Hi sewing friends! I’m Karina and you might have met me on my sewing YouTube channel Lifting Pins and Needles and on my blog too. I’ve been an ambassador for Love Notions since 2019 and have loved sharing fun Love Notions projects with you. Today you’ll see a new version of one of my all-time favorite patterns, the Vivace Dolman, and a handy guide for how to sew matching stripes.
Vivace Dolman details
The Vivace Dolman is a relatively new pattern, released this year in March. Being new, it includes the full size range of XS-5X and has a standard & full bust option. You can make the Vivace dolman in knit or woven fabric and there are separate pattern pieces for these two fabric type options.
Both knit and woven versions are sewn in the same way, except for the sleeve hem: a cuff for the woven version and a sleeve band for the knit version. You can also make your Vivace as a shirt, a tunic or a dress. My favorite features are the overlapped collar that forms a unique V neckline and the off set pleat in the center.
I have already made 3 Vivace Dolmans
I really love this style. It’s easy to wear and has so many options. The overlapped collar is the only area that requires us to slow down. The instructions are great and very detailed. Love Notions has a clickable link to the technique in video format to help you. You will be able to do this.
*If you click on any of the links to the Vivace Dolman to purchase the pattern on this post, you are using my affiliate link. I receive a small commission and it does not cost you extra. If my sewing inspires you, I’d be super grateful for your support via my link. Thank you! Get the pattern HERE :)
Here is what you will see from me today: Stripes!
I know many of us LOVE stripes and would want them to match on the side seams, shoulders and sleeves. We’ve seen plenty of non-matching stripes in the shops to make us dizzy and the good news is that we have the time and resources to be able to do so much better with our sewing. I’ll show you how you can achieve beautiful stripe matching with the Vivace dolman and if you are new to matching stripes, the Vivace dolman pattern is perfect as a starting point. We only need to match the side seams and the shoulder seams because the sleeves are dolman style and integrated to the front and back pieces.
I’m excited to sew a classic comfortable rib knit stripey dress!
It all starts with cutting a little differently
The fun starts before sewing. You need to pre-wash your fabric, both knits and wovens need this. You don’t want your beautiful Vivace dolman with perfect stripe matching to end up tiny after the first wash.
- You will benefit from a large table or the floor to extend the stripy fabric on. Keep all the excess fabric on the table and not hanging off. If your fabric is dangling from the table, it will pull and stretch the fabric you want to use and distort it.
- If the woven fabric you’ve chosen is slippery, you can tape it down along the selvage to secure it and keep it from moving off the grain line. For more on sewing silky fabrics, visit this other blog post I wrote for Love Notions here.
- If your stripy fabric has stripes that are printed off grain, it’s better to not use that fabric. The garment will end up twisting and not hanging correctly on the body.
- Some knit fabrics with stripes have them as part of the weave. You will see the stripes on the right and wrong side of the fabric. These fabrics are ideal and won’t give you grain line issues.
- Cutting the front and back pattern pieces on the fold is acceptable for solids and prints, but for stripes, it’s a recipe for non-matching stripes. Your front and back pieces need to be cut out with the fabric extended and in a single layer.
Let’s match the side seams
- Place the front pattern piece on the extended fabric and use pins or pattern weights to secure it. Align the corner at the bottom of the dolman sleeve to the start of a stripe. Mark the start of these reference stripes on the paper pattern and start marking all your stripes on the paper along the side seam.
- Place your BACK PATTERN PIECE on top of the FRONT PATTERN PIECE that already has the marks of all the stripes along the side seams and mark the same ones carefully.
- With the front pattern piece pinned accurately, mark the fabric along the center front. You can use any marking tool. I am using a red frixion pen.
- Cut half of the front up to the center of the pattern.
TWO options for cutting the second half of the front and back
- Use the pattern piece to cut half of the front and back and flip it to cut the other half of the front and back.
- I will show this with the front piece.
- Remove the pattern piece and flip it, keeping the center front of the pattern along the edge you marked (I used a FRIXION pen) matching the top and bottom and all the STRIPE REFERENCES on the side seams.
- Make sure the bottom corner of the dolman sleeve is along the same stripe reference marked on the paper.
- Pin the second half of the front and cut out the remaining front piece.
- This method works well if you have marked your stripe references on the paper accurately, and I have shown this method with the front pattern piece of the Vivace Dolman.
- Use half of the front or back you already cut out and fold the fabric along the center. The fabric is the “pattern piece”.
- I will show this method with the back piece.
- Take your back piece and do the same as you did with the front. Place on extended fabric, match the stripe references on the pattern piece to the stripes on the fabric.
- Mark the center with a pen.
