The cold shoulder might be trendy, but it's also a classically sexy style. Here's how to make your own pattern and sew an off-the-shoulder dress that can be sophisticated enough for the office and flirty enough for a night out.
Make the Pattern
Measure yourself from your armpit to the length you want the dress. To create the center front, draw a line with a pencil on wrapping or pattern paper the same length as the dress-length measurement, plus 1 inch.
Measure yourself across the chest from armpit to armpit. To create the neckline, draw a line on the paper, starting at the top of the center front line and perpendicular to it, the length of half the armpit-to-armpit measurement.
Measure yourself around the bust. Mark a point on the center front line 3 inches from the neckline. From that point, measure out 1/4 your bust measurement plus 1 inch, perpendicular to the center front line, and mark a point there.
For the armhole, draw a line curving in about 1 inch between the point you just made and the end of the neckline.
Measure yourself from your armpit to your hips. Starting from the neckline and going down the center front line, mark a point the length of your armpit-to-hips measurement.
Measure yourself around the hips. From the armpit-to-hips point on the center front line, measure out 1/4 your hip measurement plus 1 inch, perpendicular to the center front line, and mark a point there.
To create the waist, mark a point halfway between the hip point and the chest point, 2 inches closer to the center front line than the chest point. Draw a curved line connecting all three points.
To create the hemline, draw a line, starting at the bottom of the center front line and perpendicular to it, the length of 1/4 your hip measurement plus 3 inches. Draw a diagonal line from the hip point to the end of the hemline.
Cut out the pattern by cutting along the lines with the scissors.
Fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides facing each other. Pin the pattern on the fabric, lining up the center front line with the fold. Cut out the front of the dress by cutting around the pattern. Remove the pattern. Cut another piece the same way for the back of the dress.
Pin the front of the dress to the back of the dress along the sides with right sides facing each other. Sew the front and back together along the side seams, 1/2 inch from the edges.
Measure yourself around the shoulders with your arms down. Cut a long rectangle of fabric 9 inches long and as wide as your shoulder measurement plus 1 inch.
Fold both long edges of the rectangle in 1/4 inch, with the wrong sides facing each other, and pin to hold in place. Sew the edges in place using a stretch stitch, as close to the inner edge as possible.
Fold the rectangle in half widthwise with right sides facing each other. Sew the short ends of the rectangle together, 1/2 inch from the ends, creating a loop.
Line up the top edge of the loop with the top edge of the dress, with the right sides of the loop facing the wrong side of the dress. Line up the center of the back of the dress with the seam on the loop. Pin the top edge of the loop to the top edge of the dress. Sew the loop to the front and back of the dress, 1/4 inch from the edges, using a stretch stitch.
Fold the loop in half lengthwise over the top edge of the dress. Sew all the way around the open end of the loop, 1/4 inch from the bottom edge of the loop, using a stretch stitch.
Fold the hem of the dress up 1 inch with wrong sides facing each other. Sew the hem in place using a stretch stitch.
Nicolle Gunay worked in the fashion industry for several years before becoming a teacher. She has an Associate of Science in fashion design and a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Florida Atlantic University.