There may be a more technical term for this make, but I see gathered sleeve dolman blouses everywhere this winter. Can you call it a bishop sleeve if it’s gathered and attached to a dolman shoulder? Who knows. Not me, obviously. Regardless of what it’s called, I wanted one! And I didn’t want to buy it, I wanted to make it. The hunt for the perfect pattern for it left me coming up empty, though, so I just decided to hack something into the right style. After popular demand on Instagram, I’m here today with a DIY gathered sleeve dolman blouse tutorial for you!
DIY Gathered Sleeve Dolman Blouse
What You Need
- A dolman top/pattern you like the fit of — I used the Kalle.
- Approximately 2 – 2 1/4 yards fabric
- Bias tape for the neckline (purchased or made)
Hack Your Top
I started by adjusting the neckline of the Kalle since I didn’t want any sort of closure, just for it to slip right over my head. I moved the edge of the neck about two and a half or three inches in, and redrafted the neckline.
Then I extended the armscye (sleeve to shoulder seam) out about two inches, and straightened out the curve. The Kalle is more kimono than dolman, honestly, so I wanted to emphasize that lowered shoulder seam.
Next I cut out four rectangular sleeve pieces. My Kalle’s armscye was about 8 inches. I made the short end of the rectangles 10 inches, so that I could do some gathering. I made them 20 inches long, because I am a gangly gal, and also because I love the drape of a long sleeve caught in a cuff. To get to 20 inches, I just measured a (normal) sleeve I like the length of and subtracted an inch. You do want four pieces, so that you can get a comfortable button cuff on.
The last pieces I cut were the cuffs. I just wanted simple button cuffs, so mine are rectangles, 4 1/2″ x 10″. They’re a little less than 2″ wide when they’re finished. Adjust your width to your preference, adding in seam allowances. To get the long side measurement, measure your wrist at about the tightness you’d like a cuff. Add in seam allowances and about an inch for a button tab, and there you go!
Using the Kalle Expansion Pack
I mentioned on Instagram that I thought this hack would be even easier with the Kalle expansion pack, which gives you sleeves to work with. Now, I had the best intentions of actually trying that before I wrote this tutorial, but alas — my printer is out of ink.
If I’m envisioning the pattern pack correctly, though, it should be a simple hack. Add two inches to the sleeve width, and extend that line down to the bottom edge (don’t taper the sleeve). Add a few extra inches to the sleeve length, too. Proceed as directed — you can use their cuff and everything!
Sewing up your DIY Gathered Sleeve Dolman Blouse
This blouse hack is so simple, you can easily knock one out in an afternoon. Although there may be much more professional ways of doing this, I think my methodology is the easiest!
I start by sewing the shoulder seams, and then make sure I can fit it over my head. If yes — I finish off the neckline with bias tape. Boom! Done.
Next I sew one side seam in each sleeve pair. Stop about three inches from the bottom of the sleeve, to allow for the cuff placket thingy (yes, that’s the technical term). If you’re going to serge your seams, do that now. If you don’t have a serger, you can bias tape them later, or just use pinking shears like yours truly. Turn the seam allowance in 1/4″, and then another 1/4″. Sew up about a half an inch above the apex of the seam, then sew across and down the other side. Put two lines of gathering stitches at the top (the completed seam end).
Adjust the gathers to match the width of the shoulder seam. Attach the sleeves, wrong sides together and completed seam to the top. Remove the gathering stitches. With right sides together, sew the sleeves and side seams together.
With right sides together, fold the cuff hot dog style. Sew at whatever seam allowance you gave yourself; clip corners, trim seams, and turn out.
Put two lines of basting stitches in at the bottom of the sleeve, between the two finished edges of the cuff placket. This is where it gets a little tough for me to describe, but bear with me. I like for the button tab on the cuff to be pointing to the back. Identify the cuff side that will be to the back of the shirt. With a right side of the cuff against the wrong side of the sleeve, align the inside of the cuff with the edge of the sleeve seam. Pin the other edge of the sleeve to the same right side, giving yourself about an inch for the tab. Adjust the gathers inside the cuff and sew them at whatever seam allowance you gave yourself. Stop at the edge of the sleeve edge. Remove gathering stitches.
Turn cuff to the right side, folding raw edge underneath, and stitch close to the fold. Keep stitching past the edge of the sleeve, top stitching the cuff. Hem, add buttonholes, and sew in buttons.
And there we go! A pretty easy DIY gathered sleeve dolman blouse! I love how simple this blouse is to make — it’s adorable but definitely a trend, so I’ll be glad in a year or two that I didn’t spend a million dollars on them. They’re especially simple if you hack a pattern you already have, too!
If you make your own blouse from this tutorial, I would love to see it! You can tag me on Instagram with @maddiemadethis or #maddiemadethis. Including things you’ve all made inspired by my posts is one of my favorite things to do! A new one comes out this weekend, so if you’re real speedy you could make it 😉 Sign up at the bottom of this page if you’re not already on it!