Tailor and alter an ill-fitting dress to fit

alter a dress to fit

Dress alteration sewing tutorial.

In this upcycled clothing sewing tutorial, I explain how I tailored a beautiful yellow sundress that I bought at a second-hand market for $10.

It was probably one size too big for me but I couldn’t resist it because of the sunny colour scheme and the beautiful detailing in the sleeves and skirt. With a few nips and tucks, I reduced the size and it now fits beautifully.

Watch the step by step sewing tutorial

Step 1 – Reduce the gaping in the neckline.

The first step was to remove the buttons. I added these back in.

To reduce the gaping around the neckline, I took in the seam at the front from the middle of the neckline down to the waistband.

Step 2 – Alter the bodice and sleeves to fit.

Next, I took in the seam at either side of the bodice, including part of the sleeve area, all the way down to the waistband.

The sleeves gaped and I was uncomfortable that my bra was showing.

Step 3 – Reduce the fullness of the skirt

And finally, there was a lot of fabric in the skirt which made the dress quite ‘flouncy’. It was probably too flouncy for my short stature. So I took the side seams in to reduce the amount of fabric in the skirt.

Because I had to cut off the excess fabric from the new side seams, I edged my new seams with a line of zig-zag stitches to prevent them from fraying. I don’t have an overlocker so the zig zag stitch is my go-to. I couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out.

This affordable, well-made second-hand dress fits me well now and the neckline doesn’t gape. The sleeves are modest and the skirt is no longer too flouncy.


benefits of learning to sew

The benefits of sewing, mending and making your own clothes.

In an era of environmental consciousness, learning to sew and make your own clothes is more relevant and beneficial than ever.

Sewing skills not only mean saving money (more important in times of high cost of living) but play a significant role in reducing your environmental footprint.

Below are how learning to sew and utilising your existing sewing skills can make a positive impact on your life and the planet.

Learning to sew can be cost effective

Learning to sew and mend your clothes can lead to substantial savings now and in the long term.

Instead of discarding garments due to minor damages you can easily repair them yourself. Upcycling clothes gives them a new life, keeping then in the circular economy rather than going to landfill.

Making your own clothes means you can create custom pieces tailored to your style and fit.  Best of all, you’ll have the satisfaction of wearing something unique, knowing you made it yourself.

Sewing reduces your environmental impact

The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse emissions and environmental polluters. By learning to sew, mend, and upcycle, you actively participate in reducing this impact through waste reduction, resource conservation, and by reducing your carbon footprint.

Evolve your personal style and expression

Homemade and upcycled clothes offer a unique opportunity for personal expression where you can tailor clothes to your preference, size and design.

Sewing means you can enjoy a more meaningful wardrobe that’s filled with items that you love and cherish.

Sewing enhances creativity

Sewing fosters creativity and skill development.

Upcycling encouraging you to think creatively about how to repurpose and rejuvenate old items. Sewing your own clothes allows you to experiment with different fabrics, patterns, and designs. There are no rules!

Making something with your own hands or bringing a beloved items back to life cultivates a sense resourcefulness.

Making ethical fashion choices

By making and mending your own clothes, you align with ethical fashion principles.

Fast fashion often involves exploitative labour practices and poor working conditions. By creating your own garments or repurposing second hand clothing, you know exactly where and how they were made, promoting fair labour practices and ethical production.

Sewing is less wasteful

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, millions of tons of textile waste are generated each year.

Repairing and upcycling clothes keeps them out of landfills and often being shipped overseas and burned.

By extending the life of your garments, you contribute to lowering the environmental impact of clothing waste across the world.