I have recently been a pattern tester for the Vivace Dolman, a newly released pattern by Love Notions. What drew me in at first was the striking overlapped collar that forms a V neckline. I have always loved a V neckline. The depth is very flattering, in my opinion.
The vivace dolman features easy to sew dolman sleeves, an overlapped collar with an off-set pleat towards the wearer’s left, cuff on the woven version and armbands on the knit version. The length can be shirt, tunic or a dress above the knee.
I frequently read a similar repetitive question: can this lovely pattern be made with a knit fabric? (when it’s been designed for woven fabric)….. and the same applies vice versa. The truth is that it depends. In this case, the guess work is out of the picture. There is a pattern for both.
The Vivace Dolman has a woven version and a knit version, with different pattern pieces that make the drafted ease appropriate for the different properties of woven and knit fabric. The result is a similar look and style and you can chose a vast variety of knit and woven fabrics. It is important that the fabric choice be of the drapy variety.
Woven fabrics: light to medium weight drapy fabrics like linen/rayon blends, rayon, crepe and light chambray. My choice: Chiffon!
Knit fabrics: horizontal stretch of 40% and some vertical stretch such as rayon spandex, ITY knits and modal. My choice: rayon spandex.
Sizing is available from XS-5XL catering to a bust of 57.5″ and hips up to 59.5″. There is a standard bust option and a full bust option. The size is chosen based on the high bust and if the difference between the high and the full bust is 4″ or above, the full bust option will offer improved fit without the need for a full bust adjustment (FBA).
The intended fit is relaxed and there is different positive wearing ease included in both the knit and the woven versions. Below is a little chart to have an idea of the difference between the knit and woven versions. As you can observe, the knit version has less positive ease and it makes total sense.
I first made a woven version of the Vivace Dolman (test version… toile…. muslin) in a silly stripy cotton with contrasting collar fabrics in order to asses fit and to be able to film a step by step tutorial for my sewing channel that would clearly show the main collar pieces (green) and the lining collar pieces (bright yellow). Having the pleat turn out off set towards the wearers’s left means that when you look down at the front with the right side of the fabric up, the pleat is pressed to the right. A tad confusing? not to worry, I have included the pleat in the video too 🙂
I made a size Large, standard bust and was happy with the fit. The looks is very boxy due to the stiff cotton and made me convinced that the style required a very drapey woven to look and fit like I prefer. I chose chiffon!
My chiffon woven dress
The sewing technique for the neckline of both the woven and knit version is exactly the same. However, due to my fabric choice, I added a few extra precautions to have a nice result with my chiffon.
Above you can see above, I’m using Interfaced chiffon for the main collar pieces and to add a little more structure to the neckline, I am using a contrast light weight 100% linen for the lining collar pieces. The pink linen comes from a sleeve I removed from a thrifted blouse I plan to refashion. I block fused: fuse interfacing to a larger piece of fabric before cutting out the pattern pieces. This trick preserves the shape and original size of the collar pieces and keep everything as precise as possible. While cutting and fusing interfacing separately , the risk of the facing stretching and distorting shape is huge. Especially in the thinner drapier wovens.
When sewing the main collar pieces (the interfaced ones) right sides together with the lining collar pieces (non interfaced), it helps to put the interfaced collar pieces on top and the non interfaced collar pieces at the bottom. The feed dogs will assist in smooth sewing and avoid the formation of tiny pleats and puckers on the collar lining that is at risk because it’s not stable as it’s not interfaced. See below:
I cut narrow strips of fusible interfacing (narrower than 3/8″ that is the seam allowance). I have the paper pattern underneath the fabric at all times to ensure the neckline maintains the same shape and length while I fuse the stabilizing strips. This replaces stay stitching. Below you can see that I’ve fused a small square of interfacing in the two corners that will be snipped during the neckline construction. I suggest this be done with any top with similar snipping required.
I added 1.5″ total length to the woven dress and I actually required 1.5″ more, 3″ in total to hit above my knee. I love the shorted length, but it makes wearing a belt not possible.
The Rayon spandex longer dress
The construction was the same as the knit version, including the original collar techniques shown in the video. I also fused a little square to the corners that needed snipping. Please don’t skip the interfacing and under-stitching on the knit version. These steps are important to achieve a structured crisp collar. This time (learning from my previous short dress), I added 3″ to the length to have the dress reach above my knee.
These two dresses were very fun to sew and are so comfortable to wear. Some shaping can be achieved with a belt for the occasion I want that look. Otherwise I am happy to wear this style on its own.
The Vivace Dolman is on sale through monday the 23rd.
DISCLAIMER: I was provided the pattern without cost, as a pattern tester, in exchange for sewing a muslin, providing feedback on instructions and fit. I Purchased my own fabric for both versions.
I have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.
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