3 ways to Make an OFF SHOULDER TOP – Free sewing tutorial

An off shoulder style looks casual and at the same time very glamorous. If you have good shoulders nothing like this top. This very easy to sew top can show off your lovely collar bones to perfection. A lovely bohemian look can be achieved by pairing this top with a long maxi skirt and some long  fabric necklaces.

off shoulder top

3 ways to make an off shoulder top

Table of Contents

    Related post: Make an off-shoulder dress

    offshoulder tunic dress

    Method 1 Off shoulder top with long sleeves

    Note : if the top length is ending near hip you will have to take the hip width when marking B-D. Mine ends somewhere under the waist so I am using the same width for A-C & B-D

    Step 1

    Cut out the pattern pieces and the bias tape ( fabric strip cut crosswise would do)

    Sleeve pattern – cut 2.

    Bodice pattern – cut 2

    I joined two pieces of fabrics together


    Step 2

    Join the armholes of the sleeves and bodice.

    free pattern to sew off shoulder top

    The sleeve will be joined by the slash we have made on the sleeves to the slashed cut on the top corners of the bodices

    Measure the top edge. Cut out fabric strip to this measure plus 1″ overlap( for elastic casing).

    Then join the sides together. You can start from the hem and continue stitching in one line till the sleeve hem. Do the same for both sides. You will get a bodice which looks like the picture below

    Step 3

    Join the binding on the top edge . If you want a contrast edge  join the fabric strip from the inside of the garment to the front of the garment so that the binding is visible outside.

    You can take it to the back as well – for that join from the face of the fabric ( fabric strip and bodice rightsides together) and take to the back.

    off shoulder top sewing pattern 

    Start binding from the back so that the joint is not visible in the front. If you want to know more about bias binding checkout the tutorial.  

    Do leave a 1″ opening in the back of the bodice on the binding stitching so that you can insert the elastic. Use a safety pin to insert elastic through the casing . Securely close stitch the elastic with two or three stitching of zig zag stitch. Sew the opening closed. 

    off shoulder top stitching


    Step 4

    Hem the bodice and sleeves with a turned under hem. You can give a different hemline for the front and back as in the picture below . 

    The sides will look like this 

    off shoulder top sewing pattern

    One another option is to shirr the top edge  of the bodice. Checkout the tutorial to do shirring – sewing with elastic thread for more details on how to do this.  This is a very easy technique to do if you have thin elastic thread with you. The elastic thread is used in the bobbin. You will have to do atleast 4-5 close rows of shirring -The resultant gathers look very pretty. Remember to finish the top edge before doing the shirring.


    Method 2 Off shoulder top with frills

    This method is for a top with frills covering the bodice and work as sleeves, as well – You can use a lace fabric or or any contrasting coloured fabric.Choose a flowy fabric

    This is a customisable pattern , very easy to sew with just 4 pieces of rectangular fabric pieces joined together with some easy seams and some elastic . I made the top for my young daughter and I can vouch that this top can be made in less than an hour 

    offshoulder top diy

    Off the shoulder top pattern.

    Take the measurements : 1.Bust round, 2. Hip round , 3. Over the arms, around bust ( Where the frill will lie)

    offshoulder top pattern

    Step 1.

    Cut out the pattern pieces.

    You need two pattern pieces – front bodice and back bodice

    Step 2

    Cut out the frill piece. Use a flowy fabric for this part. Take the measurement around your shoulders near the bust. Multiply this by 3 ( or 2.5) This is the  length you need for the frill. The width I have taken is 7 inches. 

    Join the fabric pieces if you have not got a long strip. It is better to make a french seam, because you will get a clean fabric edge this way. To make this seam stitch the seams first wrong sides together, them trim the seam allowance and stitch the seam enclosed from the wrong side.Checkout the post on french seams more details . 

    Join the strips together at the short edges to make a tube

    offshoulder top

    Step 3

    Fold the top edge of the fabric tube some 1 inch

    offshoulder top sewing tutorial

    Stitch along the edge. Leave a 1 -2 ” opening for inserting elastic

    Step 4

    Finish the bottom edge of the tube with a rolled edge or a simple turned under finish with your sewing machine.I have a scalloped edge already on the fabric. You can make hand stitches as well.

    Step 5

    Insert elastic ( length equalling the measure taken over your shoulder) into the casing and you have the frill ready

    offshoulder top pattern tutorial 

    Step 6

    Prepare the bodice. Bind the armhole and top edge .

    Sew the side edges of the bodice together

    Step 7

    Keep the frill on the bodice ; baste stitch in place, slightly stretching the frill. Then finally stitch the bodice to the frill 


    Method 3 – Off shoulder top from a tshirt.

    You need a slightly oversized tshirt with a crew neckline ( neckline very close to the neck) to make this one. Check out the post on DIY ideas to refashion t-shirts for mode ideas like this

    refashioned tee tutorial
    Cut off the crew neck band very close. Do not cut too low and regret later. Turn under the top cut edge and sew a casing for elastic or make a seperate casing for the upper edge with a 3 inch or so bias cut strip. Use 1/4 inch elastic threaded through this casing and you have a very easy 10-minute-sew off shoulder top. You can find this instruction and many other ways to refashion old t-shirts here.


    If you have a smaller tshirt you can get away without sewing  the elastic on top edge but you have to be very very careful that you do not cut too much from the neck. Very close to the neck band is the right way to cut. Try it and cut again if you want to. In this case you will have a very casual cut edge but as t-shirt material do not fray this casual look is super cool

    Related post

     Cold shouldered top sewing pattern

    cold shoulder top pattern

    top with shoulder slits 

    Another option is  this offshoulder cape diy. Checkout the tutorial to make this in the post on 8 types of ways to make a cape here

    cold shouldered cape

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    boho top pattern dressmaking tips


    kaftan dress  flare dress free pattern


    Comments 25

      1. Post
    1. Thank you sew guide team. I really understood what you have taught.
      Can you suggest a good sew book., where we can refer to it. I wdill keep in touch with you on sewguide.com

      1. Post
    2. With the little explanations and graphics shown, I have learnt a lot and I think I should make my own off shoulder tops very soon

      1. Post

        Hi Elizabeth
        I am afraid I do not have a whatsapp group – if you will subscribe to the email newsletter I can send the new post details

      1. Post
      1. Post

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