Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Dolmaniacs Sew-along: Colourblocking your pattern

colourblock dolman 3

Colourblocking is still a bit trend this year. And a dolman top is the perfect shape to colourblock as you don't have to worry about what colour to make a set-in sleeve or to piece it.

colourblock Dolman 4

I farmed four old tees for their fabric (and so I could retain the hem like yesterday's post), but you could use normal fabric too.  Let's adapt the pattern!

colourblock1 divide pattern

Trace off another front and back piece.  Starting with the front piece, measure the height from the shoulder seam at the neck point to the hem.  I am making a four colour top so I take this measurement and subtract one inch (the hem allowance) and divide by four.  A three-colour would look awesome too, so if you want to do that instead divide by three :)  Starting at the shoulder seam, measure down this number and draw a line perpendicular to the centre front fold.  Then measure down from this line and draw another perpendicular line, and then another.  The top three pieces will be equal, the bottom piece will be one inch taller.  Transfer these lines to the back piece.

colourblock 2 split pattern with SA

Cut along these lines.  You will now need to add seam allowances in.  The top piece get's SA at the bottom edge, the middle two pieces get SA on both edges, and the bottom piece gets SA on the top edge.  If you want to, trace all four pieces with the SA added but as they are straight lines I'm just going to add them as I cut.  It helps that I have a clear ruler!

colourblock 3 disregard hem

As I am using t-shirts, I'm going to retain the hem just like yesterday's post so the bottom piece is overhung by one inch. If you are hemming, line it up right along the bottom edge.

colourblock 4 add seam allowance

When I cut the top edge, see how I use my ruler to add the seam allowance?

colourblock 5 add SA 2

And repeat the process for each piece, remembering that the two middle pieces get SA on both edges.

colourblock 6 sew together

Once they are all cut, piece them together along each straight edge. Remember that they should always be right sides facing so no seams end up on the wrong side!  Then press all of the seams down towards the hem.  If they are pesky and want to pop up, you could topstitch them down using a slightly longer stitch (3.5+) from the right side, but I didn't find it necessary.

colourblock 7 side seams

Now assemble your shirt as per the general instructions.  When you sew the side seam, sew from the armpit down to the hem so the seam allowances that you pressed down stay facing down. Pay particular attention to getting your stripes to match up!

colourblock 8 finished top


  1. Very nice and very on-trend!

  2. What a great idea and as good for the oldies as the young. Thanks for sharing.

  3. lovely! i decided that the waffle fabric i had was too dull on its own to make a tee, but with the colourblocking idea you might have saved it!

  4. Love the color of these Tight Dresses. (