How To Make A Dress Bigger By Adding Fabric

Do you have a favorite dress that you love and want to keep wearing, but it’s too tight to fit you nicely? Are you thinking of getting rid of the dress? Well, wait before you do that!

The dress needs a bit of alteration in the form of additional fabric at the back or a corset panel. This will not only make the dress bigger, but also give it a new and improved look.

Without further ado, let’s get right on to fixing your dress.

How To Make A Dress Bigger By Adding Fabric?

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.

1. Add A Fabric Panel To The Back Of A Dress

Adding a fabric panel at the back of the dress will help you make the dress bigger easily. Read on to know the three steps to do it:

Step 1: Gather the tools and equipment

An important aspect of a precise alteration is getting the right tools to use. So, you will need sharp scissors to make even, straight cuts to your dress. Also, use a piece of fabric panel cut from that same material as your dress to disguise this alteration completely.

tools and equipment

In case the material isn’t available, go for the one that goes with your dress. Tighter seams are easy to achieve using your sewing machine, though you can do it manually as well if you want. Finally, select a thread color to blend with the fabric and cover the seams to make that enlargement not as obvious.

Step 2: Preparing the sewing space

Before starting the alteration, you need to prepare the sewing space using all the notions and tools you need to make the process easier and quicker. If the dress you want to enlarge is new, make sure to wash it before sewing to soften the material and make it easy to use.

Next, clean your sewing table and spread the dress out to make sure that measuring, cutting, and pinning is accurate. 

Step 3: Getting the panel inserted

Measure the bust and waist before cutting the fabric panel. It will make sure that you can insert sufficient fabric to get the dress to fit. Next, use your seam ripper to open the seams at the back of your dress.

If there are no seams there, make straight cuts from the neck to the waist of your dress. Also, remove and discard the zipper if it’s there. While measuring and cutting the right amount of fabric, leave enough space for a ½” seam. 

Next, match that panel to your dress while keeping the right side of the fabric in. Stitch the panel, and that’s it! Turn your dress right side out to try it on and make adjustments.

2. Add A Corset Back To Enlarge A Dress

Add A Corset Back To Enlarge A Dress

Adding a corset back is a great way to jazz up the look of your dress, while enlarging its dimensions.

Materials required:

  • Matching one yard fabric
  • Heavyweight to medium interfacing
  • Dress with the zipper back
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Clips or pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety pins
  • Pencil

Materials required

Step 1: Lacing for corset loops

  • Cut 1.5” wide fabric strips on that bias by cutting at 45-degree angle to that selvage. Make at least eight strips for the back tie and the loops.
  • Fold a longer strip in half with its right sides put together.
  • Sew seams at ¼” from the open edges to make a tube.
  • Turning the tube on its right side out.

Step 2: Making the corset back

  • Measure the back’s opening length to decide how close the loops should be.
  • Cut the lace in 2.5” segments and figure out how many segments you need.
  • Cut two pieces of interfacing one inch wide by the opening’s length.
  • Mark the spacing on the loops of the interfacing.
  • Fold the interfacing strips in half to make them hold sturdily.
  • Sew every segment on the interfacing to create loops in every marked space, while sewing ¼” from the interfacing edges to line up the edges of every segment.
  • Put the interfacing with loops right between the dress lining and the dress fabric where the zipper was placed previously.
  • Top stitch 1/8” from the opening’s edge down the opening’s length, while sewing all the loops in place. Repeat on the other side.

Step 3: Putting the modesty panel

Putting the modesty panel

  • Try the dress on to measure the width of the gap at the back of the dress.
  • Measure the opening’s length and add at least three inches to the measurements to get the modesty panel right.
  • For the width at the bottom keep a few inches on both sides to create a triangle-like shape rather than a square.
  • Fold the fabric in half and use the measurements to take out two layers of your modesty panel.
  • Pin the two pieces on their right sides together, and sew ¼” seam around the top and sides of the modesty panel to leave the bottom open.
  • Flip the right side of the panel out and press them flat using your iron.
  • Fold that bottom edge by ½” and press.
  • Top stitch the bottom edge for closing it up.
  • Pin that modesty panel on the inside of the dress’ edge by keeping an overlapping of ½”
  • Top stitch right along the stitching for the corset loops to complete the process

Step 4: Making the lace up tie

  • Use the bias strips to sew them in the same way you did the loops. However, the stitches have to be longer to get the bias strips joined together.
  • Lay a bias strip on the table keeping its right side up. After this, put another bias strip right on top with its right side down, such that it’s perpendicular to that first strip.
  • Start sewing from the top right corner to the bottom left corner
  • Then, trim the excess, and open the seams before pressing it using your iron.
  • Join the rest of the strips together to make one long and continuous bias strip. You can add more strips if you want.
  • Fold your bias strip in half with its right sides together. Then, sew the seams about ¼” from the open edge down to the length of bias strips to create the tubes.
  • Turn that tube right side out before trying the dress on
  • Lace the dress up to figure out the length that suits you the best
  • Trim off all excess fabric to set the length just right
  • Turn those ends up inside that tube by ½” and top stitch right across both the opening to get them closed
  • Put the dress on. Then, lace up that new corset dress and flaunt it away!

The Endnote

You can choose to go to a tailor to make the same alterations. But the steps are simple enough for you to do if you are well-versed with basic stitching. However, do not attempt to do it if you are not feeling confident enough about such detailed stitching.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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