How to get a perfect fitting dress


I’ve been searching for a chambray dress for a-g-e-s. And then I found this beauty hiding in the GAP sales racks. Score, right?

Well, not quite. Yes this little beauty is ridiculously comfy, but it’s also supremely too large.

There’s no reason why this story had to have a sad ending, so I wanted to show you two really easy ways you can take in a dress that’s too big. Best thing is you can use them together or separately to get a really perfect fit.


The finished dress. Not looking too shabby, right?

Expect more clothes altering goodness in the future then. It’s really a wonder how much of a difference it’s made. I wish I’d taken a before photo to show you. Hmmm… next time.

So what do you think? Would you be tempted to take in a dress?

Two easy ways you can take in a dress to get the perfect fit:

You can use either of these techniques to take in a dress. Or you could combine them both (like I did!) to really cinch in that large dress.


To take the dress in at the sides:

This will work if the dress isn’t very big. Use this technique if your dress is a size larger, or the style is baggier at the sides than you’d like.

1. Try the dress on inside out. Pinch in the sides till it looks right and roughly pin in place.

2. Take the dress off and repin the fabric you gathered so the excess fabric gently tappers out at either end. This stops the fabric from bunching.

3. Now, take that beauty to the sewing machine and sew using a straight stitch.

4. To get a really professional finish be sure to press your new stitches with an iron and trim away excess fabric.

To take in excess fabric (or… making darts): 

This will work if the dress is particularly baggy. Use this technique if your dress is 2 -3 sizes too big, or the back is baggier at the sides than you’d like.

1. Try the dress on inside out again. This is a bit awkward since you’re taking in fabric at the back. EIther get a good mirror and good light (and practice being bendy) or ask someone else to help.

2. Gather up the excess fabric into two folds of fabric running in two parallel lines from your neck to your waist – roughly either side of where your spine would be. This keeps things nice and even and makes sure you’re taking fabric evenly from both sides of the dress. Roughly pin in place.

3. You can take the dress off now. Adjust and repin that excess fabric so it forms a curve with the top and bottom points of the curve tapering out. Imagine you’re created a pointed oval that’s been folded in half.

4. Sew the dart. Be sure to put the dart flat on your machine so that it’s free from any other fabric – you don’t want to sew the dart to the dress! Press and trim off any excess fabric.

  1. Reply
    Lisa Barton

    Oh my, you just saved me! I had gotten a beautiful dress for an incredibly little amount of money (not returnable) and its just a hair too big in a few spots. I was thinking I'd have to find a tailor but I can do this! Thank you!!

  2. Reply
    Lindsay Ward

    Oh my goodness this worked so well!! I'll be posting about my adventure with my dress on my blog soon, would it be okay if I included a link to this post? It would be a crime not to share it!! 🙂

    1. Reply

      So glad you gave it a try. Would love to see what you made and happy for you to link back. Sharing is caring after all 🙂

    2. Reply
      Lindsay Ward

      Picture is on the blog,
      Thanks! 🙂

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