Tie-Front Dolman Top Tutorial (with Free Pattern)

Jamie from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom is here with us today sharing this adorable Tie-Front Dolman Top Tutorial. You may remember her from the Fitted Apron Top tutorial she shared with us a while back. This cute top can be made using a T-shirt you already have to make the pattern or with her downloadable pattern, which means you could make one for yourself too. If knits make you a little nervous, start off with the Sewing Jersey 101 and the Beginner’s Jersey Baby Dress.

You should also check out Jamie’s Peasant Dress Tutorial with Free Pattern, Boho-Maxi Dress Pattern and Tutorial, and the Rainbow Zipper Pouch. For a little sewing break, try out her Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookies.

Keep reading for the Tie-Front Dolman Top Tutorial after the jump…

Hi Everyone! My name is Jamie from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. I am so happy to be able to share this Tie Front Knit Top Tutorial with the Pretty Prudent’s readers! My blog is all about sewing, crafting and fun family recipes. I would love for you to stop by sometime and see some of my projects.

When I’m sewing for myself or my kids, I want the items I’ve made to look like and have the quality of something you would buy at a store or boutique. (An exclusively expensive boutique, of course… {wink, wink})

Especially with knitwear.  (The exception being, if it’s so original or beautifully crafted, you know it had to be handmade, ha ha…)

I think I totally nailed it with this little tie-front Dolman-style knit top!

I didn’t time myself while sewing the top, (I take multiple breaks when sewing) but not counting the time it took to create and cut out the pattern, I am guessing it took no more than 40 minutes to make this top.  Yep, it’s that easy!

If you want your knit projects to have a professional look, you’ve got to have the right tools: a walking foot and a ballpoint stretch twin needle.

The walking foot (I use this one on my singer) and stretch twin needle (along with a loosened tension and lengthened stitch) will allow you to hem your knits without stretching out the hems and seams.  If you need more information on sewing with knits, I have quite a few tips and tricks in my Knit Tunic Top tutorial.

She looks so cute in this little outfit- totally trendy with the chevron print top and leggings.  (I blogged about the leggings here).  I was a tiny bit concerned about the leggings being too sheer, but I had her give them the “official lululemon test” before wearing them to school.  Luckily, they passed.

Would you like to give this top a try?  I have included the top pattern in a size 4/5 and 6/7.  Also, I haven’t done it yet, but I will attempt to downsize the pattern to a size 2/3, so be sure to check back later.

In the meantime, I have included instructions on how to create a pattern for this top in any size.  (I think I will be making one for myself too.)

Materials needed:

  • up to 1 yard of 60 inch wide knit fabric. (for sizes 7 and below and depending on if you have a one way-repeat pattern.)
  • ball point needle and ball point twin needle
  • walking foot
  • You can find the link to the size 4/5 or 6/7 printable pattern on my the original blog post here or if you’re making your own pattern, you need a loose fitting tee, pencil, ruler and paper to trace the pattern on
  • basic sewing supplies

Step 1:  The pattern 

A. Download and print the size 4/5 or 6/7 pattern and assemble.  If you need to make a different size, keep reading step 1. (Otherwise skip to step 2). (Or if you already have a dolman-style top, trace that and skip down to the part about adding seam allowances and the ties.)

B. Get your measurements:
– Neckline to desired sleeve length
– Hip measurement (add 6 inches to this measurement, then divide by 4,so if her hip is 22 + 6 / 4, final # of 7)
– Shoulder to desired length

To make the pattern, follow the steps in the pictures below.

Even if you are making a different size, you can print the pattern for the ties as a guide to draw your own.

Step 2:  Cutting the fabric.

Lay out your fabric, so the most stretch is going side to side.  Fold one side over, selvage toward the middle (until you have enough width to to cut out the sleeve.)  Place the side of the pattern on the fold and cut out the front piece.

Step 3: Assembling the top

Place the front and back pieces right sides together and sew along the shoulders and side seams.

(I used my serger for this step.  If you have a serger by all means, use it, but it is really unnecessary to finish the seams since knits don’t fray. )

Use your iron and press the bottom edge of the entire top over 3/8 inch (including the ties).  Use pins if you need too and when you get to the curve in between the tie, it’s ok if you need to stretch the fabric a little or even if you need to cut the shape slightly more circular.  Once the top is tied, you can’t see this seam edge anyway.

Using your double stretch needle, sew along the bottom edge of the top, including the ties.

When you get to that tricky curved part, just go slow…

When you are using a double needle, you can’t pivot on turns like you normally do. I just sewed to the end, lifted my needle and presser foot and manually turned the fabric.

Step 4:  Adding the neck binding.

To determine the length of neckline binding, measure the neckline width and multiply by 2 for the entire neckline measurement. Subtract 1.75 from that number and cut a piece of your knit fabric to your number by 1.75 inches

Fold this strip in half wrong sides together and press.

Open the strip, line up the short raw edges and sew together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Re-fold the binding.

Using pins or a fabric marker, divide the binding into 4 equal sections and mark the spots.

Do the same thing on the t-shirt neckline.  Keep in mind, the shoulder seams will not be the exact halfway point because the front neckline is slightly larger because of the dip.

Line up the 4 marked spots on the neckline and binding and pin the binding to the t-shirt.  The binding should be smaller than the neckline and the extra fabric should be evenly spaced along the binding.

Use a straight stitch and sew along the edge using 1/4 inch seam allowance, stretching the binding evenly from pin to pin.

Fold the sleeve edge over 3/8 inch and press.  Using your double needle and walking foot, sew along the edge of the sleeve.

That’s it you’re done!

Have fun and I can’t wait to see what you make, please come back and share!

If you like this type of project and want to see more, you can follow along using the Google Friend Connect widget, through a reader, or signing up via email.  Just click on one of the icons below:
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Marge R. (mer)

This is SOOO cute that I may have to try to see IF I can draft one from your instructions for an 18″ doll since they’re my pseudo-grandgirls for the moment! TFS!!!


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