Easy Tutorial on How to Make a Dress Bigger

6 Materials
30 Minutes

Recently, I was fortunate enough to thrift an original 1980s wrap dress, which was about an inch or so too tight around my waist.

I’m often asked how to make a dress bigger. And I have to say that a wrap dress is the very easiest style to upsize and a perfect thrift flipping idea for beginners.

Today’s tutorial is a quick and easy hand sewing project that still has some useful tips and tricks in it.

Tools and materials:

  • Too-tight wrap dress
  • Snap fasteners
  • Hooks and eyes
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle and thread

1. Know what you’re working with

Examine your dress carefully and work out what holds it together.

Some wrap dresses have buttons and buttonholes, others use snap fasteners or hooks and eyes. 

Often like mine they use a mixture of fastenings for the inner and outer wraps.

Trying dress on

2. Try on the dress

Try the dress on inside out first. This allows you to decide where to place the inner wrap fastenings.

If there’s already a fastener on the inner edge, leave it where it is as it’s already in the maximum width position.

Place a pin on the waist seam where you want the other part of that fastener to be. 

Trying dress on

Try the dress on again with the right side out. Mark the position of the outer wrap fastening in the same way.

Replacing the fastenings

3. Replace the fastenings

Hand sew the new fasteners at the pin marks. Use strong thread, doubled if necessary.

Make 5 or 6 stitches into each hole on a snap fastener.

Make sure that you sew the inner fasteners within the waist seam allowance and that your stitching doesn’t show on the right side.

Replacing the fastenings

Sew as many stitches as you can fit into the space when attaching a hook or eye.

Replace any thread loops with metal eyes to avoid pulling or puckering.

Try the dress on again and check it wraps around you completely and feels comfortable.

Trying dress on

4. Add extra fastenings

Optionally, add any extra fastenings you need. I placed one on the shoulder seam and a second on the very edge of the lapel of the bodice to hold it in place, as I didn’t like the way it draped.

How to make a dress bigger

How to make a dress bigger

How to make a dress bigger

After the adjustments, the dress fits me perfectly. The tie belt complements it beautifully and gives a very flattering shape. I loved the change I made to the lapel as well but I may add a second snap lower down.

As I reduced the wrapover by quite a bit, I wear the dress with cropped leggings or a slip underneath so I’m not worried about it opening up on me.

Don’t you love it when upsizing is so quick and easy to do? Do you have a wrap dress that’s just that little bit too tight? Maybe one you can thrift flip? I hope this tutorial has given you the motivation to make it bigger.

Do let me know what you think in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Too-tight wrap dress
  • Snap fasteners
  • Hooks and eyes
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation