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Easy Baby Doll Top

Sep 25, 2013

Do you have a t-shirt and some extra fabric laying around? Why not make a baby doll top? I had some  plain t-shirts that no longer fit comfortably over my belly. I didn’t mind cutting them up, so I grabbed some matching fabric in a fun print and started choppin’ away!This top will give you LOTS of growing room. Whether you’re showing a little or a lot, I’d definitely recommend a belt  to reign in some of the extra fabric. I used a t-shirt, but this will work with most knit/stretch tops that fit your upper body comfortably.

You’ll need:

A plain t-shirt  (The shirt will be cut below the armhole. If your shirt has writing or graphics, make sure they fall below this point.)

Fabric- (I used approx. 1 yard of cotton fabric. You may need more depending on the length you prefer.) See step 4 for measurements.

Tailor’s chalk or temporary marking tool

1/4″ elastic for sleeves (Enough for 2 upper arm measurements + seam allowances)

Matching thread

Interfacing – fusible

Curved Ruler – optional

Desired Top Length – Measure from shoulder to hip area

Step 1

Lay out your t-shirt, matching seams and smoothing out wrinkles.

Mark a point 1″ below each armscye (armhole). Using  tailor’s chalk, draw a straight line to connect both points. Cut along this line.

Step 2

Measure your new shirt length from shoulder seam to raw edge. Put this number to the side.

Find the center front of the raw edge. Place a mark 1″ above this point.

(For front of shirt only.)  Begin at the side edge, draw a slight arc,  passing through the marked point to opposite edge. (Use a curved ruler if available)

Cut along the new curved line. (Front of shirt only.)

Step 3

Apply interfacing to the raw edges of the shirt to stabilize it. I cut mine 1.5 wide. (If using woven interfacing, cut on the bias for added stretch.)

Step 4

(Determine length of fabric for skirt)

Take your desired top length and subtract the length of the top that you wrote down earlier. Add  a 1″ seam allowance. This is your length.

For your width, measure the width of the shirt from side seams. Multiply this number by 1.5. This is your width. (If you’re not pregnant, multiply top width by 1.2 to decrease skirt fulness.)

My example,

Desired top length – 28″

Shirt length – 10″

Shirt width – 19.5″

28″ – 10″ + 1″ seam allowance  – (Length of fabric)

19.5″ x 1.25 = 29.25 -  (Width of fabric)

Make sure you have enough fabric to cut out 2 pieces using your calculated length and width.


Step 5

(Sleeves) Open small section in current hem of sleeve (under sleeve). Feed elastic through the existing casing. Sew the elastic closed. Stitch the hem closed using matching thread.

Step 6


(If you’d like to add in-seam pockets, follow my tutorial here before sewing the sides of your skirt)

With right sides facing, sew the sides of the skirt using 1/2″ seam allowance.

(Working with the front of the skirt only) Starting 1/2″ from side seam, sew 1 to 2 rows of basting/gathering stitches to opposite seam. Repeat for the back of the skirt. Do not cross over side seams.

Step 7

Turn skirt inside out and lay flat. Place top inside of the skirt. The top edge of the skirt should be lined  (rt sides of skirt and top should be touching.) Match side seams of top with side seams of skirt and pin.

Gently gather the skirt (front, then back) until the skirt is the same width as the top. Pin in place.

Attach the skirt to the top using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Make sure to catch all of the gathers.

Step 8

Turn the top right side out. Press the seams upward.

Hem your new top using a 1″ seam allowance.


That’s it!

If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping by!






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  • [...] so you don't miss anything. You never know what's right around the corner :-)I’m over at DIYmaternity today, but I wanted to post a quick picture of this super easy baby doll top. Even if you’re [...]

  • so cute. You look fabulous in it :)

    • Thank you, Tricia!

  • Super cute Shannon….I may adapt this for a grandmother who would is hoping never to be pregnant again. I’ll gladly leave that stage of life to the younger crowd!

    • LOL! That made me smile!

      BTW, your grandchildren are beautiful, and I love your plaid creation for Project Run & Play.

  • i love seeing the before shirt. I immediately thought that it wasn’t nice enough to make a cute top … once reading the tutorial I was pretty amazed! The elasticized arms did the trick. <3


    • Thank you, Mae. To be honest with you, I thought the same thing at first. I hardly wore the t-shirt because it was so plain, unless I tucked it into a pair of jeans. I’m really glad I changed it up. I’ll probably wear it more now that I did before. :)

  • Cute maternity money saving idea :)

    • Oh, sure, and thank you. I’m all for saving money, especially since I know that most of my maternity clothes will be folded up and stored once the baby arrives. :) It also keeps my creative juices flowing trying to think “outside the box” and figure out fun ways to cover this growing belly.

      • I am from germany but i relaly love and enjoy to visit your blog at least once a month. these pictures are relaly outstanding and awesome so I just want to say thx alot for your work which inspires me continously. the second picture in this post is so amazing, so innocent but still so powerful i love it!

  • Cute maternity saving idea :)

  • Super cute! I’m going to try it with a sleeveless tunic dress I have. I like the dress but always have to wear a T-shirt with it because it keeps sleeping down (doesn’t help that my toddler likes to hang onto my legs). Is the elastic on the arms necessary? I have chunky bicepts and most tops fit me really tight on my arms (I am so selfconscious about it)?

    Thanks :-)

    • Hi Kharla! What a great idea to use your tunic dress. (Why do our toddlers like to hang on to our legs? LOL) Elastic in the sleeves is not necessary. I used a man’s t-shirt and thought the cut was “boyish” on me, so I added elastic. If you have a shirt that is already flattering, by all means use “as is” and leave the elastic out.

  • You are a genius! I can’t wait to try this! Thank you so much for sharing! God bless!

    • Hi Celeste! Thank you. I hope it turns out beautifully.

  • Thank you for posting this very simple tutorial I have been looking for some way I could use clothing and materials I already have. This is so easy!! I am starting a few shirts tomorrow for my daughter who is due in July.

    • Congratulations on the new grand baby, Monica!
      I loved that I could recycle t-shirts and fabric from my stash. Have fun!

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