How to Make a Simple Dolman Woven Top
I LOVE how the Deer Creek Tunic and Dress fits and looks on me! After my initial tunic, I hacked it to make a gauzy lightweight shirt and hacked it into a high-low maxi dress. The dress turned out fantastic but the gauzy shirt needed a few more tweaks. So I made a simple dolman woven top with the Deer Creek Tunic and Dress as my starting point.
Last Summer I bought this fun shimmery fabric from Joann’s Red Tag fabrics to make a loose woven top. I love this shiny fabric and it’s probably the first floral I have worn since the early 90’s. (I always take a while to get on board with fashion trends) Love the slightly abstract flowers, love the colors, and love the slight Oriental vibe. Maybe I should have made a kimono top with it…
But I decided on a dolman woven top and I’m so happy with the result! When I walked out my front door to take pictures, my neighbors asked if I was going somewhere special! Score!
Anyways, want know how I made it?
Join Bodice and Skirt Pieces
My dolman woven top doesn’t have the elastic waistband the Deer Creek Tunic and Dress pattern calls for. Overlap and tape the bodice and skirt pieces to make just two pattern pieces. The pieces match up exactly in the girls pattern. (I use the girls size 16.) The skirt in the women’s version is bigger than the bodice. Just match the skirt and bodice side seams. Then fold or cut the fold side of the skirt skirt pattern piece until even with the bodice piece.
Want a dolman woven top with the elastic just like the original Deer Creek Tunic and Dress? I did that for my lightweight gauzy top. I advise you add 2-3 inches to the bottom of the bodice pieces and cut the elastic only an inch or two smaller than your waist measurements.
Because the Deer Creek Tunic and Dress is meant for knit fabrics and this fabric is non-stretch woven, add ease into the pattern. Slide the pattern pieces away from the fold half the amount of total added ease. (Here is where I made the biggest mistake on the gauzy shirt.) For example, I want to add a total of 3 inches ease to the pattern. That means I slide the pattern pieces 1.5 inch from the fold. Simple, yet so easy to forget when it’s late at night…
I have wide shoulders but am not busty. I find I need the added ease in the back but not in the front. Although an extra .5 inches of ease in the front might have been good too…Add some ease to the front too if you have a larger bust.
I also extended the sleeves a little-.5 inch-because of my wide shoulders. And I cut the bottom of the shirt shorter by 3-4 inches, using the same shirt tail shape included in the pattern.
Oh how I love Dolmans! No setting in sleeves! Just sew the side seams and the shoulder seams! It’s so fast!
After sewing the shoulder seams, measure the neckline and determine how long the binding needs to be for the dolman woven top. Because the fabric doesn’t stretch and the added wearing ease, the binding will need to be bigger than the pattern indicates. Subtract an inch from the length of the neckline and cut out your binding on the bias (this means at an angle-usually 45 degrees-to the grain of the fabric.) Cutting the binding on the bias will allow the binding to give a little, but not really stretch.
The binding is probably the only place where the dolman woven top requires more steps than a knit one.
Attach the binding with the method in the Deer Creek Tunic and Dress instructions. However, I like to serge the long side of my binding that will be folded over-because on clothing for myself I sometimes cheat and don’t encase the raw edge…the serged edge is still finished-just not as nicely.
Hem Sleeves and Bottom Hem
Serge the raw edges of the sleeves. Then turn the edge under, iron, and stitch along the serged edge. Do the same with the bottom hem. I get a smoother bottom hem when I turn up the differential feed on my serger a little to slightly gather the edge.
If you don’t have a serger or you don’t want the serging visible, fold the fabric 1/4 inch and then again 1/4 inch so the raw edges of the fabric are encased. (Larger amount should be folded under for the bottom hem.) Ironing helps a ton when you fold it under twice like this.
Cut and Sew Tie
Cut a strip of fabric 3 inches by width of fabric. Then fold it in half with right sides together. Serge/sew together the cut edges and leave a 2 inch hole along the long side. Turn the tie right side out and iron it flat. Topstitch around all the edges. Tie it around your waist to accentuate your waist. Without the tie, the woven dolman top looks very flowy and a bit boxy. I haven’t experimented with that look much so I’ll probably use the tie almost all the time.
Wear It Somewhere Awesome…
Even if it is only to the grocery store! My dolman woven top will either be for family pictures this summer, church, or a date night until my children grow out of the ‘crawl all over me’ stage!
How would you style it? Pencil skirt or white skinny jeans?
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