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!


  1. You a great job. It looks awesome. Thank you for participating. I don't know if you know but Jo and I are both pretty tall at 5'10 1/2" (Jo) and I am 5'11 1/2"

  2. Awesome job, it looks so comfy and you know I love stripes :D

  3. Great job, I love the fabric choice so much.

  4. I love the top. It is so flattering on you and great for your shape/height.

  5. I love this top, and I love the fact that you made it from a tracing of another shirt, good for you! Now, don't put off making more for too long, at least make some for fall.

  6. Hi, This top is really cute! it looks so comfy too.

    I found your blog through Pattern Revolution and I am wondering if you still plan on doing a tutorial for the Anna dress that you made. It is by far the best one that I have seen and I would really like to make them for my girls. Thanks!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I do plan on doing a tutorial on the Anna dress. Just need to find the time! Maybe I'll make that my goal for next month.

    2. I totally understand time constraints. :)