5 Vivace Dolman (Love Notions). Cool overlapped V neckline. Knit & woven.

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I was a pattern tester for the Vivace Dolman by Love Notions and since then, I have made a total of 5 versions! I have returned to this pattern this many times because I really love the striking overlapped collar that forms a V neckline. I have always loved a V neckline. The depth is very pretty, in my opinion. In this post, you will see all my makes and the videos about them on my channel.

The Vivace Dolman is 60% OFF ($5) on Friday the 28th of January 2022. Get your pattern HERE with my affiliate link and if you use my code Pins10 at checkout, you’ll get an extra 10% off (on top of the sale price!)

Features of the Vivace

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.

Best fabrics for the Vivace dolman

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 choices: Chiffon and crepe.

Knit fabrics: horizontal stretch of 40% and some vertical stretch such as rayon spandex, ITY knits and modal. My choices: rayon spandex and rib knit.


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.

Little table of ease ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

The test version. Not intended to be wearable.

I made a size Large, standard bust and was happy with the fit. The look 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.

Let’s see them!

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.

Contrast collar lining

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.

Block fusing

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:

Non interfaced lining on the bottom
Stabilizing the front neckline

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.

Pink stay stitching is visible
The extra square of interfacing will stabilized the area snipped

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.

Tropical rayon spandex Vivace 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.

No belt here
With a belt
The arm bands make the length of the Doman a tad longer in the knit version

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.

No center pleat Vivace top (Simplified)

Knowing that I love the style and wear both of my dresses frequently, I felt like revisiting the pattern, but this time in the shirt length. I had received questions on my channel along the lines of: “can the Vivace Dolman be sewn without the center front pleat?”

This question gave me the idea to sew this shorter version without the pleat. One thing to consider is that the pleat contributes to the ease at the hips. Removing it will cause a too fitted look. I have sewn a size Large in the past. At present I would need to blend to a XL at the hips. I can’t get away with removing the pleat and not adjusting the side seams to have the ease I need to be comfortable.

Ways I made the Vivace dolman simplified:

  • Removing the pleat: The front pattern piece has a dashed line that marks where the pleat needs to be sewn and folded to the side. I continued that line to the hem and folded the pleat away. Voila… placing the pattern piece on the fold of the fabric will cause the same original shape of the neckline, but sans pleat. Having a simple neckline will make sewing the collar pieces easier and less bulky.
  • Adjusting ease at the hips: I added 3/8” to the side seams at the hips, tapering up to nothing at the waist notch. This results in 1.5″ ease added to the hips. I had done flat pattern measurement and considered this all I needed to compensate for the removal of the pleat.
  • Not sewing the cuffs on the sleeves: The woven version had a cuff folded up on the hem of the dolman sleeves. Doing a simple narrow hem, fold in and top stitch will reduce the techniques required and still give an acceptable result. The hem needs to be narrow to conform to the shape of the dolman sleeves.
  • Using cotton for the neckline collar pieces: I chose a very lightweight crepe fabric in the brightest tropical print. It’s soft and drapes well. I opted to cut the neckline pieces in nice black 100% cotton. This fabric adds structure and is easy to manipulate, sew and press. Choosing a contrast fabric will highlight the beautiful neckline, whilst making sewing easier, Win!

I LOVE this version of the Vivace Dolman. It seemed to take no time at all to make! And it keeps a very similar look to the original design. Below is the changed line art of my version. Simple and still very cool!

Rib Knit Vivace dress with stripe matching

I really enjoyed writing a guest blog post for Love Notions all about matching stripes. I chose the Vivace Dolman because it’s a great style for those of you who have not yet attempted to match stripes in your sewing. There are only side seams and shoulders to match, and it’s fun and doable. Visit the blog post below:

I chose a super soft rib knit with horizontal stripes and used a more structured athletic knit for the neckline collar pieces to make the sewing a little easier. I also wanted to highlight the neckline with a solid. I did not hem this dress. I cut it neatly and it will not fray.

Winter Vivace dress with added long sleeve extension

Maybe you have patterns that have a short dolman sleeve only. You can lengthen short dolman sleeves easily and the Vivace Dolman is perfect for this tutorial. The dolman sleeves of the Vivace are short and I want to extend the use of this beautiful pattern for all year use. Creating a sleeve piece extension is extremely easy, and you can make your sleeve pattern piece in no time! the best thing is that it will fit your arms perfectly.

Try on one of your short sleeve Vivace dolman. Measure 3/8″ from the edge of the fabric along the top of your arm to where you want your sleeve hem to be, and add 1″. In my case, this is 17.5″ plus 1″ of hem allowance. This totals 18.5″

Measure your wrist or forearm… depending if you want full length or 3/4 length. Add about 2″ to that for ease PLUS 3/4″. This 3/4″ will be the 3/8″ seam allowance on each side. Example: my wrist is 7″…. I added 2 1/4″ for ease, plus 3/4″ and that equals 10″. That is the width the bottom of the sleeve piece will have.

