How To Make A Dress Bigger

What is the first though that comes to your mind when your favorite dress refuses to fit you in the bust, waist, or hip area? Well, you simply give up on that dress and think of discarding it for good. However, have you even thought of saving your dress before sending it to the back of your closet?

The good news is that there are multiple ways to save your dress and make it bigger. If you only need a bit more room in the dress, you can do it using both sew and no-sew techniques.

With that being said, let’s take a look at how to make your dress bigger.

How To Make A Dress Bigger?

There are multiple ways to make your dress bigger, but the one you choose depends on a couple of factors. Firstly, you have both sew and no-sew techniques as options.

Secondly, you need to understand the material of the dress. For instance, leather dresses are not suitable for no-sew techniques.

Thirdly, you can let out the seams, add a zipper, make side slits, or add fabric panels. But it all depends on your sewing prowess and the seam allowance of the dress.

Most techniques used for dress alteration need some basic sewing skills and a sewing machine, although there are ways to make any dress bigger without sewing.

Also, keep the style and type of the dress in mind before trying any of the methods. For instance, ensure that the fabric is easy enough to sew if you plan to put a zipper in it. There are materials like silk or knit that might need special needles and other sewing equipment.

How To Let Out A Dress Without Seam Allowance?

The first thing you need to know is that without seam allowance, you can only go up by two sizes at the maximum. If there is no seam allowance, the easiest way to fix a dress is to add fabric or gussets at the right places – below the arms or at the waist. You can rip the seams out and sew the gusset or fabric panel there.

How To Let Out A Dress Without Seam Allowance

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How To Make A Dress Big Around The Bust?

You can make a dress bigger in the bust by letting out the seams near that area. After using a seam ripper to take out the stitches, you will have to re-sew the part. Otherwise, you can choose to go with the no-stitch method and stretch out the fabric by soaking it in cold water. Finally, you can remove the darts in the bust area and sew or pin up the parts to fit the dress to your measurements. 

How To Make A Dress Bigger In The Bust

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How To Make A Dress Bigger By Adding Fabric?

You can make your dress bigger by adding fabric in any one of the two ways. Firstly, you can add a fabric panel to the back of a dress. The process is as simple as getting a matching fabric and stitching it at the back of the dress after removing the zipper or the back seams. Secondly, if you are feeling a bit more experimental, you can add a lace up corset back to your dress.

How To Make A Dress Bigger By Adding Fabric

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How To Fix A Dress That Is Too Small To Zip Up?

There are two ways to fix a dress that is too small to zip up. Firstly, you can let out the dress if there is seam allowance or enclosed seams. In case of enclosed seams, you will just have to rip out the first row of stitches while keeping the second one intact. Secondly, you can add fabric panels to the dress to add more room to the bust and the waist area.

How To Fix A Dress That Is Too Small To Zip Up

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How To Make A Dress Bigger Without Letting It Out?

There are different ways to make a dress bigger without letting it out. Firstly, you can put a side slit in the dress to add more space around the knees. Secondly, you can put a side zipper in the dress to allow more room in the waist area. Thirdly, a dress can be made a size bigger by using conditioner, baby shampoo, or vinegar. Pull the soaking dress from both sides to stretch it as you need.

How To Make A Dress Bigger Without Letting It Out

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Can I Alter Any Dress To Make That Bigger?

It is possible to alter different dress styles to make them bigger, though not all. Several factors dictate whether or not a dress can be altered, including if there is additional fabric at the side seams and the kind of material the garment is made of.

The fact is that it’s way easier to make garments smaller than it is to make them bigger. As such, you will find it easier to take away a bit of material from a dress rather than adding more to it.

With that being said, you do not need to straight away give up on that small dress. Rather, start by making a swift assessment of the gown, and ask the following questions:

Is It a Formal Dress or an Informal one?

The first thing you need to look into is the style of the dress. Formal dresses, such as evening dresses, prom gowns, and wedding dresses usually have a bit of extra fabric tucked in the side seams. Now, you can use that to ensure a bit of room for yourself in that dress.

But the downside is that informal dresses, such as maxi dresses and sundresses, and so on, don’t have any such additional material present in the seams. Rather, these dresses have overlocked seams created by a machine that removes all the additional fabric left after stitching.

Can I Resize the Dress Enough to Fit Me?

You need to be honest with yourself and decide if you will be able to resize the dress enough to fit you. Generally, professional tailors or seamstresses are able to expand any dress by a size or two. Will you be able to fit in the dress if you are able to make it bigger by two sizes?

How Much Is it to Alter a Dress?

Think about the amount of effort you are ready to put in the alteration. After all, you will get a number of methods to choose from in this article. Some will take a bit of work but offer more permanent and better results. On the other hand, others need a couple of minutes to deliver temporary results.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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