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How do I convert a pattern with a dolman sleeve to a set-in sleeve?

cacmo | Posted in Patterns on

I have a vintage pattern where the bodice and sleeve piece are combined as one piece; and I would like to remove (or fold out of the way) the dolman sleeve from the bodice and make it with a set-in sleeve.  Set-in sleeves look much better on me.  If there is an article on this issue in one of the back issues of Threads, please let me know.  And any new tips would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks so much in advance for helping me.



  1. decoratrice | | #1

    converting dolman sleeve to set in sleeve

    Although I don't feel qualified to advise you on the change, Threads must have covered this some time in the past.  Dolman sleeves don't hang well on my sloping shoulders, so if I must have that cut, I use a dolman (rounded-over edge) shoulder pad.  Something to consider.  Maybe others will have an answer.  Good luck.

  2. starzoe | | #2

    Convert dolman sleeve to set-in sleeve

    There are a few things to consider here:  perhaps the dolman sleeve on your vintage pattern is what makes it vintage and if you want to retain that image, the sleeve is part of it.  If you want to update the pattern you will have to redesign the whole bodice area.  There is not a quick solution, but if you have a pattern that has a set-in sleeve, it can be used to remodel the original, however the shoulder area will be different with a set-in sleeve, as will the armscye depth, perhaps the back measurement  and the front measurement.

    With this method, the bodice will be completely different, the fit will be different and you will lose the "vintage look".  The suggestion of shoulder pads is a good one, you may find a solution there.  Shoulder pads were most likely used in the original.  Make a muslin and see what happens.

  3. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #3

    dolman sleeve to set in sleeve conversion.

    Is there something about the vintage pattern you wish to retain?  Perhaps it would be easier to apply those changes to a set in sleeve garment instead.  Dolman and raglan sleeves are drafted differently, and make a dramatic change to the garment's fit and look.  The fit is usually much looser, and the bust darts are often changed to the sleeve area.  Not a change that is easily done. 

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