Off the shoulder DIY Dress | Nettie Dress & Bodysuit sewing pattern | Closet Core Patterns //

I love a good pattern hack; there are few things more satisfying in my sewing practice than taking a pattern I already know and love and turning it into something dramatically different with a few swipes of the Sharpie. Even better when the pattern in question is one of my own.

The inspiration for hacking this off-the-shoulder Nettie dress came from a weird source; a vintage 90’s Kathy Ireland for Butterick pattern. I bought it a while back from a thrift store but discovered the pattern tissue was missing once I got it home. I never threw out the envelope (you know you’re hoarding patterns when…..) and stumbled on it again a few weeks ago. Around this time someone asked for a tutorial on shoulder hacking Nettie so I finally got on it. And in so doing, discovered a body part I don’t generally think very much about. Well hello clavicle! Meet the world!

Off the Shoulder Dress DIY Off the Shoulder Dress DIY-6 Off the Shoulder Dress DIY-4

I’m going to talk about the process in a tutorial later this week, but needless to say, chopping the shoulders off this pattern is a super easy modification (one more reason to love knits – it’s so easy to get creative with a good base!) I used a beefy textured double knit in a – let’s be honest – rather crazy print, and drafted the skirt to have more of an A-line shape. The result is a surprisingly structured cocktail dress that makes me feel like the walking x-ray of a cyborg skeleton. In a good way.

Off the Shoulder Dress DIY-3Off the Shoulder Dress DIY-5Off teh Shoulder knit dress

I think I knocked this out in under 2 hours, including goofing around with pattern placement which was HIGHLY enjoyable. Sometimes you just need to have a sense of humour about the location of your baby maker.

The guts are all serged and the hem was finished with a double needle. And to be honest? It was fun to play with this pattern again. Sometimes I get burned out by my own designs after testing and sample-making for months on end, so it was nice to return to this little lady and rediscover my love for her.  And I forgot how much I love golden hour in this gorgeous, spring-drunk city….. No more white studio walls for the foreseeable future!

Off the Shoulder Dress DIY-2bodycon dress

Back later this week with a tutorial for shoulder hacking Nettie yourself!

Details: Nettie dress pattern with modifications, MAC Ruby Woo lipstick, double pearl earrings (similar here), Aldo platforms


Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

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