DIY off the shoulder exaggerated sleeve dress

DIY off the shoulder exaggerated sleeve dress

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to join several bloggers for a story in the Baltimore Sun.  It was very last minute and I was informed we needed to wear bright colored clothes.  I can admit, I’m one of those people with a closet filled with clothes and swear I have nothing to wear.  So the night before the shoot, I whipped up this cute little dress that is now one of my favorites.

The fabric I used was this incredible blended silk from that is more substantial than a lot of silk blends.  It irons, cuts and sews like a dream.  It’s light but with a stiffer hand and would be perfect for so many applications.

The pattern I used was my self drafted off the shoulder top also seen here and here which is available to download for free here.

The alterations are as follows:

-Added 16″ to the length

-Added a 6″ pleat to the front and back

-Cut 6″ off the bottom of the sleeve pattern and with the 6″ that was cut off, add 2″ to it which will give you two separate pattern pieces for the sleeve, one that’s roughly 10″ (depending on where you take the measurement from) and one that’s 8″.  Sew the top of the sleeve to the bottom of the sleeve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Press the seam open and place a 1/2″ bias tape over the seam. Feed 1/4″ wide elastic through the bias tape and secure the ends.  Attach the sleeve according to original instructions.



-Chandler’s outfit was made using this twill plaid from


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Dress-DIY Heels- Narciso Rodriguez Bag-Vintage Shades-Urban Outfitters



  1. Nikki
    July 13, 2016 / 4:27 am

    I’ve been waiting for this one too! This is gorgeous! I’m afraid to sew with silk (beginner) because it’s so expensive. Any suggestions? Where did you get this one ?

  2. Eugenia
    July 13, 2016 / 6:56 am

    You are magnificent! In every way! Please advise which pattern you used for little Chandler’s dress – I’d love to make one for my grand daughter. Thank you.

    • Nikki
      July 13, 2016 / 10:49 pm

      Thank you so much Eugenia 🙂 it was self drafted. I will be uploading it next week.

  3. Audrey
    July 13, 2016 / 11:42 am

    You killed it Nikki!!!!
    when your McCall patterns will be available please?

    • Nikki
      July 13, 2016 / 10:48 pm

      Thank you Audrey, they will be available July 27th 🙂

      • Georgie
        July 15, 2016 / 9:19 pm

        Great, I’ve been waiting for that pattern.

  4. Timesa
    July 13, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    Love this and I will try it with a Challis and see how it turns out!

  5. Karla
    July 13, 2016 / 5:59 pm

    Girl this dress is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! I needed something to were for a white affair and you just blessed me with this beautiful piece. Bless your heart and your hands!!!

  6. paulette dowdie
    July 13, 2016 / 7:31 pm

    Gorgeous! Can’t wait to make!!

  7. Ms B
    July 25, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    hello there can someone please tell me how I can get the pattern fir this dress

  8. Mo Henry
    July 26, 2016 / 7:20 am

    Hi Nikki – absolutely stunning dress… I want to ask if you added extra fabric in the width to incorporate the 6″ pleat or just created it using the original sizing of your blouse? I’ve made 2 versions of this dress – but I added extra fabric for the pleat so I appear to have a lot more gathers than your dress….. which is fine it just has more volume. But I’m now making one as a present for a friend and want to ask her if she’d prefer your more sleek dress or my voluminous version…. thank you so much for inspiring me to dust off my sewing machine again…. Moxxx

    • Nikki
      July 27, 2016 / 3:49 am

      Hi Mo thank you so much 🙂

      I didn’t add more fabric, adding the pleat removes a lot of the volume that’s already built into the pattern and makes it more sleek.

  9. Mo Henry
    July 28, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    Thank you Nikki – I’ll be running up a couple of sleek versions too ! Xx

    • Nikki
      August 6, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Thank you so much

  10. August 12, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    Hi Nikki,

    This is such a classy look, you look great.

    Thank you so much for sharing the pattern and sewing tips. 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend!

    • Nikki
      August 18, 2016 / 2:44 am

      Thank you so much, I’m happy to share.

  11. Maria Reitano
    October 5, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    Lease let me know where I can buy pattern. I looked for number b5285 and it is not that

  12. JustJenSews
    February 10, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    You are one talented lady and I’m thrilled to have found your blog. I too live in the DMV! I’m totally inspired and working on making this dress. I’m a little stumped on the sleeve. If I measure 6″ up from the bottom of the sleeve, draw a line, add 2″ to that 6″ piece, I see where I get the 8″ sleeve part. When I measure the remaining top sleeve part I’m only getting a little less than 8″ (taking measurement from highest peak on pattern). Where am I going wrong? Please advise.

    • Nikki
      February 11, 2017 / 2:48 pm

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

      I’m not sure why it came out short for you. Have you already cut the sleeve? if not, just add 3 inches to the bottom of the sleeve, and then measure 6″ up. This will give you the length you need. If you have already cut it, and you don’t like it this short, you can add a third layer of sleeve. So you can add a bottom layer however length you would like and connect it the same way you connected the other portion of the sleeve using the bias tape and elastic. It won’t be exactly like mine, but it will make it a bit more interesting. So visualize the dress with two puffy sleeves at the top and then the flare portion at the bottom. I hope this helps.

      • JustJenSews
        February 13, 2017 / 1:45 am

        Thanks a bunch! I’ll post a pic if it turns out! 🙂

        • JustJenSews
          March 5, 2017 / 1:10 pm

          The dress came out fabulous! I wore it to an event last night and received many compliments! Thank you for sharing your talent with others. I’d love to show you a photo but it’s not letting me attach it in the comment box. Let me know if there’s another way for me to get it to you. Thanks again!!

  13. Tee
    March 21, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    Your designs are so inspiring. I’m an aspiring fashion retailer and you dunno how much your posts have helped in drawing up my collection. Thanks a lot, a whole lot.

    • Nikki
      March 22, 2017 / 7:56 pm

      Thank you so much, that really means a lot. 🙂

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