Easy Dress Alteration

I bought a dress while I was in Fort Worth. I rarely buy dresses that aren't on clearance, but I was looking for something specific for three upcoming occasions. I wanted the dress to be slimming as I still have pregnancy weight leftover. I wanted it to be something fitted since I normally opt for the fit and flare styles. I wanted something that would work for two summer daytime family weddings, plus something I could wear to a black tie event I might be attending at the end of the month. 

This dress made the cut. Unfortunately, the dress had one problem. It did not come in a petite size, so it was just slightly too long in the torso and in overall length. The fabric got all bunched up under my bust (it's hard to see the bunching in the cell phone picture below). 

Messing with the dress in front of a mirror, I determined that all my problems would be solved if I could just raise the shoulder straps by about two or three inches.


To save money, I made the alterations myself. This is not professional by any means! I have never had enough patience to become a seamstress. But this works for me, so I thought I'd share.

1. First things first: I seam ripped the shoulder straps apart.

2. Then I seam ripped the sides of the straps to detach the liner from the outer layer of the dress. I seam ripped down to the level I wanted the straps raised to.

3. I turned the garment inside out and pinned the shoulder straps facing each other to where I wanted it stitched.


4. I machine stitched only the outer layer of fabric at the shoulder seam with a straight seam, leaving the inner layer to be hand stitched down later. 

5. Next, I tried on the dress to make sure the straps were at the right length. Once I ensured the seam was where I wanted it, I cut off the excess fabric about a quarter inch above my new seam. 

6. I machine stitched the sides of the shoulder seam to attach both the liner and the outer layer of the dress at the far edge of the straps.  

7. I folded under that fabric you see sticking out and hand stitched it down straight across to create the shoulder seam on the inner layer of the dress.

Mission accomplished! It doesn't look as clean as it did before, but you have to be up very close and look on the underside of the garment to even notice. Yes, you can do it a more professional way that looks cleaner, but doing it this way means you will have very few seams to rip out - which means it won't take as long. Win!

Now I don't have excess fabric bunching at my midriff and the hem hits at the perfect length. 

You will see this dress in an outfit post in a month or two!