Introduction: EASY Dolman Sleeve Pullover
This project is EASY and there's little to no cost, depending on what you choose to use as your jersey fabric. In my case I used 3 t-shirts in order to work this Free-People-like magic into a warmer garment. If you'd like to see a few sources of inspiration, check out my Pinterest Board (Threadhead TV) called "Sweater Ideas." This project is a great way to elevate your favorite T, get your color-block on, and use a slimming method - all in one sha-bang.
- 3 T-shirts, various colors (or 1 T-shirt + cotton jersey fabric)
- rotary cutter & mat
- sewing machine
- stabilizer (if you don't have a serger)
- jersey knit machine needle (if using a regular sewing machine and not a serger)
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Step 1: Cut Your T-shirts
Lay your t-shirt flat, smoothing out any wrinkles and making sure it's straight with shoulder seams at the top. Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut your t-shirt front panel in the shape you like, cutting through both front and back layers of the shirt at the same time.
If I made this again, I would make an even more pronounced V-like shape. I took 2 inches in from each bottom edge as compared with the shoulder, and then decided to take another inch (pic #2) for a total of 3 inches off. Down the road, I would aim for 4-5 inches in from each side and also take the shoulders in more. I just think it would be a bit more flattering if that center panel was narrower. However, if done in this manner, it's possible that you would have to add a 4th t-shirt to make up for the loss of fabric (depending on how big your T's are) or you could buy jersey fabric to use.
Hold on to the fabric you cut away from the center panel T-shirt sides. You'll use these pieces later for the bottom band.
Next make rectangles out of your t-shirt #2 (my green one), removing the neckband in the process. Then cut these rectangles into 2 equal trapezoid pieces. (pic #6)
My green trapazoids were 11" at the wide side, 5" at the narrow side. They were about 27" long but you don't need to worry so much about the length at this point.
Step 2: Add T #2 to Front and Back Center Panels
At this point you should have 4 trapezoids from your t-shirt #2. Place widest end sides together, right side of fabric facing in, and sew along that edge (pic #1). If you don't have a serger, you'll need some kind of stabilizer (or tear-away stabilizer) along any sewing line so that your jersey seam doesn't stretch out from the sewing. In the case of using a regular sewing machine, use a zig-zag stitch.
Next pin those panels to each side of the center panel, matching up shoulder seams, right sides facing. And sew along that edge on both sides.
Step 3: Add T #3 Panel
I cut 2 large rectangles out of my turquoise T #3. These pieces do not need to be as long as the prior color because they will be sleeves rather than the bodice. Sew these rectangles on to the bodice, right sides facing the T #2 layer and centered at the shoulder seam. Pin and sew.
Step 4: Dolman Side/Sleeves
The kind of top that has the sleeve and front all in one piece is called dolman. If you have a dolman top or sweater already, you can use this as your pattern as shown in pic #1 & 2 here. Cut 5/8" extra for seam allowances. If you don't already have a dolman sleeved top, you can chalk an outline then cut, making sure to cut it 5/8" larger than you want the finished product.
Once you've cut one side, fold your pullover in half and use the side you just cut as your pattern to cut the other side. Turn right sides together, pin, and sew up sides and under arm.
Step 5: Sleeve Cuffs
Next you will finish off the sleeves by making cuffs from the same fabric #3. You can make these as long and as wide as you like. My 2 rectangles for the cuffs measured 7.5" x 5" which made for a snugly fit cuff. If you'd like more room, cut your rectangles somewhere around 9 inches long. You can always measure around your wrist then add 1 1/4" for seam allowances. My finished cuff ended up being around 2" long after folding so you might want a longer cuff.
Fold your cuff fabric so that the ends going around the wrist meet, right sides together then cut a very shallow "v" shape as shown in pic #2 & 3. Pin and sew along the "v" side. Then fold cuffs with seam on the inside (pic #5). With pullover right side out, you will pin cuff to sleeve, raw sides aligned. You may need to stretch the cuff to match the sleeve as you sew.
Step 6: Bottom Band
If you haven't done so already, even up the bottom edge of your pullover with your rotary cutter and mat. Then take the 2 pieces that you cut away from your sides on your original center panel T and even those up as well using your rotary cutter (make them precise rectangles). I took the bottom hem out of one side of this panel with my seam ripper in order to give me a bit more length. Unfold these side pieces then sew together at the sides, right sides facing (short ends of rectangles sewn together). Then fold in half lengthwise (seam you just sewed on the inside) and apply to bottom/raw edge of pullover in the same manner as you did the cuffs. It's basically a giant cuff for the bottom.
Then enjoy this super-awesome, Free-People look alike, dolman-sleeved easy top! You can make this in probably two hours tops! Three T-shirts tonight transformed to a long-sleeved color-blocked pullover for tomorrow. The best kind of magic. Thanks for your interest and let me know if there are any other Free-People look-alike projects you'd be interested in seeing here or on my YouTube channel.
Finalist in the
Warm and Fuzzy Challenge