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I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of wonderful nieces and nephews! We usually get something small for each kid for Christmas, and I wanted to make something handmade for them this year. I am a big fan of practical gifts that are also meaningful and thoughtful. I know a lot of kids probably don’t get super excited about getting clothes for Christmas, but I wanted to give them something that will last and that was made with love.
This year, we decided to get each of our nieces and nephews a book from Thriftbooks on a topic that they are interested in as well as a handmade pullover–checking the boxes of something practical but also something they are interested in!
I have eight nieces and nephews in the states that I will be making pieces for in addition to sewing for my own kids, so I needed a pattern that is quick and easy but also one that is versatile and has flexible sizing. I chose the Lowland Kids Dolman pullover because:
- It is beginner-friendly
- I can cut and sew each one in about 30 minutes
- It can be worn and layered for multiple seasons and occasions
- It is slightly oversized and doesn’t require exact measurements
Although this is a nice gift, it doesn’t cost me anything except for my time during a year with a lot of expenses. I have a lot of fabric on hand, including a lot of scrap pieces that I need to work through. Dolmans are easy to color-block and customize using fabric pieces left over from previous projects. If you don’t have fabric on hand, you could visit a local fabric store or better yet, upcycle some thrifted adult sweatshirts into a new gift for kids! If you have several nieces and nephews, your own children, or other kids in your life–I highly recommend this pattern for a quick and meaningful last-minute gift–even if you are a beginner at sewing!
Because I am sewing for so many kids, here is my process for making these dolmans efficiently:
Make a List of the Sizes
I asked my sister-in-laws for the sizes their kids wore and then made a list on my phone of how many of each size I would need.
Lay Out Patterns
After determining the sizes, I printed off and laid out each pattern. I like to put each pattern in a plastic folder with a sticky note that says the pattern and size and keep it in a 3 ringed binder. If you have a projector, you can skip this step!
Sort Fabric & Choose Colors
Next, I sort through my fabric scraps and find pieces big enough for each size. For larger shirts, I use bigger cuts or colorblock. For smaller sizes (like 2T and under), I can usually work through my smaller scraps and piece together a dolman.
Cut Out Everything at Once
I have a sewing closet–not a sewing room. Getting my cutting mats and supplies out is a lot of work and usually takes over my dining-room table, so I try to get this done all at once!
Batch Sew Like Colors
I like to use matching thread, so I sew the shirts that use similar colors at the same time. I usually sew a string of pieces for each shirt, cut the string, and then string together the next line. Then, I go back and cut, pull, and tie the serger threads. After that, I sew each individual shirt together and then repeat with the next thread color.
Wrap them Up!
I am purchasing some shirt boxes similar to these, am wrapping them in brown kraft paper, and tying them with a bow!
Even if you are just learning to sew, these dolmans are fairly simple and come together quickly. If you are an experienced sewist, you can add extra details like color-blocking, embroidery, or applique.
I’d love to see your creations if you choose to make and gift some Dolmans this year! Tag me on instagram @themilleracres so I can see and share your beautiful work!
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