off shoulder top tutorial
Fashion,  Machine Embroidery,  Quick Projects,  Tutorials,  Upcycling

Craft a One Shoulder Top for a Totally 80s Look

One Shoulder Top

finished top on model

We’re celebrating the 1980s with a one-shoulder top to wear for our New Year’s Eve Sew-Along with Sulky and Sallie Tomato. Get in the totally rad 80s spirit by crafting your own one-shoulder top, inspired by the movie Flashdance, and sport the look along with us! All you need is a T-shirt or sweatshirt in your size. Machine embroidery is optional.



Measure and mark the shirt along the lower-edge neckband center.

marking center of neckband for off shoulder top

Next, measure and mark 1″ below the center mark.

Then, measure 2″ from the lower-edge neckband along both shoulder seams.

marking along shoulder seam

Draw a curved line that mimics the neckband lower-edge curve from each shoulder mark to the neckband center mark.

marking neckline with chalk

Cut along the curved line through the shirt front only. (Slice just inside the shoulder seam to avoid cutting through the back of the shirt.)

cutting neckband off

front neckline cut from off shoulder top

Next, cut a straight or slightly curved line from one shoulder-seam cut to the other along the shirt back to trim off the back neckband.

cutting off back neckline of off shoulder top

To echo the raw-edge look, trim off the bottom shirt hem. Also, trim off the sleeve hems if desired.

Stretch along all the cut edges to finish the top.

stretching neckline of off shoulder top


To add machine embroidery to the top, first decide where you want to place the design. If desired, print a template of the design, using software, and audition it on the shirt front.

embroidery template on shirt right side

Once the desired location is determined, mark the center horizontal and vertical cross marks on the shirt right side.

Hoop a piece of Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer™ Stabilizer.

stabilizer in hoop

Turn the shirt wrong side out.

embroidery template pinned to shirt

Spray the stabilizer with KK 2000. Position the shirt right side up over the stabilizer in the hoop. Make sure the template cross marks align with the inner hoop markings. (You will be working somewhat “blindly” here, as the shirt is still wrong side out.)

Place the hoop onto the machine. Maneuver the shirt edges away from the hoop edges and smooth the fabric so it’s flat and not stretched.

off shoulder top on hoop

If desired, for extra security, direct the machine to run a perimeter-basting function before stitching the design. Baste around the design, not inside the hoop, to double-check the embroidery placement.


The featured Lightening Bolt, Mix Tape and Roller Skate designs are by our friends at Parker on the Porch, and come with purchase of our 2023 New Year’s Eve Sew-Along event. After purchase, the design, and the Sallie Tomato Veronica Bag pattern, are yours to keep! The three 80s designs come in flat fill (shown here), charms and snap tabs (a $21.94 value!).

New Years Eve Embroidery Designs for Pff Shoulder Top

Embroider the design of your choice on the shirt, clipping jump threads with each thread change. Use an Organ Embroidery Needle, Sulky Bobbin Thread and the Poly Deco Threads that corresponds with the design color chart.

embroidered lightning bolt on top

When the embroidery is complete, remove the stabilizer from the hoop. Carefully trim away the excess stabilizer beyond the design perimeter, leaving an even border.

Trim a piece of Tender Touch stabilizer so it just covers the Soft ‘n Sheer Stabilizer edges. Use pinking shears or a wavy blade to trim the Tender Touch for better adhesion and longevity. Fuse the Tender Touch using a warm, dry iron.


Enjoy rocking your new 80’s one shoulder top, with or without embroidery! See you on New Year’s Eve!

finished embroidery on one shoulder top

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!