Add Style and Length to a Dress

Nurit Sig
by Nurit Sig
7 Materials
2 Hours

In this tutorial, I am going to show you why you should never ever throw away your scrap fabric. I recently went to the store and bought a pretty dress with gorgeous puffy sleeves. I tried it on and it fit me perfectly! The only problem was that it was just a little too short. I rummaged through some scrap fabrics that I had from previous projects, looking for plain black fabric when I came across the perfect piece to add to my dress! I’ll never get rid of scrap fabric again! You never know when you’re going to need it!

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Elastic
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger
How to make a short dress longer

Before I begin, I wanted to show you the dress that I bought. The dress was just too short for me and I wanted to also lower the neckline a little. As you can see it’s quite a busy fabric so I thought I would only be able to use a plain black fabric during the project. 

Find scrap fabric

After looking through my scrap fabric I came across this perfect piece that I had cut from a tunic. 

Clip on the fabric

Attach the extra fabric 

I loved the pattern contrast and I knew that this was the perfect piece to add to my new dress. I clipped the fabric around the bottom of the dress, right sides together, and couldn’t wait to start sewing. 

How to make a short dress longer

I tried on the dress with the clipped on piece of scrap fabric and I was so happy with the length. I also tucked in the neckline so that it would be a little more open. 

Serge on the fabric

I went over to my serger and serged the fabric onto the dress. 

Alter the neckline

Change the neckline 

I pinned the neckline as I had folded it inwards earlier and then sewed it to create a more open neck. 

Mark the dress

Add elastics 

I was loving the new look of the dress but I decided it was a bit too box-like. I thought that the best thing to do would be to add an elastic under the bust. I used a ruler and some chalk to mark where I would later add the elastic. 

Mark the center

I cut two pieces of elastic that I could add to each side of the dress. I marked the center of the dress and the center of the elastic piece so that I could line them up when sewing. 

Pin on the elastics

Next, I pinned the elastic pieces across the front and back of the dress, starting from the side seam. I made sure to line up the markings I had made on the dress and elastic as I pinned. 

Sew on the elastics

I then sewed the elastic pieces onto the dress using a zig-zag stitch. 

Cut the sleeves

Shorten the sleeves

I also wanted to shorten the sleeves of the dress. I cut off the ends of both sleeves making sure I cut off an equal amount of fabric on each sleeve. 

Serge the sleeves

I then went over to my serger and serged the ends of the sleeves. 

Create a casing

I folded over the bottoms of my sleeves to create a casing for the elastic. I sewed the casing closed leaving a small gap for me to thread the elastic through. 

Thread through the elastics

I attached a safety pin to the end of an elastic and thread it through the small gap I had left in the casing. Once the elastic was all the way through, I sewed the ends together and sewed closed the gap I had left in the casing. 

Add length to a dress

A few small changes and the dress is absolutely perfect! What fabric would you have added to this dress to make it longer? Let me know in the comments! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Scissors
See all materials

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