Dolman Sleeve Tops

Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is make a dolman sleeve top. After several false starts, I finished one.yellow dolmanI liked it so much, I made a second one. This time with long sleeves and a neck dolmanI’ve seen tutorials for altered Tee shirts to dolman sleeves and have thought that I ought to try. I even have a Tee to try it with. When it came down to it though, I didn’t like the shoulder line on my Tee and decided against using it. I did have a length of cotton interlock in my stash that would be perfect for testing out a dolman pattern. The tutorials I’ve seen use an existing top, either a dolman sleeve or regular Tee. Since I have a Tee pattern that I like, I used it as my starting point instead.

All I did was line up the top of the sleeve cap seamline with the bodice shoulder seamline. The sleeve can angle down some or it can be a straight extension of the shoulder line. I chose to make it straight with the shoulder because I wanted more range of motion in the sleeve. This of course makes for more excess fabric in the underarm area. It’s a trade off, otherwise known as a design choice.

dolman patternTo make my pattern, I placed the center back seam of the Tee pattern along the edge of some paper. Rather than make a full pattern, this one will have a foldline on the center front and back. The sleeve of the original pattern was folded along the center and lined up at the shoulder seam. Notice how the shoulder seam on the bodice already has a seam allowance and the sleeve portion will need one to be added to it. That’s why they don’t match up exactly. I’ve also drawn a new underarm curve for the dolman seam. I used this same pattern piece for both the front and the back for the first top. That’s it. It’s a simple pattern to sew, too. 

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11 Responses to Dolman Sleeve Tops

  1. Lene says:

    I really like your t-shirts – the yellow one in particular. The colour look so great on you. I just recently found your blog and I am glad I did 🙂

  2. Sarah Liz says:

    Hi Lucy – thank you for showing us how you did the dolman alteration. This is a lovely little top (s) – and as always you look so elegant in them. I’ve set a up a wordpress account and will one day have a different blog about sewing there. but blogger is still my main everyday chatty blog – I thought I should let you know lest you get confused about my ID! Your tropical garden is gorgeous 🙂

    • I am happy to share sewing knowledge always! Especially if I think others are interested. Thanks for the comments on our garden too. My husband is the mastermind behind the garden. He does most of the work there. Louisiana isn’t quite tropical, but we can garden year round. Don’t you just love the purple berries of the Spanish mulberry in the background of the pictures!

  3. Mosaic Magpie says:

    Thank you for showing us how you altered an existing pattern. Both tops look great on you and there does not seem to be too much fabric under the arm. The pattern alteration is a great trick to know. Ever tried it on a jacket?

  4. nita Butler says:

    I love like the length of the sleeve on the yellow one. And love the fabric you chose for the blue one.
    Thanks for the explanation on how to create a dolman sleeve.

    • LOL, the length of the sleeve on the yellow top was dictated by the width of the fabric that I had! I only had enough for one length of the pattern. The blue top wasn’t quite as wide, but I had enough for two lengths. I was able to cut the sleeves long using the full width and not half.

  5. Beverly says:

    Your tops turned out really nice. Thanks for sharing your alterations; those will come in handy as I intend to make a couple of those tops for winter.

  6. Jeannette says:

    Wonderfully looking tops! From someone who rarely sews these look super.

  7. Pingback: The Good and the Bad with Knits | playfulstitching

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