Dolman sleeve tunic top-FREE Pattern

Learn to sew a flattering Dolman style Top or Tunic; Draft the pattern to your measurement and stitch this versatile and forgiving style.
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Dolman sleeve refers to a sleeve formed from the same fabric as the bodice of the top or dress. It has no definition in the armscye and the side seams form a line from the waist to the sleeve hem. You can have a dolman sleeve style with loose sleeves as well as tapered sleeve hem.

dolman sleeve top

Surprisingly this seemingly baggy looking silhouette is a versatile style that is very forgiving and flattering to all body shapes. This style looks good on slim girls as well as heavy girls, depending on the neckline and drape of the fabric you have chosen.The range of motion and comfort this style gives is commendable. It is roomy enough for comfort but at the same time, you can layer it with a nice jacket also.

This pattern can be made into a short top or as a tunic. I like the look of a dolman style top with a pencil skirt. Tunic looks good with figure hugging tights or jeans

You have to decide on the correct style of necklines and sleeve length suitable for your body when sewing a Dolman style top or tunic.

How to select the suitable Dolman sleeve top or tunic for you

If you are petite, make sure that you have not selected a very thick knit with too much volume to sew this top, because extra volume under the arm could look overwhelming for the figure.You may end up looking lost in the extra cloth that dolman style brings.

If you are too skinny this top adds the necessary bulk to your frame, clinging to your figure in the right places.

If you have a top heavy figure make sure that you select a neckline which will flatter you like a V neck or a wide scoop neck – do not go for boat neck or jewel neck.

This style suits a pear shaped body also as it helps maintain balance by adding to the top portion 

It is always better to select a soft drapey material like silk, rayons and poplins to sew this top.

A loose Dolman top pattern

dolman top pattern

How to sew this dolman sleeve pattern

Cut out the pattern pieces . The below given one is the back pattern.

cut out the dolman sleeve  top from the pattern

Then cut out the front pattern 

dolman top -front pattern

cut out the pieces for the small pocket ( decorative) and the sleeve bands ( 2 strips of fabric 2.5 inch wide and the length of the sleeve edge.)

cut out the pocket and the binding strips

Sew the edges of the top of the patch pocket and press the side edges inside.

sew the edge of the pocket

Attach it to the bodice

press and sew the pocket in place

Sew the shoulder seams together for the front and back bodice. I made a french seam here so that the raw edges would not be visible as the fabric is transparent

sew a french seam for the dolman sleeve top

Press the fabric strip for the sleeve band by the middle. Keep it under the sleeve edge and stitch in place joining the edges together. 

sew the sleeve egde and the armband edge of the dolman top

Turn the band to the right side.

bind the edge

Stitch the band in place

stitch the band in place

Hem the bottom edge of the front and back bodice with a bias strip. Keep it right sides togther and make a binding to the inside. 

hem the bottom edge of the dolman top - diy tutorial

Join the side seams together.

Bind the neckline edge with bias strip. Remember to start binding from the back.

bind the neckline

Method 2. How to make pattern to sew a Dolman sleeve  Tunic or Kurta ( more fitting)

pattern for a long dolman sleeve top

Fold the cloth along the center line ( This pattern uses a single pattern for front and back part)

Leave a 1/2″ on top of the cloth and start marking along the fold

A-B = Full length needed + 2″

Mark A-D which is the armhole depth as per the table below

armhole depth chart according to the bust measurement

A-R = 2″ ( or as needed for back neck)

Mark A-C Neck width as per the table below (C-S which is neck depth can be taken as per table or as per your preference 

neck depth and neck width according to the bust measurement

A-E = Length to waist from shoulder
A-N = Length to hip ( If it is a tunic, mark N at length to hip)

D-G = 1/4 of chest round+ 1 “
E-F = 1/4 of waist round+ 1″
N-O = 1/4 of hip round+ 2″

A-H = Half of shoulder + 1/4″

P-R = Half of sleeve round + 1″
P-Q = 3/4 “

M-L = 1″ Draw a curved line joining B-L

Join F-R

Give a 1/2″ seam allowance along the side seam L-F-R and along C-I-Q(Shoulder seam)

Steps to stitching the Dolman top

  • Finish the neck facings ( Front and back)
  • Join the shoulder seam; Do the sleeve hem
  • Join the side seams ; Do the bottom hem

 Checkout the detailed sewing tutorial to make a tunic which is similar.  Another way to make this top is to do away with the shoulder seam totally i.e treat the fold line of your fabric as the seam as we do with a Kaftan top pattern 

You can embellish your top with embroidery

METHOD 3.Another way of making a dolman sleeve top pattern 

Another easy way of sewing a Dolman sleeved top is by making a circle and sew just two seams as follows.

Mark a circle on a wide cloth with radius = Height of the top you want + 2″

sew an easy top with a lot of flare

Fold the round fabric piece in half and iron this half-way mark. This will be your shoulder line.

Leaving it folded, fold the fabric in half again down the center front line. Now you have 4 thicknesses half the width of the fabric

The lower mark of A-G is the front neck and A-H is the Back neckline. With the fabric pinned to secure, cut through the Back neckline first. Then Open up the whole cloth. Fold the entire length of fabric in half, matching up the ironed shoulder lines, so that the fabric lays on the table full length and half the width of the fabric. At the center front neck mark, cut a gentle curve up to the edge of the back neck at the shoulder line through A-H.Now you have your neck opening cut out.

Try it out over your head to make sure the head opening is accurate- if not snip just a little bit more maybe 1/2 – 1″ at the neckline (Be careful that you donot make too big an opening)

How to finish the neckline of a Dolman sleeved tunic top

Cover the edge with double fold wide bias tape, starting and ending at the back neck. Turn under the last 1/4″ of tape and overlap at least 3/8″ for the most professional finish. If you are using a stretch fabric, the caftan neck is simple (if you have a curved neck opening). Iron the fabric to turn under 1/2″ and then go to the sewing machine. As you sew, scoot the raw edge under the turn so that you get a 1/4″ finished turned edge. You will need to stretch the fabric a bit at the shoulder and at the center front to make the curves lie flat.

 Check out the free  leggings pattern and sewing tutorial with gussets which you can sew with any woven or knit fabric or the comfortable pajama pants diy pattern and sewing tutorial 

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Dolman sleeve tunic top-FREE Pattern”

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Many of us are desperate for ideas and directions for sewing while we are forced to stay at home. I appreciate what you have provided here and will certainly begin work today on one of the designs.

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