Sew your own Dolman Top with this easy pattern hack! This post will help you understand the basics of pattern shape and a Dolman adjustment!
During our Tio Trouser sewing pattern release, many of our Instagram followers spotted this gingham dolman top on one of my daughters – surprise surprise! It’s a Kea Top!
Our most underrated sewing pattern; The Kea Top has such a well fitting block – you could do anything with this sewing pattern!
(But it does come with peter pan collar, pussy bow, and short and long sleeves – so there’s already a load of options ready to go! 😀 )
So, here’s how I created this green gingham dolman top from our Kea Top sewing pattern (and if you’re sewing for Big People – our women’s Rātā Top sewing pattern would work here too!)
How to sew a Dolman Top
Pattern Pieces to adjust
1. Download your own Kea Top sewing pattern here.
2. Use one size larger than you usually would to create this relaxed, baggy look!
3. The Kea Top has a split in the back so it’s made of 2 pattern pieces. Our new Dolman Top will have a full back piece (instead of two). Measure the necklines around the front and back and check they’ll slip over your child’s head (it’s should if you’ve sized up like suggested!).
Remove 10mm (3/8″) from the centre back edge and now use the back pattern piece as a “place on fold” to cut fabric out.
4. Fold the short sleeve in half.
5. Rotate the sleeve so the curve and corners touch the armscye of the front bodice.
6. Place space paper under the pattern and tape in place to redraw pattern lines.
7. Draw new lines (shown as red) from the corner of the shoulder to the edge of the sleeve hem, along the edge of the sleeve hem, curve under the arm and meet to join at the existing hem.
Check: The new shoulder seam should be higher than the original, and the new under arm seam should be lower than the original.
How to sew an easy domlan top
8. With right sides together, sew the shoulder seams 10mm (3/8″) from edge. Press seams open.
9. Create a sleeve hem “memory fold” (this will help you hem later!): Fold under sleeve hem edge towards the wrong side 10mm (3/8″), then another 10mm (3/8″), press.
Repeat a memory fold for garment hem if desired.
Unfold memory folds for following steps.
10. With right sides together, sew the sides with a 10mm (3/8″) seam allowance.
Press seams open.
11. Re-fold the sleeve hem memory fold and top stitch around sleeve.
12. Fold under and sew hem as per tutorial.
13. Apply single fold bias binding to neckline with a small neck tag (I used a small piece of folded binding!).
Turn the binding to the inside of the neckline so it’s not visible from the front.
Here’s a handy tutorial on how to use double fold bias binding, which is very similar to single fold bias binding.
I can’t wait to see your Kea Dolman Tops! And remember, this same dolman hack will work with our Rātā Top for a women’s size dolman too!
When you sew one up, please share it in our Below the Kōwhai VIP Community and tag #KeaTop and @belowthekowhai on Instagram so I can celebrate with you!
Love and happy sewing,