How to Make a One-Shoulder Dress


One-shoulder dresses are an enduring trend. Depending upon the style, the dress may be draped and elegant or much more playful. Choose classic black in a fitted style or bold color accented with ruffles. The basic construction of most one shoulder dresses is quite simple, with limited fitting. This makes the one-shoulder dress an excellent choice for a DIY project, even for a beginner.

Things You'll Need

  • Lightweight fabric
  • Dress form
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Contrasting thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread

How to Make a One-Shoulder Dress

  • Adjust your dress form to the correct size for your body or make a duct tape dress form (see Resources). Pad a bra if necessary to match your dress form to your body shape. Take the time to make sure your dress form accurately matches your body for a good fit in your one-shoulder dress. Add style lines to your dress form if desired (see Resources).

  • Wash and press a length of lightweight fabric. Make a one-shoulder dress in knit or woven fabrics; however, do choose a fabric you feel comfortable handling and sewing. Choose solid color fabrics for easier draping.

  • Mark the vertical and horizontal grain of the fabric by stitching a running stitch in contrasting thread through the fabric. Maintain the grain of the fabric while draping your one-shoulder dress.

  • Cut your fabric into a front panel and a back panel to allow for side seams in your one-shoulder dress. Keep the vertical grain line perpendicular to the floor and the horizontal grain parallel. Fold and pin the fabric as necessary to achieve the shape you prefer. Drape the front, then the back.

  • Remove your draped dress from the dress form. Cut away excess fabric and sew the seams in your one-shoulder dress. Put the dress back on the dress form and adjust fit as necessary, then alter if needed at the sewing machine. Hem your dress using a narrow hem.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear a casual one-shoulder dress with wedge style sandals and a beautiful bracelet or earrings.
  • Dress up a one-shoulder dress with bold heels and accessories.
  • Always wear a good strapless bra with your one-shoulder dress.

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