Easy Way to Tailor a Dress To Fit

Christine Cha
by Christine Cha
3 Materials
1 Hour

Earlier this year I purchased a 90's dress from MXMLST (mxmlst.co), a vintage shop in Canada, and I knew it would be a tad too big. Though I did not let that stop me from purchasing it and was determined to find a way to make it fit just right.

The print and cut of this dress are gorgeous, follow along to see the easy ways I made it fit me perfect like this.

This was the dress before I altered it. The puff sleeves were beautiful but I could not pull them off. I did not include a photo of me wearing the before dress because I could not do it justice and preferred not to take away from how beautiful the dress' sleeves was before I changed it.

I used my seam ripper to undo the thread and take off the sleeves.

This is the dress with the sleeves removed.

Next, I put the dress on inside out and pinned where I needed to take it in at the waist.

The shoulders were pinned as well to determine the best fit.

After I had an idea how I wanted the waist to fit, I sewed the new waist line with my sewing machine.

Then I sewed the shoulders in line with my pin marking to make the dress more fitted in the shoulders.

Next, the sleeve openings were rolled pinned and I sewed them down, too. With this part, I wanted to ensure the raw edges were hidden to prevent fraying.

Now this vintage dress fits perfectly and is ready to wear to farmer's market's and dinner on a patio. I absolutely love it! Do you have an easy way to make a dress fit just right?

Suggested materials:
  • Dress ($48)   (mxmlst.co)
  • Thread ($3)   (Wal-Mart)
  • Pins ($5)   (Wal-Mart)

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5 of 11 comments
  • Caroshina Caroshina on Jul 06, 2021

    Love the print on this dress! You made it yours. There was a lot of fabric in the sleeves, maybe enough for a bag if you had another piece of red for the lining?

    Thank you for this tutorial. Carol

    • See 1 previous
    • Caroshina Caroshina on Jul 06, 2021

      Oh, I love the way it looks now. Before, it made me think that it was for a much older lady. It does look great on you.

  • P P on Jul 06, 2021

    nice job! here's a hot tip for future 'tailoring'! You can turn the platen on most staplers to make staples come out straight instead of both ends curved as staples normally are - push up from the bottom of the stapler & the little plate or platen where the staple lies if you staple without paper will lift up & can be turned - now you can use it to pin your seams for sewing as if the stapler is a straight-pin pinner- just remember the sewing machine will have to run across the pins aka staples perpendicularly just as if they were regular straight pins!