Off-the-Shoulder Striped Sundress DIY!

I know summer is almost over, hence you probably think you won’t have much use for a gorgeous striped sundress. BUT, hear me out!

First of all, the warmest day of the year last year was actually September 7th (a.k.a my birthday), so you’ve still got a good few weeks of hot weather to wear this dress.

Second, this dress is also great for going on vacation. Imagine how amazing you would look walking along white sand beaches in Cozumel?! The sun would gently caress your face and bare shoulders while the hem of the dress gently fluttered in the warm tropical breeze. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like heaven.

Third, it’s a really flattering style of dress. While the off-the-shoulder trend may not be as strong next summer, it’s something that you can keep wearing.

I was inspired by this image that I found on Pinterest and immediately became obsessed with the idea of making one of my own.

The off-the-shoulder style means that this striped sundress is perfectly on trend. The stripes give it a casual, light kind of feeling and the breezy fabric makes it perfect for hot days and warm nights. The silhouette of the dress is a fit and flare style, which means that it’s also very flattering. This is one of my go-to styles when it comes to dresses, so I was really excited to see a photo of a dress that gave me so much inspiration to sew!

This striped sundress is a bit more advanced than your average project. BUT, if you can find a pattern very similar to the one that I use, you shouldn’t have a problem! I modified my pattern a bit to suit the off the shoulder style, but that part was really easy! I’m going to be giving the instructions that came with my pattern and apply to the pieces that I used. If you find a pattern that has the same pattern pieces, you should be able to follow along quite well. I’m here if you have any questions 🙂

Off the Shoulder Striped Sundress DIY


1 pattern for a strapless fit and flare A-line dress * See Pattern Selection Notes
1.5 yards of lightweight striped cotton fabric (you can do this is another pattern if you wish)
1.5 yards of lining fabric (optional - you only need this if you fabric is on the see through side, which mine was)
matching thread
a 40cm invisible zipper in a colour that matches your fabric
a piece of tissue paper or a large sheet of tracing paper (this is to make the pattern piece for the off the shoulder portion)
approx 1/2 a yard of 1/2″ thick elastic (white if you’re using a light fabric, black if it’s a darker fabric)
a pen
a ruler
a measuring tape


Pattern Pieces (prep)

  1. If you bought a pattern and it’s new, cut out the pieces that you will need. Make sure that you determine the proper size before cutting. If in doubt or between sizes - go up one. You can always take it in more if you need to!
  2. Next, your going to want to make your shoulder piece.
  3. Take a measuring tape and measure the circumference of your shoulders. This is where you want the shoulder ruffle to sit.
  4. I wanted my shoulder ruffle to be approx 7″ long, so I drew a rectangle on my tracing paper that was as wide as my shoulder measurement by 7″ long.
  5. This now becomes the pattern piece for your shoulder ruffle.

Pattern Cutting

  1. First, lay out your fabric so that it is perfectly flat and then fold it in half. *NOTE: you can cut out your lining pieces at the same time, but I like to do it separately so that I get a cleaner cut.
  2. My dress had 4 pieces to it - front, side front, back and side back. Plus my shoulder piece this is 5 pattern pieces.
  3. Start laying out your pattern pieces on the fabric and pinning them in place. Make sure that the grain line on the pattern pieces lines up with the salvage of your fabric (This is the finished edge). You will cut 1 of each dress piece and 2 shoulder pieces. For the shoulder piece, you want the grain line to be parallel with the short 7″ side of your pattern piece.
  4. Once everything is pinned in place, cut out your pattern pieces.
  5. Repeat for lining (aside from shoulder flounce) if you didn’t cut everything at once.
  6. Serge the edges of all pieces. This is optional, but it gives the dress a really finished look. If you don’t have a serger, you could also do a zig-zag stitch on the edges of your fabric.

