How to Alter a Dress

Sew Aldo
by Sew Aldo
6 Materials
5 Minutes

It’s so annoying when there’s a dress you love but it doesn’t fit you quite right. That’s what happened to me with the dress in this tutorial. I really did want to keep this dress, though, so I knew that I just needed to make it fit me well. In this tutorial, I’ll show you the steps I took to alter the dress so that it would look great on me. I do love the way it turned out.

Tools and materials:

  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Dress
How to alter a dress

Mark your measurements

The first thing I did was lay my dress out and measure 1.5” from the waistline. I then tapered from that point to the underarm seam, blending it to the original side seam as best I could. I then measured down about 6” in the skirt portion and did the same thing. 

Alter a dress

Hand sew

Next, I handstitched the dress. You can also use a sewing machine, but it was so easy and satisfying to just sew it by hand. Once I was done sewing, I cut off the excess. Because of the material I was working with, I didn’t even have to worry about serging it.

Alter a dress yourself

Shorten the bodice

To shorten the bodice, I put the bodice inside the skirt, and from the skirt waist down, I measured 1” all the way around. I also removed the button so that I didn’t accidentally sew over it. I did use my sewing machine for this part, and used a stretch stitch.

Easy dress alterations

Adjust the elastic

I seam ripped the elastic that was attached to the original waistband and trimmed off the excess fabric. Then I sewed the elastic back in place like it was before I made the adjustments. Stretching lightly as I sewed, I topstitched it to the raw edge of the fabric. 

Dress alterations

That’s it, you guys! How easy was that?! In just five minutes I had my dress altered to my body. I love the way it looks now, and I can’t get over how quick and simple of a project this was. If you have any dresses that are too big for you, be sure to give this a try. Don’t forget to show me your versions in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
See all materials

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