A Quick and Simple Tutorial on Taking in a Dress

Alicia Yanson
by Alicia Yanson
7 Materials
15 Minutes

Do you have a dress that you really love but it’s just too big for you? Perhaps in the past, you would have taken it to a seamstress or tailor to adjust the dress to your size.

This tutorial is going to change that because here I’m going to show you what you need to do to take in a dress yourself. There won't be a need to rely on anyone else once you know this handy skill of how to take in a dress.

Tools and materials:

  • Babydoll dress
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Bias tape
Separated dress

1. Separate the dress

First, separate the top from the skirt.

Marking measurement

2. Take it in

Flip the top inside out and make it smaller by taking in 1.5 inches (4cm) from the bottom. If the dress is very oversized on you, you can opt to take it in by a larger amount than this. Just remember though that you are taking it in on each side, so taking it in by 1.5 inches on one side will mean that it will be taken in by 3 inches in total.

Once you’ve marked the measurement, connect this with a straight line to the armpit seam. Then sew by following the marking. Once done, try on the top to see if it fits. If it is still too big, you will need to take it in some more. Make sure you take it in by the same amount on either side.

Sewing a basting stitch

3. Sew a basting stitch

Sew a basting stitch all around the skirt to create ruffles. A basting stitch is a long temporary stitch.

Gathering the skirt

4. Gather the skirt

Gather the skirt by pulling on one of the threads.

Sewing the two pieces

5. Sew the two pieces

Gather the skirt until it fits the top, then flip the skirt and insert the top so that the right sides are touching. Pin the skirt to the top and sew it down.

Adding bias tape

6. Add bias tape

Apply bias tape to the part where the top and the skirt meet to hide the raw edges and give you a smooth and clean finish.

Topstitching the top

7. Topstitch the top

The last step is to topstitch along the bottom of the top.

Altered dress

Taking in a dress

Now your dress fits you perfectly, and what is more, it is sewn so seamlessly that no one will ever know that an adjustment was made.

You cannot tell that this dress was taken apart and resewn. I hope you’ve found this sewing tutorial useful and you’ll implement the skills next time you need to alter a dress that is too big. Let me know in the comments how you get on!

Suggested materials:
  • Babydoll dress
  • Scissors
  • Pen
See all materials

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