Dress Construction

  1. Take your front piece and with right sides together, pin the side front pieces on either side. Sew. I used a 1/2 seam allowance for all of my seams. You’ll end up with your dress front:

    Dress Front

  2. Now take your 2 back pieces and pin with right sides together. Sew
  3. Pin your Side back pieces on either side of the back piece that you just sewed. Make sure that right sides are together and sew your seams. Your dress Back will look like this:

    Dress Back

  4. You now have the front and back of your striped sundress together.  Repeat steps 1-3 for your lining pieces creating a dress front and dress back .
  5. Now decide which side of the body you want your zipper to be on. They’re typically on the left side of the body. That means that you want to pin and then sew the right side of your dress fabric together.
  6. For the lining, we are going to sew the opposite (LEFT) side seams together. We do this so that when you assemble the dress and put it on, the finished seams will sit against your body. All of the backs of the seams get contained in the layer between the dress fabric and the lining. This makes for a much more finished looking dress.

Zipper Insertion

  1. Now, it’s time to insert your zipper into the dress fabric (the lining attaches later). I used this tutorial for sewing an invisible zipper.
  2. Once you have your zipper sewn in place, try your dress on.
  3. If adjustments need to be made, it is best to do them now. You may need to take in a few seams to make the dress fit better in certain places. For the lining, I just repeated the adjustments that I made on the dress and it worked out perfectly.
  4. Once you’re happy with your fit, it’s time to attach the lining to your striped sundress.
  5. I used this tutorial for attaching lining to an invisible zipper. The tutorial is for facing, but can be applied to lining as well! When your zipper is inserted and your dress is right side out, it should look something like this:

    Post zipper insertion. Having the rough seams between the lining and dress fabric makes for a beautifully finished looking dress

Shoulder Piece Construction 

  1. Next, we’re going to work on the shoulder piece. Pin and then sew the two short ends with right sides together.
  2. To hem the shoulder piece, I just folded my serged edge underneath and sewed a 1/4″ hem using the serging as my guide. Press.
  3. Now take your elastic and wrap it around your shoulders where you want the dress to sit. It should be fitted enough so that the shoulder piece will sit level on your shoulders and not droop.
  4. Once you have your elastic, creating a casing for it around the top of the shoulder piece. I folded over the top edge of the shoulder piece and used the elastic as a guide for how thick the casing needed to be. You want your elastic to be snug in the casing, but not fold over.
  5. Pin the casing the entire way around and sew. Make sure that you leave a 1-2″ gap in your casing. Insert the elastic in through this gap
  6. Sew the elastic together and then sew the elastic casing shut by finishing the seam to meet the beginning.
  7. You now have a gathered shoulder piece that is ready to pin on your dress.

    Gathered shoulder ruffle.

Dress Finishing

  1. I centered my shoulder piece and then pinned it to the dress at the front and the back in a straight line. This means that the seam will be pretty close to the edge of the dress sometimes, but it looks good in the end with the shoulder piece straight across.
  2. To sew the shoulder piece, sew over the line of stitches that you made for the elastic casing.
  3. Last step is to make your hem. For my dress, I hemmed the bottom similar to how I hemmed the shoulder piece - just fold the serging over. I made my hem a bit wider at about 1/2″ but was still able to eyeball it as I went without pinning.


    Sev my ever-helpful assistant

Pattern Selection Notes

  • Try to pick a simple, strapless A-line dress pattern with 4 pieces to be able to follow the tutorial.
  • My pattern had a back zip, but that can easily be changed to the side.

See? It wasn’t so hard to create the striped sundress of your dreams!

The Finished Dress

Striped Sundress DIY

My parents dog was looking cute, so she got to be in a photo

I absolutely love how mine came out and can’t wait to wear it again and again. I also had a ton of fun taking the photos for this dress. A special thank you to my instagram mum who took them for me 🙂

Let me know what you think of my striped sundress DIY! Would you make one yourself?


xo, tess.

3 responses to “Off-the-Shoulder Striped Sundress DIY!”

  1. Amy says:

    You finally made it ďż˝?ďż˝ I was waiting for this one! Turned out so fab. Serious talent, lady!

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