Pin the shoulder seams together, as if they were sewn with a 3/8″ and draw the seam allowance on the curved edge of the extended armhole.

Slide a large piece of paper underneath the armhole curve. Draw a line down the center of the paper and match that to the shoulder seam. This will be the grain line of the sleeve. Pin it in place to secure.

Use a tracing wheel to mark the seam line on the paper you have on the bottom. This will mark the curve of the top of your sleeve extension piece. Draw the little curve of the bottom of the dolman sleeves. Shown in red below.

Now use the measurements you got from your own arms. This is great! The sleeve will be perfect because it will have your length and preferred ease on the wrist or forearm. I drew a line 18.5″ from the seam line of the armhole and drew a line 10″ wide perpendicular to this. I also drew my 1″ hem allowance.

Now you can remove the front and back pieces that were pinned to the sleeve piece. The marks of the tracing wheel will be visible and you can draw the seam line of the sleeve. The curve will match the armhole perfectly..

Now add 3/8″ seam allowance to the seam line you just drew from the tracing wheel marks. You will need to true the edges. Follow the same shape and angle to from a little “triangle” on both sides.

This little triangle will ensure that when you sew the sleeve to the armhole flat and press the seam allowance towards the sleeve, the edges will follow the shape of the curve of the dolman sleeve on the underarm.

Voila! your own custom sleeve extension that will match the armhole of the dolman sleeve perfectly AND will be the exact length you need for your arms. Draw a notch to match the shoulder seams. This is the top of the grainline. Mark the front and the back on the sleeve… no need for single or double notches here, BUT make sure the front of the sleeve matches the front armscye. The dolman armhole IS NOT SYMMETRICAL AND NEITHER IS THIS SLEEVE. Don’t forget to true the hem allowance to follow the shape of the way the sleeve tapers in.

You can create a sleeve extension to any short dolman sleeve you have in this way. If it’s a woven, I would probably make the wrist 1″ wider. Have fun!

If you can notice, this Vivace dolman dress also has stripes! BUT, they are vertical. You don’t need to match a thing here. Only one minor detail…. make sure the horizontal stripes on the 2 front collar pieces are identical. Two tiny pieces to match, ONLY. This is how you can enjoy stripes without needing to match them.

The helpful video tutorials on my channel

How to sew the overlapped neckline

I filmed a step-by-steptutorial for my sewing channel that would clearly show the main collar pieces (green) and the lining collar pieces (bright yellow) in the sewing process. 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. Come and see how to sew the neckline neatly.

Simplifying the front with no pleat

See the simple adjustment made to the front piece to make the Vivace without the pleat below.

Stripe matching & creating a long sleeve extension that matches perfectly

Lots to see here! how to match stripes and how to create a long sleeve piece, all in great detail so you can do it too.

The Vivace Dolman is 60% OFF ($5) on Friday the 28th of January 2022. Get your pattern HERE with my affiliate link and if you use my code Pins10 at checkout, you’ll get an extra 10% off (on top of the sale price!)

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.


I spend a lot of my time sewing, filming/editing videos, writing and taking photos for both my Youtube channel and blog and if you love what I do and consider my work valuable for your own sewing, you can support me financially in a non-committal manner by purchasing me a โ€coffeeโ€ through Ko-Fi here.  $3 gets me one cup of โ€œcoffeeโ€.

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7 replies »

  1. Hi,
    I have watched a few of your videos where you changed patterns a little. Do you think it would be possible to slightly lenghen the sleeves (to about elbow length)?

    • Hi Liz. Lengthening a short dolman sleeves to elbow is not a slight adjustment actually. There are patterns like this that have a lower curve under the arm (batwing styles) to allow for mobility that dolman styles lack a tad of. Also, this type of pattern piece with longer dolman sleeves is super fabric hungry because the pattern piece is so wide. A better option would be to draft a separate sleeve piece to attach to the short sleeves, similar to what the Molly top from Sew Over it.

  2. Hello,
    I have been sewing for 50+ years.
    (From babies clothes to wedding gowns)
    One can never stop learning!
    I love your tip about the small square of interfacing for the snipped corners.
    Experience and necessity can help to develop very helpful tips.
    Enjoy your cuppa from Australia. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’•
    Susan H.

    • Thank you so much ๐Ÿ˜Š. I agree. Simple notions are all thats needed most of the time and I save every single scrap of interfacing for these little things. Thank you so much for the cuppa!

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