And Now for Something Completely Different: Dolman sleeve dress

The vast relief I felt last weekend after finishing/posting my Mini Wardrobe (voting in the contest goes until the 11th, so if you’re a Pattern Review member – and I highly recommend it, that site is a terrific resource – head on over to the contest gallery and get your vote on!) soon gave way to feeling slightly adrift and without purpose in the sewing department. I had a lot of practical sorts of things planned to make next (more pants! shirt for Halloween costume!), but none of them made me feel particularly motivated. I wanted to make something random and unplanned. I started digging through my stash, to see if there was any fabric I’d forgotten about that would speak to me. And what do you know, there was! I pulled out a cool geometric print jersey that I’d ordered from Girl Charlee last fall because I loved it, but hadn’t been able to match it to a pattern. Something simple seemed best… what if I turned the Cation Designs Dolman Sleeve Top into a dress? So that’s what I did:


Yes, apparently I’m making fall clothes now. (All those leaves on the ground are contributing to the illusion that it wasn’t still like 75 degrees yesterday.) I didn’t mean to make a fall dress, necessarily, but it just turned out that way. It does actually kind of make me excited for fall though (which, here, will arrive in approximately 8 weeks).

I started with the dolman sleeve top pattern and pulled the skirt pattern from Vogue 1224 (love that pattern!). I shortened the top by 4 inches, so it would hit at my waist with still a little blousing (I determined this using the extremely scientific method of putting the top I made from this pattern on and belting it at the waist, then measuring from the hem band to the belt). I cut the Vogue skirt a bit bigger than the size 14 to give more ease in the skirt (for biking, since this jersey has very little stretch), and I added one inch to the length (that skirt pattern is short!). Then I attached the skirt to the top and used the seam allowance to form a casing for elastic. Pretty easy!

I was originally going to just hem the sleeves rather than use the sleeve bands, but it turns out that the unbanded sleeves are an extremely unflattering length for me, so I went with the bands. The skirt also ended up a bit shorter than I’d like, necessitating the tights, so that plus the longer-than-intended sleeves fall-ified the dress completely.

I put the whole thing together in just a few podcasts (apparently I count time in Fresh Air episodes now), with the most time-consuming part actually being threading the elastic through the casing at the waist (which would have taken a lot less time if I’d made the casing just a tiny bit wider…) And now that I’ve gotten my randomness back, I seem to have recovered my planning mojo. Onwards, then, to the fall of pantsmaking!

  1. Pat said:

    I lost my sewing mojo thanks to a major sewing disaster. Since your shirt looked great and you said the pattern was easy, I decided to give it a try. It was just what I need to get the mojo back. I get a lot of compliments on the shirt. The dress you made from it looks great. Of course, now I want to check out the latest and greatest from Girl Charlee. Just to look, not to buy. Right…

  2. sewdjsew said:

    Great looking dress. Your latest contest results truly inspired me.

  3. Adorable as always! You pick just the right look for you everytime!

  4. Oh gosh, I have completely misplaced my sewing mojo after cranking 5 garments out last month, too! This dress is so cute, and an awesome way to get back into your sewing groove (and kudos on the biking in a dress! I have been meaning to try it but feel that I would end up totally indecent…LOL). I decided last month that I was going to make an entire Halloween costume AND an “advanced” rated dress this month. HA. Right.

  5. No way! This dress is awesome, and I would never have though of adding a skirt to my top to make a dress…hmmm…I have a similar fabric in my stash that’s calling me name now…

  6. Katherine said:

    This dress is so cute, I can’t even deal. Hi! I don’t visit your blog enough.

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