DIY Off-Shoulder Blouse & Stuff To Know About Silk


When life hands you a random silk dress with the imprint of fishermen what do you do? Refashion yourself an off-shoulder blouse of course!

I’m trying to make a concerted effort to show you all more refashions, and I’m super excited about this one because it literally made no scraps. I love a refashion without scraps because as you’ll see on Thursday fabric scraps are my nemesis! So today, we’re making the easiest off-shoulder blouse ever. All you need is a dress with a ruffled hem, scissors, and a little sewing. 

I saw this silk shift dress at my last clothing swap and instantly felt like it had potential. I actually hate shift dresses, shapeless frocks don’t do much for my body type. But this one spoke to me. I felt like it might make a nice refashion. 

    Light blue shift dress on wood hanger.  Off-shoulder blouse refashion from light blue dress.

I won’t lie to you- the pattern is odd. If you look really closely you’ll see it’s a repeat of two men fishing. Why? Who knows. I finally decided I don’t mind it, but definitely not in dress form. I think the act of men fishing together should be reserved for blouses. 

So I took the fishing silk shift dress (so many things going on here) and hung it in my workspace, hoping inspiration would hit. And hit it did. I quickly realized that the ruffled bottom could be moved up, transforming the dress into a blouse and offering some off-shoulder action. 

Light blue off-shoulder blouse refashioned from shift dress.

I love how it turned out, and I was happy I could rescue some silk from the landfill. Speaking of silk and landfills, let’s go there. 

What You MUST Know About Silk

When I was growing up, my mom had silk blouses and dresses that were VERY special. She still has many of them. We viewed silk as a precious material. Fast forward 20+ years and you can find silk blouses on sale at Banana Republic for $19.99. How did this happen? Silk, at some point during the 2000s, became a fast fashion commodity. 

What plagues me about this, however, is that silk production requires a lot of resources. Silk comes from silkworms, which are boiled alive to extract the silky threads to weave this precious material. You did just read that correctly. Boiled alive. Sad and gross. 

I no longer purchase much new silk for sewing, but when I find a silk fast-fashion item in distress it’s hard for me to turn it down. I mean, sure it’s soft and comfortable to wear, but also a precious natural fiber that should not be wasted. 

DIY off-shoulder blouse refashioned from a shift dress.

Despite the horrible way in which silk is made, silk is one of the best fibers you can wear if you’re chemically sensitive or don’t want to wear synthetics. It keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you don’t want to support the silk industry, buy used silk garments and care for them well. 

If you’re afraid to wash your silk, but don’t go to the dry-cleaners (which you shouldn’t do, post coming in April!) I would highly recommend investing in a vegetable-based soaking solution. I like this one, conveniently called Soak. They sell this stuff all over the world, so even if you don’t live in North America, you can probably find it. I very much stand by this stuff, it’s even removed odors from thrifted synthetic clothing. Plus, you don’t have to wash it out of your clothes, you literally just let your clothes “soak” and then hang them up to dry. If you can’t find it, you can also use vodka in a pinch. 


Blouse refashion alert! Off-shoulder blouse refashioned from a dress.


How To Make Your Own Off-Shoulder Blouse 

If you want to make your own off-shoulder blouse, it’s very easy.

Off-shoulder blouse pinned and ready to be sewn.       Sewing ruffle to off-shoulder blouse.    

Hemming sleeves of off-shoulder blouse.

Wide hem.

1. Cut the ruffle from your dress, leaving about 1.5 inches of fabric at the top. I did a horrible job cutting mine! 

2. Pin the ruffle to the blouse, front and back, leaving an equal amount of excess material at the sides for a drape-effect. I pinned mine flat (in the picture) just to get an idea of where I wanted the ruffle, and then took those pins out and re-pinned it so the raw edge was tucked away. 

3. Flip your ruffle up and sew along the excess material from the bottom of the dress. I left about a centimeter at the top so I could hem the ruffle that went along the shoulder-piece. Repeat on the other side. 

4. Pin and sew down the excess material on the s shoulder piece. Cut any off if it sticks out weird. 

5. Hem your blouse. I did a wide rolled-hem, completely enclosing the lining into the shell material. Press, and wear. 

Wearing off-shoulder blouse refashion in sunny garden.

So that’s how you make the super easy off-shoulder blouse! I’ve made a few of these over the last couple of years from dresses with ruffles on the bottom, and I really like them. They all turn out differently. 

What refashions are most excited about for spring? 

More Blouse Refashions 

DIY Romantic Ruffle Blouse

Make your own DIY off-shoulder blouse from an old dress and instantly update your style. This blouse is an simple refashion that any DIY fashion enthusiast can make.

5 thoughts on “DIY Off-Shoulder Blouse & Stuff To Know About Silk”

  1. I absolutely love this print and love this refashion – you are so creative and brilliant Elana! And thank you for sharing information about how silk is extracted from silk worms, I didn’t know that. It definitely changes my relationship to silk; I have a few pieces I’ve found thrifting and will treat them with the honor and respect they deserve.
    Thanks for always sharing your creative and incredible mind. I LOVE reading your blog!

    1. Thank you so much Brit! And learning about the silkworms definitely changed my perspective as well. I’m so glad that you plan to lovingly care for your silk 🙂 And I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog!!!

  2. I laughed out loud about two men fishing being reserved for blouses!!! What a fabulous pattern. I love bizarre things, they can be so fun when done right. I wonder who was like THIS. THIS IS THE PATTERN OF OUR SPRING LINE.

    1. Yes! Right?! It’s so bizarre! A few friends who were at the same clothing swap and saw this dress really believed that the men were birds because just glancing at the pattern no one thinks, “Dudes fishing!” But that’s what it is.

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