How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

heather handmade sewing

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Learn how to make a dress fit tighter with this sewing tutorial. This alteration is a great way to make a loose dress fitted.

I love finding a fantastic dress with it’s own unique details. I was given this white and tan striped linen dress from my grandma that was a little too big for me. It was also a loose styled that I didn’t want to wear.

I learned this alteration technique in a tailor shop, and it’s a technique that I use over and over again. It’s a little more involved than just sewing the sides, but it produces a really great result.

How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

This tutorial is not a way to take in a dress multiple sizes. It’s a way to take in a dress a little bit so that is more fitted.

I don’t recommend trying to take an item of clothing in too much because it changes to style lines and placement of the seams. Somethings don’t look good when taken in too much.

How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

I love the stripes of this beautiful fabric and all the button details. It’s a really fun dress that I wanted to make work for my style and lifestyle.

How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

Do you love to sew? Try one of these fun sewing projects:

How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

1. Carefully cut off the sleeves. Mark the sides with safety pins to see how uch you want the dress taken in.

I wanted to keep the skirt flared so I only pinned under the arms and at the waist. Below the waist I was going to taper out to the dress hem. Mark where you want the sleeve seam to be on the shoulder.

pin the dress sides

2. Draw a line between the marks on the side seams. Make sure the line is smooth between all the marks so you might have to adjust the marks slightly. Sew on the lines to create new side seams and trim the seam allowance to 5/8 inch.

mark and sew the new seam

3. Finish the seams raw edges with a zigzag stitch or a serger and iron the seam open.

finish the seams

4. Cut a new armhole with the mark at the top of the shoulder and create a new curve. I cut on the black dots.

cut new armhole

5. Check width of sleeve to the new armhole. I had to take in my sleeves about half the amount as my sides. Trim the seam allowance to 5/8 inch and finish the edges with a zigzag stitch or a serger. Iron the seams open.

take teh sleeve in the same amount

6. Sew the sleeves into the new armhole. Finish the edges with a zigzag stitch or a serger.

sew in the new sleeves

7. Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve.

press seam allowance towards sleeve

You finished! You now have a new dress!

How to Make a Dress Fit Tighter

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

How-to Fit an Ill-Fitting Dress Tutorial
heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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So did you sew up the side seams all the way to the shoulder? And then completely cut out new armholes??

I really like your blog – you give so many great sewing techniques! Thank you!

I sewed up the side seams until I hit the armhole. Because of the shape of the armhole, this raises the bottom of the armhole so I cut mine down. Does that make sense?

Indeed, a lovely summer dress. And with the cute, white belt is even more lovely!

Good tutorial. Thanks!

This is great, I think I must put my baby in my after photos too! I like it 🙂 SO cute!

Found you from the co-op…your new follower. I can't wait to see what is next!

awesome! I'm going to save this tutorial for later. I love thrift store shopping and sometimes see fabric I love in dresses I don't.

Good job!

Way cute. Wish I was brave to just chop into stuff.
Also, was that tailors chalk in the picture? Where might one pick up stuff like that?

VERY cute. I'd like one like this for church!

that is an awesome dress! love the details.