Saturday, April 7, 2018

Hot Patterns Milano Dolman Top

Hello, Hello! Hope you're having a great weekend. The last few work weeks have seemed endless to me, and all I can think of during tedious, uncomfortable commutes and hurried or nonexistent lunch breaks is the precious weekend ahead when I can devote my time to creative pursuits. But then something funny happens: I get to the weekend and become paralyzed by indecision. What should I spend my time on? I have a painting I've been repainting over and over in my mind, a Chalk and Notch Fringe top to cut, some True Bias Emerson pants, underwear ready to sew up, a half pieced quilt...and on and on.

So, since I can't decide what project to work on, I thought I'd talk a bit about this knit top instead. Hot Patterns is an interesting pattern company. If you can get past their cheesy tagline,"So hot they're smokin," without inwardly cringing too much, you will find that they do fill a void in the indie pattern world: knit tops with interesting seaming and construction—more akin to RTW, actually. I can never have enough comfy knit tops that look a bit more dressy than a tee shirt for work. Also, since I was in the midst of sleeve hell with my anorak, I decided to take a vacation from sleeves entirely with an easy dolman.

Even though I like the version pictured here, with the hip band, I went for the second, shirt-tailed hem version, which is a good thing because the hip band uses a lot of fabric, and I barely eked this out with 1.5 meters of a fantastic bamboo rayon from Blackbird and had to use black ribbing for the cuffs and neckband. The blue is no longer available, but I've linked here to another pretty color. (I'm still sewing through my Blackbird purchases from last year.)

The thing to remember about Hot Patterns is that they're kind of like Big Four in that there's a ton of ease. I sewed up a size 20 based on my bust size, but I'll definitely size down to an 18 for the next version. The pattern has no overlap in the armscye, or anywhere else for that matter, so cutting the next size down will be easy and drama free. 

My first version ended up being way too long, more like mini dress or tunic length. While I don't pay a lot of attention to the "rules" about what plus size ladies should wear, I knew instinctively that the dolman sleeves, combined with the length, would overwhelm my short frame. As a result, I ended up cutting the shirt tale bottom off and shortening a whopping 4 inches to make it a top rather than a tunic. FYI: I'm 5'2" and usually wear a 2-3 inch heel. The version on the left shows how it looked before I shortened it. I also shortened the arms by 1 inch. I wonder if the length is necessary for the hip band version so that the top can blouse over but, maybe, not necessary for the shirt tail version.

So here's a super classy and off kilter ladies room pic. Please excuse the hair; I'm way overdue for a cut. Also, it was casual Friday, hence the jeans.

Overall, the neckband is a bit too wide, and the arms could be shortened another half inch. I have to say, though, even though this is kind of a meh review,  I've been reaching for this top every week. It's so soft and comfy with the high quality knit. I actually wore this on Monday and Friday last week, hoping to use my superpower of being an invisible middle-aged woman so that no one would notice. If you're interested in making this top, Thornberry wrote a much more comprehensive review here.

Well, folks, that's all I've got. I hope you're able to find some time to do something creative this weekend. Have a fantastic week and thank you very much for reading. All the best!


  1. I like your top and I like your superpower of being an invisible middle-aged woman line! I'm definitely gonna borrow that thought!

    1. Thanks, Diane! Invisibility comes in handy sometimes. ;)