Pattern Mod | Bulldog Dolman

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Guest Sewist: Carol

Pattern: Adult Bulldog Dolman


Here in Southern England the blossom is on the cherry trees and the sun is beginning to break through the clouds, giving us promises of glorious summer days. Which all means my thoughts have turned to revamping my wardrobe. What I most needed was something loose and comfortable that could be layered up on cooler summer days. 


When I saw the new RC dolman top I knew this would fill that gap for me. The pattern came with lots of options, was a quick make and being just 2 main pieces for the sleeveless version was not going to be fabric hungry so I could make several.


This pattern does have lots of colour blocking options,  great for using up scraps. I however, chose to make a classic t and selected  the solid sleeveless wide neck version. 


I quickly made one as per the pattern with a neck band and hemmed sleeves in a light weight striped cotton lycra,  as I was sewing I began to think about how it would look in different fabrics and could I change the neck and arm finishes to suit the fabric I used?


Perhaps it could have a bound neck, either with exposed binding or with it turned to the inside as an alternative.  Then my neck bands could be self fabric or ribbing. I could even fashion a facing.


For the sleeves I could add binding or a band. The band could also be deeper and turned up to make a cuff. …..


….. then there are raw edge finishes… many options.


So I scoured my stash and pick out some likely candidates.I found viscose jersey, ponte, french terry and waffle fabric that all looked promising. I planned to make a further 5 combining some of the features above.


For my new tops I was going to keep the curved back hem and straight front and use the deep neck and sleeveless version. By keeping these constant I could then see how the fabrics and chosen finishes altered the look of the top. .


Make 1

Bound neck and hemmed sleeve. Light cotton lycra

The bound neck was made with the neck band piece. I applied the band unfolded right side to wrong side of top and folded to the front, turning under and top stitching.

This gives a firmer neckline that still works well with a fabric that has some drape.

Make 2

Tencel jersey, neck and sleeve bands

Initially I hemmed these sleeves but the fabric was too drapey for a good finish so I went back to add bands.I doubled the width of the neck band and cut at 85% of sleeve opening. Both bands were top stitched.

This Meet Milk fabric is really floppy and adding the cuff really improved the hang of the garment. Before adding it had a tendency to slip off the shoulders but the cuffs helped with that and consequently gave me a better looking garment. 


Makers note: If you are adding cuffs to a top you need to adjust the end of the sleeve where there is an allowance to make  the hem lie flat when you turn it.

Make 3

Cotton lycra with a bound neck this time turned to inside and hemmed sleeves. Stitching on this one is below the neck binding - I didn’t really notice any difference doing it this way or as in make 1.

Make 4

Ponte fabric, binding on neck and sleeves but on neck turned all the binding to the inside. I cut the neck piece a cm narrower. This neckline makes the top slightly lower and so that works well with this fabric which is firmer. The bound sleeves I felt worked less well- I would have preferred cuffs on this make but I ran out of fabric so couldn’t add those, I will probably unpick and hem these sleeves but left on at the moment for this comparison.

This fabric with a long sleeve band would make a top that could be quite dressy.

Make 5

Waffle knit fabric with ribbing at neck and sleeves. I made the ribbing wide at the sleeve so that I could double it back to make a turn up cuff if I wished but actually prefer this one with the band unfolded. This was my favourite fabric for this t shirt and the ribbing really brought it together.

Make 6

French terry with a bound neck and fabric cuffs turned up to be cuffs. I used contrast fabric for the binding and cuffs.

I loved this combination. Felt casual and fun and was super comfortable.



This pattern is really amazing as it worked in a big range of fabrics. You can make a casual or dressy top depending on which fabric you use and how you style it.


I liked the bound neck- this finish gives a firmer neckline that suits me well. It worked on all the weights of fabric I used. The turn under version was great for the firmer ponte fabric.


I don’t like the bound sleeves- it gives a firmness that draws the sleeve end in and draws the eye to my less than perfect upper arms. 


On the other hand I really liked the band on the sleeves- it gave the sleeve that little bit of extra length which suited me, but still allowed for drape on the lightest fabric I used. It  was great as a turn back cuff on the French terry top.


Hemming the sleeves is tricky on very light fabrics- it could be worth thinking about trying a rolled hem on these. I also wonder if my hemmed finish would have been better if I hemmed the sleeves before joining the side seams.


My favourite was my navy waffle top with ribbing at the neck and sleeves. I wonder which look you like?

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