DIY Tiered Dress With Oversized Bow Shoulder Straps

Regine Morales
by Regine Morales
10 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a really cute tiered dress with extra-large shoulder straps. I love how this dress turned out, with its unique and eye-catching style, and I’m so excited to share how I made it with all of you.

Tools and materials:

  • 2.5 yards of cotton fabric
  • Elastic ¼ inch wide
  • Bobby pin
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric chalk
  • Knitting needle or another long, thin stick
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
Measure fabric for the main piece

Measure and cut fabric for the body of the dress

For the main part of the dress, I cut a piece of fabric 130 centimeters (51 inches) wide and 60 centimeters (23.5 inches) long. These dimensions were based on my own measurements. The width is one and a half times my bust measurement, and the length is the measurement from my upper chest to my upper thigh. I suggest adding 15-30 centimeters (6-12 inches) to the width for more ruffles.

Measure fabric for the tier

Measure and cut the fabric for the tier

For the measurements of the tier, I measured from my upper thigh to my knee, which was 30 centimeters (12 inches) for the length, and one and a half times the width of the first piece of fabric I cut, which was 190 centimeters (75 inches) for the width.

Fabric for the tier

Instead of cutting one 30 cm x 190 cm (12 in x 75 in) piece, I cut two 30 cm x 95 cm (12 in x 37.5 in) pieces and set them aside to attach in a later step.

Fold a wide top hem

Fold and pin the top hem

On the first piece of fabric I cut, I folded the long edge down one centimeter (half an inch), and then another five centimeters (two inches), and pinned it down. I used a measuring tape as I moved across the fabric to make sure my hem stayed even.

Pin and sew the top hem

Sew the top hem

Then I sewed across the top hem with a straight stitch.

Make a tunnel for the elastic

Sew a tunnel for the elastic

Once the top hem was sewn, I sewed a second line of stitches one centimeter (half an inch) above the first line of stitches.


Sewing the tunnel

This created a tunnel for the elastic.

Insert the elastic into the tunnel

Thread the elastic through the tunnel

I cut a piece of elastic equal to my bust measurement and attached a bobby pin to one end. Then I inserted the pin into the tunnel I created in the fabric, and worked it through to the other end, pulling the elastic through with it. 

Sew down the ends of the elastic

Sew the elastic into place

Once the elastic was pulled through the tunnel, I sewed the ends of the elastic down at the edges of the fabric to hold it in place.

Connect the two tier pieces

Pin and sew the tier pieces together

Taking the two pieces I had set aside in the beginning, I laid them one on top of the other, and pinned them together along one short edge, and sewed them together.

Sew a tiered dress

Create the ruffles for the tier

To create the ruffle effect on the tier, I ran the entire length of one edge of the sewn-together tier pieces through the sewing machine using a wide, straight stitch. To allow for adjustment of the ruffles as I attach them to the body of the dress, I did not backstitch at the beginning or the end.

Make a tiered dress

Pin the ruffled edge

Next, I laid the body of the dress and the tier next to each other, wrong sides facing up, and pinned the ruffled edge of the tier to the bottom edge of the dress.

Sew the tier carefully

Sew the tier onto the dress

I sewed the tier onto the dress using a straight stitch, arranging the ruffles as I went.

Pin and sew the side seam

Sew the side seam

Once the tier was attached to the dress, I folded the dress in half, wrong side facing up, pinned the side seam together, and sewed it together with a straight stitch. Then I went over the edge of the seam with a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.

Double fold the bottom hem

Hem the bottom

To create the bottom hem, I folded the bottom edge over twice to hide the raw edges.

How to sew a tiered dress

I sewed across the bottom edge with a straight stitch, folding the edge in as I went.

Prepare the straps

Cut fabric for the straps

To prepare the straps, I folded a length of fabric and measured out 30 centimeters (12 inches) width, and 80 centimeters (31.5 inches) length.

Cut fabric for the straps

Then I cut the fabric down the middle lengthwise. Since the fabric was doubled over, this created four 15 cm x 80 cm (6 in x 31.5 in) strips.

Cut four equal pieces of fabric

Cut one end of the straps diagonally

Fold and trip the straps

I folded each strip of fabric in half lengthwise and made a diagonal cut on one end of each strip.

Sew the seams of the straps

Sew the straps

I sewed the long edges and the diagonal ends closed, leaving the short, straight end of the strap open. 

Turn the straps right side out

Turn the straps right side out

Using a knitting needle, I pushed the closed end of the strap into the fabric, pushing the fabric down the knitting needle until the closed end came through to the other side.

Pin the straps to the top hem

Attach the straps

Along the top seam of the dress, I pinned the straps in place--two straps in the front and two straps in the back--each strap eight centimeters (three inches) from the side of the dress. 

Sew the straps in place

Then I sewed each strap down with a straight stitch.

Easy tiered dress

This dress is gorgeous, and I can’t wait for an opportunity to show it off. 

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you use my instructions to make this dress, I’d love to see your results!

Suggested materials:
  • Cotton fabric
  • Elastic
  • Bobby pin
See all materials

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