Friday, July 19, 2013

Dolman Top Redu Tutorial

I have two of these tops that, when I first got them, I thought were really cute. Then I caught a glimpse of my reflection somewhere out with my kids and I realized that these tops made me look about 2 times the width I actually am. That's unacceptable, so I altered it to be flattering AND wrote a tutorial in case you have a big ugly shirt that you want to make flattering too!

Love the color, love the softness
Lets get started then, I put on my shirt inside out and pinned all the way down from my armpit to the shirt hem. Then I, very carefully, took the shirt off(pinning intact) and cut about 1/2in out from where I had pinned and then straight up from my last pin to the shoulder.

This picture is the shirt after the cutting, see no more nasty bat wings! If you're a fan of dolman tops, sorry, they're just not a flattering look for me and do, in fact, make me look like I have wings lol.

Don't unpin your sides! At this point, we're going to sew the side seams shut again using a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch for your knit fabric. I suggest sewing between 1/4 and 1/8 of and inch outside of where you pinned, because if it's still too loose it'll be easy to just take it in a little more, but if it's too tight you're going to be ripping a lot of stitches and knit fabric, like the one I was using, really likes to rip.

I didn't get the picture of this, but you'll need to try your top on: 1. to make sure
it's fitted to your liking and 2. to pin where you want the shoulder seam to hit. I'm definitely not in any way scientific about the way I sew, that being said with my pins on my shoulders I took my shirt and folded it in half. Once you have it in half pin both sides together matching up the neck and armpit of your shirt as well as the shoulder seams. We want the shirt to come out symmetrical. Now, like the picture above, pin in a curve, from the armpit to the shoulder pin that's already in place. The curve should look like a tank top, then when you're happy with it, cut just outside of where you pinned about 1/4in for seam allowance.

Keep your leftovers, these are what's really going to gussy up your shirt and make it one of a kind. Unfold your shirt and pin around the edge of your armholes to get a nice clean edge, or don't if you're using knits it won't fray either way!

When I sew armholes, or legholes, I like to keep my fabric inside out and just sew along the inside; like the picture above. Am I confusing anyone yet? Trust me, this way is easier if you know what I'm talking about lol. Wow, you're almost done! 

The side seams are finished and the you've done the hemming around your armholes(or you chose to leave your edge raw), so here comes the most time consuming, but the best part of fixing up your shirt: THE EMBELLISHMENTS! As you can see in the first picture I chose to do bows all over the front (wish I thought it up on my own, but I saw it here). Since I can't just stop at cute, I went onto the back and added another bow between the shoulders. 

For my shoulder bow, I cut out two rectangles of fabric that I knew would be big enough to span the width of my back opening. Then, I sewed along the two long edges and turned it right side out and had a long tube of fabric. I attached the shorter sides along the neckline of my shirt and positioned it to start at the shoulder seam of my shirt. This is important if you're doing this part, you won't want to just pin the short sides of your rectangle all the way down, you'll get a droopy bow. Instead, pin the top at the edge of your "bow" and then pin it down from there; you will have more and more excess the farther you pin, just cut it off after you attach it. To make it the bow you'll take a small rectangle of fabric about 1in x 3in and wrap it around the middle of your "bow". Pull it tight holding the short ends, sew the rectangle closed as close to the "bow" as possible without catching it in your stitching. Cut off the excess of this and turn it right side out on your fabric. 

 Whew, did you get all that!? If you were able to follow along, this is what the back should look like when you're done. And the front again with all the pretty little bows :).

There's really no limit to what you can do with this, once you've got your shirt to the fit you like, you can add anything to it, or even leave it plain. I hope this inspires you to cut up some old shirts and make them new and fabulous again!


P.S. Sorry about the lousy phone pics, the DSLR was MIA that day.

P.S.S Did I mention this only took me a few hours, even with "helpers".

This is what happens when I have my "helpers" around.