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Design a One-Shoulder Dress

Design an asymmetric version of a simple darted pattern
Threads #217, Spring 2022

Altering a fitted dress pattern to create a one-shoulder design is easy, and you can adapt the look to suit any aesthetic. A single-shoulder dress offers benefits you might not have considered: It allows you to show a bit of skin, but it is less difficult to fit and wear than a fully strapless dress. Plus, the neckline’s asymmetry adds drama to an otherwise streamlined design. 

We show a version in soft lace with a wide, scalloped edge. The lace’s border is used along the diagonal neckline and repeated at the straight skirt’s hemline. For different looks, you could go vintage-casual with cotton gingham, tough with dark denim, or glitzy with sequined fabric. Add a skirt with your favorite silhouette, from full to pencil. Or replace the skirt with pants to fashion a chic jumpsuit.    

Design a One-Shoulder Dress

The two key elements for planning a one-shoulder dress like the one shown are a close-fitting bodice pattern with side-bust and vertical waist darts, and a woven fabric with some stability. We recommend working with a sloper pattern that has no design ease. You’ll create a sleeveless test garment on which you establish the desired diagonal neckline contour. From this muslin, you’ll make the one-shoulder pattern. 

I’ll explain how to construct a dress similar to the lace example, which calls for an underlining to conceal construction details. As you’re planning your warm-weather wardrobe, consider giving this fun style at try. 

Choose a basic design

These sloper patterns offer darted bodice pieces that are ideal as the start of a one-shoulder style. You’ll also find downloadable patterns online: Search “darted bodice sloper.” Be sure to select a style with side-bust and waist darts. If you feel confident rotating and splitting darts, you may try one that has only a…

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