Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Dolmaniacs Sew-along: A straight-up refashion of a men's shirt to a kid's shirt

Dolman refashioned top 2

Welcome back to the sew-along.  I'm loving all your tops I've been seeing here, there, and everywhere.  You guys are prolific.

Today I'll be showing you the fastest Dolman ever, using an old shirt of Steven's to make a top for Jamie.  The reason it's so quick?  I'm retaining the original hem!  Off we go...

1 pattern placement

Find a top that's wide enough to fit your pattern.  Admittedly, this might be tricky if you're sewing the 7/8 but there's another post on the way about piecing that will offer some solutions.  Steven's shirts tend to be mediumish but slim fitting, a boxier and larger size would have more width to play with.

2 hem allowance

 If you want to retain the original hem, overhang the pattern by one inch (the hem allowance in the pattern).  Make sure that the front and back of the shirt are aligned along the hem, I had to do some serious ironing first to get it flat and even.  If the original shirt is off the grain or twisted, I would recommend cutting it apart at the side seams and then cutting the front and back piece separately.

3 back neck

If the shirt's okay and you are cutting both layers at once, make sure that you are using the back neck. You don't want two pieces both with the front neckline!

4 front neck

And then amend one of the pieces using the front neckline so you have a front and a back.  I also cut the neckband from the fabric left over in the upper back of the shirt , so I had a perfect colour match.

5 align hem

Sew up your top exactly like the instructions I posted last week, except when you get to the sewing up of the side seams.  As we're not hemming or applying a waist band we'll be sewing all the way down to the bottom and preserving the existing hem.  Make sure that you have carefully matched them up at the bottom as this will be your finished edge!  Then sew your side seams as you would have before.

6 tack side seam

Press the seam allowance at the bottom towards the back piece, then front and back stitch a couple of times to tack it down.

7 tacked seam

Finished stitches will look like this.  Repeat to the other side seam and you're done!

8 finished top


  1. So cute! I love it. I have a knit dress that is SO unflattering I don't even know why I bought it. I'm going to try to dolman it. That is, assuming the fabric is acceptable to my picky little minx.