So, I’ve had this Pinterest picture of a shirt from Liligal saved for a while – and it keeps popping up with different fabric designs. I’ve been wanting to hack it with something, but never had anything that was quite right, ya know? Well, when I got this Bluebell Cotton Lycra in from The Fab Clique Fabric Shoppe I KNEW IT WAS PERFECT. I mean, it’s basically my favorite color after all. I paired it with some plain black cotton lycra from my last trip to Spandex House and the High Hopes dolman from Ellie and Mac that I saw the amazing Joan use recently. And something awesome was born! So now I’m here to tell you how you can do it, too.
First, let’s talk base pattern. You can use whatever dolman pattern you like best, I did end up narrowing the fit of this one, so you may want one with a more slim fit depending on your preferences. This Ellie and Mac pattern uses the same pattern piece for both front and back, with only a different cut for the necklines, which made this hack easier. You can use something with different pieces but may end up with a slightly different fit.
Let’s get on with it already!
Step 1: Obviously you need to print out your pattern and get it taped up or print A0 so that you’re all prepped. Use your normal size, do any normal grading or body adjustments you typically need. Don’t start cutting anything yet.
Step 2: (Optional) Slim the underam/torso curve (see photo 1). The high hopes is very wide and I wanted a slimmer fit. This is kind of an eyeball it, but make sure the bottom edge doesn’t change, just the upper curve into the sleeve. Don’t worry too much about the sleeve height (I did) because by adding the straps you’ll have the ability to adjust it to fit later on.
Step 3: (Also optional) Shorten the sleeves! The original High Hopes has a long sleeve with a bit of a bishop/billowy look. I shortened the sleeve about 6″ and still could have done more. You could also keep it long sleeved and add the cuffs at the bottom for a slightly different look!
Step 4: Here’s where we get a little crazy. You’re going to measure and make a line 3″ in from the top/shoulder seam. Go straight across the neckline as if it isn’t even there. This is the MAJOR change. (See Photo 2 and 3-line A)
– 4A: Now, you’re going to create two necklines just like the original, but they’re barely necklines at all haha! For the back (line B) you’re going to angle/curve the very center down just a little bit from about 2″ away from the center. This is just so that the back doesn’t end up in a point from the angle of the shoulders.
-4B: Next is the front neckline, which I made to have a very slight sweetheart shape. I measured down another 1.5″ from the back line and made a notch along the front, and then marked about 4″ over from the edge along the first line we made. These are the “points” of the sweetheart neck, which can help you draw in a gradual curved shape (line C).
Now you can officially cut out your pattern, but remember to leave the sweetheart shape alone so you can cut the back piece out first, then cut away the sweetheart shape to cut your front.
Step 5: Making straps. Since we cut 3″ off the shoulders, we need double that for the straps. I decided to cut some extra length just in case, but ended up cutting them all down anyway. Your call if you wanna play it safe and waste some fabric or walk on the wild side like Simba. Anyway – I wanted 2″ width, so I cut them 4″ (plus seam allowance) wide and stitched them into a tube. Then, turn and press with the seam in the middle. This will be the underside of your strap, you can topstitch them if desired, I just gave them a good press. You’ll also want to cut the waistband – this pattern comes with a band but I made my own. Measure the width of the bottom, multiply by .8 and then add your seam allowance (twice because there’s two sides!). For the height, I wanted it to finish at 3″, so doubled over that needs to be 6″ plus seam allowances. (I used 1/2″ seams so added 1″ to each of those measurements)
Step 6: Baste your side seams RST and pin your straps to the shoulder seams. My bottom one is placed 1/2″ away from the edge, the inner most ones are placed to cover bra straps and the middle one is half way in between. You’ll have to measure this out yourself based on your specific size. Once pinned or clipped in place, try it on. Make sure they’re all sitting in a good place and trim them shorter if you need to. I trimmed mine back to the original 6″+seam allowance and I decided to angle the top strap just slightly to cover my bra strap better – only about 1/2″. Once you’re happy with placement, baste in place right sides together! WARNING: These will look really funny. Mine ended up looped around the bottom of the sleeve so it was easier to sew.
Step 7: Turn and hem along the top, over the straps, with your preferred method and the seam allowance included in your pattern. You can pull your basting stitches from the side seams to make this easier. Stitch the side seams, hem the ends of the sleeves and add your waistband… and you’re done!
Finally, I want to talk real quick about the image I put on my shirt. Did you know it’s actually me? I posted on the House of Curves website about how to make your own croquis model to design on and I used that! I colored in my design, where before it was just a sketch/outline and then loaded it into the Silhouette Studio software. It was my first time ever using the software so it took me a while to figure out, but I used the trace feature to turn it into a shape that was able to be cut and then used heat transfer vinyl. I decided it needed something more so I typed in the words “100% that bitch” and picked a font I liked and added that down the side. I think it made for the perfect finishing touch! (Also, shoutout and thanks to my sister for reminding me that not all vinyl needs to be added to the front and center, and that this can create a more interesting visual.)