How to Make a Cute DIY Off-the-Shoulder Maxi Dress For Summer

Creations by Shey
by Creations by Shey
9 Materials
2 Hours

This simple off-the-shoulder maxi dress sewing pattern uses your own blouse and your measuring tape to make a beautiful dress. If you’ve got basic sewing skills and know-how to sew gathers, you can make this DIY off-the-shoulder maxi dress today!

Versatile, adorable, and charming, this tiered maxi dress is perfect for summer parties! Let me show you how to sew an off-shoulder dress right now so you can dazzle your friends on your next summery jaunt!

Tools and materials:

  • 3 yards of slightly stretchy crepe fabric, 60 inches wide
  • Your own loose-fitting blouse
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • ½- or ¾-inch elastic 
  • Safety pin
Off-the-shoulder maxi dress sewing pattern

1. Make the top pattern

Fold the fabric in half and then in half again. Use your own well-fitting loose blouse to serve as a template. Fold your blouse in half so the armholes line up.

Fold the top part of the blouse at the upper chest area. Place the folded edge of the blouse along the folded edge of the fabric.

Placing a blouse on the fabric to trace the pattern

Place the blouse 2 inches away from the folded edge and 1 inch away from the top.

Marking the pattern

Mark these points.

Measuring the marking the pattern

Measure and mark 10 inches from the folded edge along the 1 inch point.

Measuring the armhole

From that 10-inch point, measure 5½ inches across for the armhole in a diagonal line. Connect these two measurements together by marking them. 

Measuring the length of the dress

Measure the length of the top half of the dress. I’m 5’9” so I’m making the top length of the dress 29 inches long. This may vary due to your height.

Cutting the top of the pattern

Cut out the top pattern carefully.

Tiered maxi dress sewing pattern

2. Make the bottom pattern

Measure and cut three 10-inch wide pieces across the folded fabric.

Cutting the tiers for the skirt

Take the first piece and cut it along the fold.

Pinning the tiers together

Join one of the half pieces to one of the two larger pieces left to make a larger second tier. Pin in place.

Ruffle pattern pieces

You will have two ruffle pieces.

Making the sleeve pattern

3. Make the sleeve pattern

Fold the fabric in half.

Measuring the sleeves

Measure 20 inches down and 19 inches across. Once these are marked, carefully cut out the fabric.

Using the first sleeve to cut out the second

Use this first pattern to cut the second sleeve.

Marking the measuring the sleeve pattern

On both sleeves on the unfolded edge, measure 2 inches in and then across 5½ inches. Join them together on a diagonal.

Cutting out the pattern pieces

Cut the slanted piece out. 

Making the belt pattern

4. Make the belt pattern

Measure 6 inches wide by 60 inches in length. Cut.

Folding the belt pattern in half, ready to sew

Fold in half, ready to stitch. Set to the side for now.

Cutting strips of elastic

5. Cut the elastic

Cut 6 strips of elastic, each 9 inches long.

How to sew an off-shoulder dress

6. Sew the bodice

Place right sides together and just sew one side seam. Once that’s sewn, put to the side for now.

Sewing the ruffled tiers

7. Sew the ruffled tiers

Sew gathers in the first ruffle. Pull the gathers to the width of the lower part of the bodice.

How to make an off-the-shoulder maxi dress

Open the bodice and place the gathered ruffle right sides together at the hem. Pin in place.

Sewing the gathered ruffle to the hem

Stitch to secure.

How to sew a tiered maxi dress

Sew the pinned extra half to make the second tier longer.

Sewing gathers across the second tier

Then sew gathers across the top of the second tier, repeating the process you did for the first tier. Attach the second tier to the first tier. Stitch into position.

Pinning the casing, ready to sew

8. Finish sewing the bodice

Fold the dress right sides together and stitch the other side seam. Once that’s sewn, fold the top part of the dress to the width of your elastic on the front.

Pin and topstitch the casing in place. Repeat this process for the back of the dress.

Inserting elastic into the casing

Insert the elastic into the front casing using a safety pin.

Sewing the elastic in place

Secure the elastic to both sides of the casing using pins. Topstitch using a zigzag stitch to keep the elastic in place. Distribute the gathers evenly. Repeat the process for the back casing.

Sewing the sleeves

9. Sew the sleeves

Make a casing on both the top and bottom of the sleeve to match the elastic width.

Inserting elastic using a safety pin

Insert the elastic using a safety pin,

Securing the elastic by sewing

Just like the neckline, secure both ends of the elastic by first pinning and then sewing, using a zigzag topstitch.

Sewing the sleeve seams

Join the sleeves right sides together and stitch the sleeve seam.

Turning the sleeves right side out

Recall there is a slant by the armhole. Keep that unsewn. Once the sleeve is sewn, turn them right side out.

Sewing the sleeves to the bodice

Join the sleeves to the bodice by placing them right sides together. Pin in place. Stitch into position.

Attaching the sleeves to the maxi dress

This is what it will look like when done. Repeat the process for the other sleeve.

Making a belt for the maxi dress

10. Make the belt

Place the folded belt, right sides together, and stitch across one short end and along the length, leaving one short end unsewn. Use that opening to turn it right side out.

Sewing the belt

Topstitch the end to complete the dress. Hem the bottom.

DIY off-the-shoulder maxi dress

Your dress is done!

DIY tiered maxi dress

DIY off-the-shoulder maxi dress tutorial

You can wear it off the shoulder or on the shoulder. Either way, this DIY off-the-shoulder maxi dress is perfect for summer.

Please don’t forget to comment if you made this dress or let me know what you think about it!

Suggested materials:
  • 3 yards of slightly stretchy crepe fabric, 60 inches wide
  • Your own loose-fitting blouse
  • Measuring tape
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