Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dolman Shirt Hack and the Sew-a-bration of Womanhood Tour

When I first heard about the Sew-a-bration of Womanhood tour I was immediately drawn to it.  The concept of women inspiring women; accepting each other because of, rather than in spite of, our differences; embracing one another as women first and our other defining roles second...who wouldn't want to be part of that?  I was so excited when I opened the email saying I could have a spot on the tour.  Lil ol' me?  A spot in the tour?

Then the panic set in...what, for the love of bacon, was I going to make that would hold up to all of those aspirations?

I decided to tackle a project I have been meaning to do for a long time.  A dolman top with a banded bottom.

There are few items of clothing I like better than dolman tops.  I must have a dozen of them in my closet; I am eternally on the hunt for the perfect one.  I am tall, 5'11", and finding ones that fit me well in the length is a challenge.  

Now some women on the hunt for the perfect shirt would start their search in finer department stores, or on designer websites.  But I live in a world where clothing shopping is done in between grabbing the milk and walking towards the toy section of Target. 

So one day, on a trip to Target, I found it.  The dolman I had been looking for.  The fit was great, the length was great, the banded hem and sleeves were great.  I should have been ecstatic, buying one in every color just like my grandma taught me!

The problem was, my dream shirt was a yoga shirt in the workout clothing area.  And, although I think every top can be paired with a pair of yoga pants (please, if I am wrong about this, don't tell me!) I did not find the performance fabric it was made out of particularly everyday wearable.  

So I did what all resourceful, sewing woman would do.  I bought one and I brought it home to use as a pattern. 

That was over a year ago.  

Why?  Well, I sew mostly for my girls and seem to always have a project (or 10) in the works for them.  Plus, I rarely sew clothing without a pattern. I am very comfortable with completely reworking a pattern, but I am not comfortable with starting without one.  So I put it off.  And off.  And off.  

Since I was trying to step a little out of my comfort zone for this tour, I figured it was high time to pull out the tracing I had done of my shirt and give it a whirl.  


I made the first one out of jersey sheets I bought on clearance at, you guessed it, Target! That way if it was a total flop, I wasn't out too much. 

I cut apart the tracing I had made of the shirt, added in a seam allowance, and used the traced pieces to cut out my shirt.
 My first version was a little too long in the sleeves and a little too wide in the neck.  I made a few adjustments, and remade it in my striped fabric.  

I am thrilled with the way it turned out.  I love the loose fit around the middle, it nicely camouflages my muffin top, and the band at the bottom that makes it more shapely.  I also love the sleeve length, not too long and not too short!  I even wore it out to dinner after taking my pictures.  I will make the neckline even a little more narrow on the next one I make, but since the black stripes on this shirt are made of a semi-transparent lacy knit, I'll need a tank under it anyway.  

I am even more thrilled that I finally took a chance on making something that I have wanted to make for so long.  It wasn't hard at all and now I have a basic pattern I can start from to make myself as many shirts I want.    One in every color, just like my grandma taught me :)

I hope you will sew something for your self that you've been putting off for too long!  Hop over to some of the other sites on the tour too, there is a ton of inspiration in these posts!