Dolman Color Blocked Dress Tutorial

I originally shared this tutorial during Family Ever After’s Sewlebrity Crush series – here it is again in case you missed it!

What are we making today? A Dolman Color Blocked Dress! I made this one for my 2 month old (who’s now 4 months this week!), but the instructions will work for any size or age – you could even make it into a tunic or top for yourself!

If you’re nervous to color block, read my Color Blocking Basics HERE before getting started! And yep, even babies can color block :).

Here we go…

– 3 different solid colored fabrics from same color family (all pastels, all jewel tones, all neons, etc) – amount needed will vary based on size of dress/tunic you’re making

– 2 buttons
– existing well-fitting dress or tunic to trace

*Seam allowances to be 1/2″ unless otherwise noted.*

1. Start by stitching your solid colored fabrics together into a size that’s slightly larger than your existing dress (remember that you’ll need a piece large enough to cut a front and back).

2. Fold front and back fabric pieces in half and lay flat with folds aligned.

3. Fold your existing dress in half down the midline and align it with the folds of your fabric. Trace around lower portion of existing dress, adding room for seam allowance. When reaching the upper portion of the dress, trace outwards as pictured, creating a dolman sleeve. The traced sleeve should begin lower on the fabric than the existing dress. Since our dress will have a boat neck, trace only a slight curve on the neckline.

4. Cut out both layers of fabric along traced line.

5. Use a pen to mark where edge of shoulder will be. You can use the existing dress to find the point or hold the dress up to the wearer.

6. Serge or zig zag stitch along entire upper raw edge of front and back and on each sleeve area to bottom of sleeve.

7. Place front and back pieces right sides together, matching serged/zig zagged edges. On each side, stitch a few inches from the edge of the fabric toward the shoulder mark. Stop stitching about 1″ from shoulder mark. These amounts will vary with each size, so use your judgement.

8. Press each seam allowance open, and press front and back necklines 1/2″ toward wrong side.

9. Topstitch 1/4″ from pressed/stitched edge on each side.

10. Press each sleeve area 1/2″ toward wrong side, tapering off where serged/zig zagged edge stops.

11. Topstitch 1/4″ from pressed edge on each side,creating sleeve hem.

12. Right sides together, stitch front and back together at side edges. Serge or zig zag stitch raw edges and press seam allowance.

13. To make loops for buttons, cut two pieces as long as your loop needs to be, and 4x the width you would like your loop. I cut my pieces each 1″x4″.

14. Press each loop piece in half, then open and press each long raw edge in to center fold. Press again along center fold.

15. Stitch close to open edge along length of each loop piece.

16. Fold loop in half and stitch to inside of dress back along neckline, 1/2″-1″ in from shoulder mark. It’ll help to try the dress on at the point – the loop needs to be close enough to the shoulder mark that there’s enough room for the neck when being worn, but far enough away from the shoulder mark that the dress will comfortably stay in place when being worn.

17. Fold loop over to dress front to mark button placement on each side and stitch buttons in place.

18. Hem dress as desired – I serged the raw edge and pressed it 1/2″ toward the wrong side. If not using a serger, I would press the raw edge to the wrong side and then press again to get a nice clean hem.

Voila, you’re done!

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  1. SO adorable! And the dress is pretty cute too ;) Those colors are awesome together. I have material on my sewing machine table for a chiffon color blocked top, I can’t wait!

  2. I think we need more pictures of that little Lola! She’s my favorite part. Of course it doesn’t hurt that you dress her so cute either. :)

  3. What an adorable dress! I love the color-blocking trend. Now to play with my fabrics for the perfect color combination!

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