I cut my pieces on the bias.  I uses a ruler and drew bias lines directly on the pattern to help me keep the lines straight)


For the bottom band, measure the bottom edge of the shirt, and add 1/2 inch.  Cut 2 strips of fabric 6 inches by the width of your measurement above.

Right sides together, sew these strips together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. so you have one long strip.

To cut out the front neckline, fold one of the fabric pieces in half.  Fold your original tee in half and line up the middle and shoulders of the original tee and the new shirt front.  Use a fabric marker and trace the neckline right onto the fabric

Cut out the neckline.

Step 2:  Putting the T-shirt together.

Line up the front and back pieces, right sides together.


How to make a Dolman T-Shirt without a pattern.  Learn how to make a Dolman T-shirt without a pattern!

If you want to add binding to the neckline and sleeves, check out the instructions on my Anywhere Knit Dress Tutorial and skip to step 3.

That is pretty much all there is to the tee!  Cute and simple…

How to make a Dolman T-Shirt without a pattern.  Learn how to make a Dolman T-shirt without a pattern!

My photography assistant for the day wanted to be in the picture too…

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  1. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts – I featured you yesterday!

  2. What a cute tee!! I love the colors and the pattern looks so simple! Thanks for linking up at Whatever Goes Wednesday. We'll be featuring this on the blog tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Just made this using some fabric I LOVE! I was so nervous that I would ruin, but it turned out fantastic! Thanks for the awesome tutorial. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This turned out great! I love the fabric – where did you get it? It seems so hard to find cute knit prints or stripes at the stores. Great tutorial.

  5. Wow! That is super easy! I love how you cut the stripes on the bias. Thanks for the free tutorial! ๐Ÿ™‚

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