Pattern Puzzle | Cut The Trends | Pattern Fundamentals | Pattern Insights | Pattern Fix | First Sample | Design & Illustration | Vintage Patterns | well-suited archive

Pattern Puzzle - The Dolman Coat

Monday, September 15, 2014
So many fans dropped by on Saturday to work on our #PatternPuzzle, the conversation went on for most of the day.  And it seems it is the anonymous pattern shapes that cause the greatest dilemma.  After all they could be almost anything.The Dolman Coat

It's warm and cuddly, and it's reminiscent of the 1920's and Paul Poiret.  The Dolman Coat is based on a woven kimono block and the dolman feature is specific to the drape in the underarm area that reaches from the hem of the coat to the wrist.
  • From wikipedia - 'A dolman sleeve is a sleeve set into a very low armscye; in fact the armscye may extend to the waistline, in which case there will be no underarm seam in the blouse.'
  • From the dictionary - 'A kind of sleeve for a coat or dress, tapering from a wide opening at the armhole to a narrow one at the wrist.'
Traced out below is my knit kimono block, front and back together, laid out as a full pattern for this asymmetric design.  Please note the important 1cm difference between the front and the back on the shoulder/overarm seam.  To maintain balance in this simple shape it is essential that the back is higher than the front by 1cm.  Without it your garment will always lift in the front and drag towards the back.

Mark in the lines connecting the front neck to hem on the right side of the garment and the sleeves to the hemline, both sides.  Please note the hemline is marked as very narrow to create tension in the front line of the garment.  The shape on the left side of the garment is a wrap with a near right angle at the waist level.  Mark a sleeve opening back along the overarm seam - approx. 14-15cm (5 1/2-6").
Pattern Plan Dolman Coat
Trace out the back pattern shape, noting the CB line as a grain line reference.  Trace out the front right and left pattern pieces and add them to the back pattern to make one large pattern.  There is an advantage in placing the underarm line on the bias grain of the cloth.  If this pattern ends up too big for the cloth, a CB seam is very acceptable.
Dolman Coat
Trace the entire pattern, cleaning up the hemline/front edge of the coat to a straight line.  Smooth the point in the sleeve openings to a curve, between the notches.  This should make a more attractive sleeve opening.

Please note the alternate grain lines suggested on the pattern.  If the grain runs at a right angle to the CB line then the underarm area (dolman) is on the bias grain for the best drape.  However if you need to reduce waste in your fabric usage, you can place the grain line parallel to the hemline/front edge.  This will allow better interlocking of other sizes in the cutting layout.
Final Sewing Patterns
The finish on the sleeve openings needs an open seam for the overarm that will fold back and lead into a hem for the sleeve openings. The finish for the neckline and outside edge of the jacket would be a narrow self-facing.  If possible, this coat would look great cut in a double face fabric using a self-bind finish for the outside edge.

Hope you enjoy the post and let me know if you have any questions through the comments section below.
Enjoy :)

Share this blog post:

lrene commented on 23-May-2016 05:35 AM
Great talent & thanks for sharing. I am definitely going to try xx
Anita - studiofaro commented on 23-May-2016 09:55 AM
Thanks Irene. I'm pleased you enjoy the posts. Let me know if you have any questions. I'm always happy to help. :)
Gisèle Lévesque commented on 01-Aug-2016 02:07 PM
Je vais le faire comme robe de chambre et plus tard comme manteau Printemps-Été.
Anita - studiofaro commented on 01-Aug-2016 04:24 PM
Hi Gisele, thanks for dropping by. Yes I think it would be a great dressing gown or summer coat. :) I have a short winter version for the car and I think I'd like to make a long one in light knit. Please feel free to share your photos when they are complete.

Salut Gisele, merci pour laisser tomber par. Oui, je pense que ce serait un grand manteau de robe de chambre ou en été. :) J'ai une version hivernale courte pour la voiture et je pense que je voudrais faire un long en maille légère. se sentir libre S'il vous plaît de partager vos photos quand ils sont complets.

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.


Using my content

All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available for HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use my content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

Recent Posts

FREE Members Area Articles - Become a Member


All my sewing patterns.
These are the first of my sewing patterns as PDF downloads for you to buy and sew.  The more I sell the more time I have to make new ones.  So if you fancy supporting the work I do here on the well-suited blog, this is your opportunity.  These patterns are based on my size chart listed here on the website.


All my garment blocks.
Garment blocks are the basic template we use to make fashion patterns.  They are not patterns in themselves as they have no design detail.  My garment blocks also don't have any seam allowances as they are never sewn together once the fit is perfected.  If you look at any of my Pattern Puzzle posts you'll see that I usually start with a block then modify to achieve my new design idea.  These garment blocks are also based on my size chart as required for the mass production of fashion clothing.


My fashion design, illustration and pattern making worksheets and instructions are based on the teaching methods and blocks used at Studio Faro in my workshops & workbooks.  Subscribe to receive email updates.

About Studio Faro

The challenging patterns, the exciting new design trends and the impossible drapes; that's what I live for.  Disclaimer: These new ideas are offered here for testing and are offered without guarantee.  Allow yourself time and space to truly test and perfect the patterns for all your new ideas.  And please don't give yourself a hard time if the first toile is less than perfect.  It's simply part of a process. Enjoy :)

Using my content

All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

Back to Top