Dawson Top Sewing Pattern

HelenDawson Top8 Comments

Spotlight On: The Dawson Top

Dawson Top Sewing Pattern

We’re continuing our deep dive into the new STUDIO collection today with a true wardrobe workhorse—the Dawson Top. We love including wearable basics in our pattern line and we have been pondering a layering top for some time now. With all the overalls and pinafores and tank tops we already have, a tighter-fitting knit top makes perfect sense! Easy to layer under almost all our patterns, the Dawson Top fits right in to the Helen’s Closet Patterns family

Cover illustration for the Dawson Top from Helen's Closet Patterns


The Dawson Top is designed to be a tried and true closet staple. Three necklines and three sleeve lengths make nine total combinations of this design!

Dawson Top Technical Illustration

You can sew a Dawson Top for all seasons and countless different styling opportunities. We love this design as a layering top under overalls, dresses, and pinafores. It also looks great paired with your favourite jeans or leggings. Make Dawson in Merino wool for an excellent base layer, or try it in bamboo jersey for a soft and comfy tee. The mock neck view is excellent in a rib knit or sweater knit and can easily be dressed up for office or semi-formal attire. Dawson is quick, easy, and does not require a lot of fabric. This beginner-friendly pattern is one you will surely use again and again!

Dawson Top Sewing Pattern - Mock Neck View
Dawson Top Sewing Pattern
Dawson Top Sewing Pattern - Crew Neck View with Long Sleeves


Dawson is a fitted knit top that is designed to hug the curves of the body. It is not super tight but nor does it have much excess. It is the ideal layering piece! Two PDF patterns are provided with different size charts. The first is range 0-22 based on a B-cup block. The second is range 12-34 based on a D-cup block. There is an overlap from sizes 12-22 where you can choose which size range you would like to use. 

Dawson Top Sewing Pattern
Dawson Top Sewing Pattern


It is possible to sew Dawson on a home sewing machine! A serger or overlocker is not required. You can construct Dawson using a zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine or you can construct Dawson using your serger, it is up to you! Dawson is simple and fast to make—you could even make multiples in one sewing session! 

Dawson Top Sewing Pattern - Scoop Neck and Mock Neck


We couldn’t resist including quite a few views when we designed this pattern. After all, a simple base tee like Dawson can be easily modified into so many looks with different necklines and sleeves! We settled on three necklines: a relaxed crew (which is slightly larger than a traditional crew), a scoop neck (almost a ballet neck), and a mock neck (a baby turtleneck, if you will). We also have three sleeve options for Dawson: a short sleeve, a just-above-the-elbow sleeve, and a long sleeve. Sleeve length can be easily customized to include any length in between! With these three views, we can create NINE different Dawson Tops. Here they are all mocked up:

Technical illustrations of all nine possible views of the Dawson Top sewing pattern.


Dawson works best in stretch knits with at least 40% stretch horizontally (cross-grain) and at least 20% stretch vertically (along the grainline). Cotton jersey, cotton spandex/elastane, bamboo jersey, modal jersey, Merino jersey, Tencel jersey, rib knits, and ITY (Interlock Twist Yarn) knits will work well. Lightweight sweater knits and bamboo French terry will also work well, but heavier/bulkier sweater knits are not recommended.

Dawson Top Sewing Pattern
Dawson Top Sewing Pattern - Crew Neck View with Short Sleeves
Dawson Top Sewing Pattern

Final Thoughts

I have been so pleased to finally have a tighter layering tee in our collection. I love wearing Dawson under my Ruby and Yanta Overalls and Reynolds Dresses. I can’t wait to try hacking this top into a bodycon dress this fall! I also have a pile of knits designated for turtlenecks when the weather is cooler again. If I had to choose a favourite view of Dawson, it would be the short sleeve with the scoop neck. It’s just so cute and comfy—I love it! 

Dawson Top Sewing Pattern
About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

8 Comments on “Spotlight On: The Dawson Top”

  1. Hi Helen! The dawson top is lovely! Love all the possibilities. I was wondering if I want to sew one but I dont really want it to hug my curves so much…should I go just one size larger or more? Thanks!

    1. Hi Julie,

      Sizing up one size should do it! You can also straighten out the side seams so it is less form-fitting through the waist.

      Thanks for sewing Dawson!

  2. Love this pattern! I’m pretty new to knits but I’ve made some great short and long sleeved turtlenecks this winter for layering. If I wanted to do a sleeveless hack (keeping the turtleneck/mock neck) for summer, do you think it’s as easy as just omitting the sleeves and finishing the arm openings? Maybe I could finish the openings similar to the Luna instructions? Any advice is welcome

    1. Hi Christina,

      Great hack idea! I will have to add this one to my list! I would suggest making a muslin to try this out. I suspect you will want to bring in the top of the shoulder a bit and potentially raise the bottom of the armhole. It depends on the fit you are looking for!

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