I’ve been dreaming of what would be my perfect dress for quite some time now… Something comfortable, something that can be worn on it’s own without something over or under it, something that can be dressed up or down, and of course made out of beautiful fabric! I’ve also wanted to hack our Seafarer Top Pattern into a dress since we released it several years ago (has it really been that long?!), and the stars finally came together to make it all happen. Because I’m so happy with how my dress turned out, I want you to be able to make one too, and am sharing this DIY Dolman Knit Dress Tutorial with you.
You may have seen some peeks of this dress on my Instagram, and I’m happy I finally got some real photos taken of it to share.
First, let’s talk about the fabric! I used a dreamy French terry knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics (affiliate link). Isn’t the floral pretty? It’s so soft and comfortable, but is nice and stable with great stretch recovery. I love the thickness of french terry and how easy it is to wear. Raspberry Creek Fabrics also has new “CLUB” fabrics that are amazing gorgeous – there are some florals that I plan to make another knit dress with next, if only I can decide which one to use!
The dolman sleeves helped this dress sew together really quickly, and you know I’ll never complain about that ;). I hope dolman sleeves never go out of style because they are so cozy to wear and fun to sew.
I’ve worn this dress a few times already, and it’s quickly become my new favorite. The length is perfect, even with four kids tugging at me (I know I’m preaching to the choir) and at my clothing constantly.
Ready to get started?
dolman top pattern – I used our Seafarer Top PDF Pattern
knit apparel fabric with good stretch recovery (choose fabric based on pattern recommendations) – I used a French terry knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics
3/8″ clear elastic to stabilize waistline
basic sewing supplies
*If sewing with a regular sewing machine, use a long and narrow zig zag stitch to accomodate the stretch of the fabric. If you have a serger, use it!
- Cut front and back bodice pieces 1/2″ below waistline (or 1-2″ higher if preferred). Also cut any other pieces needed per pattern instructions.
- For less ease in bodice waistline, remove width from side seams as desired.
- Cut 2 skirt pieces: width = waist measurement, length = waist to desired length +1 1/2″ for seam and hem allowances.
- Stitch bodice together as directed in pattern, including shoulder seams, neckline, sleeve hems, and side seams.
- Right sides together, stitch skirt pieces together at side seams.
- Sew two rows of gathering stitches, 3/8″ and 5/8″ from top edge of skirt.
- Pull bottom threads only to gather skirt to match width of bottom of bodice.
- Right sides together, place bodice inside skirt and pin together, matching gathered edge of skirt with bottom of bodice.
- Stitch bodice to skirt along pinned edge, also stitching 3/8″ clear elastic into seam for added strength and stretch recovery at waistline. I tried my dress on after this step and wanted the waist to sit a bit closer to my body, so sewed this seam again, stretching the clear elastic slightly while I stitched. This brought the waist in a perfect amount without causing gathers in the bodice.
- Turn dress right side out and remove visible gathering stitches. Press hem 1″ toward wrong side and stitch in place.
Great job! Make sure to tag #sewmuchado on Instagram if you make one!