How to Make a Skirt Narrower

1 Hour
Change a looser or A-line skirt to fit narrower, or into a pencil style.

A little while back I picked up a dress from a charity thrift shop. The only thing was it was a bit too big over the hips and I wanted to make it narrower -but that is a relatively easy fix!

In this case the skirt was a little loose on me, but you could also use the same technique to turn an A-line or straight skirt into a pencil skirt.


  • Pins
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Hip curve ruler (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine

Fitting your skirt

First try your skirt/dress on in front of a mirror, inside out so you can better access the seams. Pin it in to your desired fit over both side seams, making sure you are pinning it in about the same amount on each side. When you are happy with how it fits pinned in, change and lay it on your table.

Even out the pins on each side, measuring to make sure that you are taking it in the same amount on each side.

Use tailor’s chalk to mark your seam line. I used a hip curve ruler to make drawing the line easier, but you don’t have to use one.

Chalked stitching line

Sew the skirt in

Stitch along your chalk lines. For the best seam, start sewing from the hem and finish at the hips. You want to make sure to ease your stitching into the original stitching at the point you no longer need it narrower – a smooth transition into the original garment stitching is important because otherwise it will pucker and make a little outward dimple on your hips.

With your skirt still inside out, press your seam flat. If your new seam allowance is more than 1″ or if your fabric is very thin, you may need to trim your seam allowance once you know you are happy with the fit. Try it on to check your alterations, take it in a bit more if you wish. Press your seam open.

You now have a well fitting skirt. You’re done!

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Join the conversation

  • Faye Edwards Faye Edwards on Jun 05, 2021

    I never hears of a hip curve ruler but I imaagine it is in sewing stores. Again I do not sew haha. Terrific job.

    • Elise Elise on Jun 05, 2021

      Hi Faye! A hip curve ruler is basically a long curved ruler used for drawing curved lines. I have one on my table in the picture of laying out the skirt flat, to the right of the skirt by the tape measure. Thanks! Yes you can find them in some sewing stores

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