- Take the half of the back piece you have cut out and fold along the center mark. The fabric will be wrong sides together. This half that has already been cut out will be the “pattern piece” to cut the second half of the back
- Align all the stripes on the side seams, neckline, shoulder and sleeves. Fabric to fabric. Pin and cut out the second half of the back.
The moment of truth!
Let’s put the front and back right sides together and we can have a peek at our stripe matching.
I am thrilled! They all match. What method do I prefer? The second, hands down. I think it’s much more accurate because you are matching stripes from fabric to fabric and not relying on the paper “stripe references” to cut the second half of the front or back. Fabric can shift and our pen can do the same when marking the stripes.
Let’s align the stripes before sewing
Before we secure the front and the back together, important to note that you need to align these stripes ⅜” away from the raw edge. This is the seam allowance and where you will sew the seam. This is where the stripes need to match. This is especially important at the curve of the dolman sleeve. The wider the stripes, the easier this process can be.
When we sew, fabric moves a little. For stripe matching there are two things that you can’t skip and you can choose one of the two you prefer:
- Hand basting. Quickly hand sew the side seams and shoulder seams by hand. When you are sewing by hand, you will need to flip the fabric continuously to make sure you are putting your needle through at the top and bottom of a stripe and that the needle coming out of the other side is on the same top and bottom of the stripe.
- Using pins. Lots and lots of pins! Place the pins horizontally along the top and bottom of every single stripe. As you pin, flip your fabric and look at the other side to confirm the pin is coming out on the other side at the same top and bottom of the stripes.
Let’s sew! Finally 🙂
We have done a few extra steps to get to this point. We have hand basted or pinned every single stripe on our fabric to make sure the fabric does not shift when we sew. All of this requires patience, but it will be well worth it to show off our beautiful Vivace dolman with matching stripes.
- This is optional: You can sew the seams with a machine basting stitch first. This seam has a long stitch length of 5.0. This seam will be easy to remove if a stripe if not aligned, and you need to correct a portion of the seam. This applies for both woven and knit fabric. I don’t do this when I sew, because I have taken the time to hand baste or pin the stripes accurately. But that’s my choice. You might find this step useful if you are starting out with matching stripes in your sewing.
- Sew with ⅜” seam allowance. Do it slowly if you have hand basting on the seams.
- If you have pins, pull out each pin a millisecond before the needle will go over it. This ensures that the fabric will not move.
- If you are sewing woven, use a straight stitch in the length that you prefer.
- If you are sewing knit fabric, use a shallow zig zag with 0.5 width and 2.5 length. This looks almost like a straight stitch but will allow for stretch.
- I am not a fan or serging the seams directly. There is something to be said about the control and precision that the sewing machine offers compared to the serger. Also, with the sewing machine will you be able to sew at ⅜” seam allowance exactly. This is where we matched the stripes at the seam line. It’s your choice if you want to take the risk. I will serge the raw edges AFTER having sewn the seam on the machine and being happy with the matching stripes
- If you have a walking foot, you can use it to sew knit fabrics. I am putting this information here because it might help keep the top and bottom layers of the fabric aligned. BUT, I keep my sewing simple: I have never used a walking foot and can match stripes without it. Pinning or hand basting accurately will give you excellent results without needing to purchase extra tools.
Here you can see shoulder seams, under the dolman sleeve and side seams that match. Actually, you can barely see the side seams!
The final look
I have my Vivace Dolman dress with a pair of strappy heels and a belt. The Vivace Dolman has a loose fit at the waist and I enjoy adding a belt. I used a structured supplex athletic knit for the overlapped collar. Rib knit is not a brilliant choice for the precise sewing that the collar requires… it’s too stretchy and using fusible interfacing that the main collar pieces require is literally impossible because of the weave. I would recommend against rib knit for plackets and collars. But it’s lovely for the major pieces of the garment. Mixing knits is totally possible and we can do it to our advantage.
I have paired my Vivace Dolman dress with my version of the recently released Compose robe!! Because of my fabric choice (embroidered knit eyelet type), my Compose Robe can totally be a coatigan too! A pair of boots and I’m ready for the cool weather!
I hope you enjoyed all the stripes and I’m excited to see your matching stripes in the Love Notions patterns support group on Facebook! Matching stripes on a dolman style is a great first step and you can apply these concepts to match your La Bella Donna too.
The next step would be to match a woven or knit top with set-in sleeves. That will require a few extra steps and that tutorial can come to you at a later date. For now, let’s keep it simple and enjoy.
If you click on any of the links to the Vivace Dolman to purchase the pattern on this post, you are using my affiliate link. I receive a small commission and it does not cost you extra. If my sewing inspires you, I’d be super grateful for your support via my link. Thank you! Get the pattern HERE :)
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