Fitted dress with dolman sleeves


Style analysis: this shirt dress has an underbust cut that splits it into bodice and skirt. Skirt has mini length and is fitted and shaped through panel construction. Bodice has a loose fit and is manipulated to have dolman sleeves without shoulder seams and pleats at underbust for even more volume.
Shirt details are the classic collar and cuff and the buttoned closure.

You can sew it in any light to medium weight woven fabric, as popeline, denim or canvas.

Draft the pattern by tracing a copy of your basic dress with darts and 10cm wearing ease at bust circumference.
You can learn our method for drafting perfectly made to measure basic blocks (contoured ones, and the ones with wearing ease) and for fitting them in our basic blocks course/module 1.

Step 1

Trace back and front separate, then adjust the length to 15cm above knee or desired measurement.

On front, highlight underbust line and draw the button closure this way:

  • draw a line parallel to center front, inwards by 2cm
  • draw another line parallel to center front, outwards by 2cm.

This way you identify a section 4cm wide that is button stand (i.e. the space for buttons and buttonholes). Cut through the line to separate front from button stand.

Step 2

Trace the button stand separate and mirror it to make it 8cm wide (it will be folded in half to be attached to front concealing the seam allowance).

Draw the slash line that divides bodice and skirt:

  • on back, line is parallel to waistline and 6 to 9cm above it
  • on front, line is slanted: it starts on side seam at matching level to back and raises in center front above underbust level (we suggest by 3cm).
    Widen front waist dart so that it is 3cm wide from slash line to waist.

On both pieces, square down from dart bottom apex to get the panels.


Step 3

Cut through the lines and separate the pieces:

  • back bodice: reduce dart to 2cm and discard 2cm from center back blending to zero at nape point
  • center back skirt and side back skirt, removing dart volume
  • front dart, still with both darts
  • center front skirt and side front skirt, removing dart volume
  • button stand.

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