How to Make a Dress Bigger by Adding Fabric

Do you have a dress that is too small? Trying to find the perfect fit can be daunting, but luckily you don’t need to give up on your favorite dress. It’s possible to make the garment larger by adding fabric and creating an altered version of your beloved piece one that fits perfectly! In this blog post, we’ll guide you through how to add fabric in order to make a dress bigger.

How to Make a Dress Bigger by Adding Fabric

We’ll explore how to make a dress bigger by adding fabric and which kinds of fabrics are suitable for alteration projects, techniques for combining them into the existing design, and tips for ensuring success with each stitch. With just a bit of effort and some necessary supplies handy, it’s easy to transform your current look into something elegant and tailored specifically for comfort.

Can You Add Fabric to the Back of a Dress to Make It Bigger?

Yes, you can add fabric to the back of a dress to make it bigger. This is an easy alteration that many tailors and seamstresses are able to do quickly and effectively. One way to add fabric to the back of a dress is by inserting a panel of fabric between the zipper and lining or outer fabric.

This will create additional space in the back for more comfort and ease. If you have access to sewing tools and machines, you can easily insert panels of fabric yourself. You may also be able to find experienced professionals who specialize in alterations at local dry cleaners or tailor shops who can help with this particular alteration.

Another option for making your dress bigger is by adding gussets in the armhole area, which will allow the dress to fit over your shoulders more easily. Adding gussets is a bit more advanced, but it can be done if you have the necessary skills and tools. By adding gussets in the armhole area, you will also be able to make other alterations at the same time such as taking in or lengthening a hemline.

No matter what type of alteration you choose to make, it’s important to remember that when working with fabric there are certain rules that need to be followed. Therefore, if it’s your first time attempting an alteration like this it’s best to consult a professional tailor or seamstress for advice and assistance. They will help ensure that you achieve the desired result while keeping the fabric intact.

Is It Possible to Make a Dress Bigger?

Yes, it is possible to make a dress bigger. With the right materials and techniques, you can add fabric to an existing dress to increase its size. This allows you to customize a standard-sized dress to fit your body perfectly. It also gives you the chance to save money by reusing or repurposing old clothes instead of buying new ones. Depending on the type of material used for the dress, there are several ways you can go about making it larger.

You Can Add Fabric to an Existing Dress

One popular way to expand a garment is by adding panels of matching fabrics around the sides and bust area. You can either sew these in place or use Velcro or snaps as fasteners. For garments made out of stretchy materials such as Lycra or spandex, you may be able to simply add more fabric in the form of gussets. This will allow you to increase the size of the dress without adding seams or visible stitching lines.

You can also resize a dress from the top down. If your dress has straps, for example, you could make them longer and adjust how they fit around your body. Similarly, if your dress has a waistline seam, you can reposition it to give yourself extra room and create a looser fit at the waist. Finally, some dresses feature ruching along the sides; this type of fabric can easily be let out to provide additional space and volume.

10 Methods How to Make a Dress Bigger by Adding Fabric

1. Assess the Dress

Start by assessing the dress to determine where additional fabric needs to be added. Look for seams, darts, or areas that are too tight or uncomfortable. Identify the sections that require expansion.

For example, if you need extra room in the bust area, examine how much fabric is available from the waistline down. However, if there is not much fabric to work with, consider an alternative option such as adding a center panel or adjusting the side seams.

2. Choose Matching Fabric

Select a fabric that closely matches the color, texture, and weight of the original dress. This will ensure a seamless and natural-looking alteration. Consider factors such as stretchiness and drapability to ensure the added fabric blends well with the existing dress.

However, keep in mind that a slightly more heavyweight fabric will be easier to work with and provide greater support. While the exact shade of fabric might not be available, try to pick out a color that is as close as possible.

3. Seam Rip the Dress

Using a seam ripper, carefully remove the stitches along the seams that need to be expanded. Take care not to damage the fabric. If the dress has darts, carefully remove them as well.

Using a Seam Ripper

4. Create Pattern Pieces

Lay the dress flat and trace the outline of the expanded sections onto pattern paper. Add seam allowances to these outlines. Cut out the pattern pieces to use as a guide when cutting the additional fabric.

For the waist, trace around the hip section and up to the top of dress where you want it to be larger. It is best if this line creates a slight curve from the hip to the waist, as it will be more flattering. Additionally, the sides of the dress should have an extra 2 inches added from the armhole to hem.

5. Measure and Cut the Additional Fabric

Measure the dimensions of the expanded sections using the pattern pieces as a reference. Add a bit of extra fabric for seam allowances. Transfer these measurements to the additional fabric and carefully cut out the required pieces.

6. Pin and Sew the Additional Fabric

Place the additional fabric pieces onto the corresponding sections of the dress, aligning the edges and matching any pattern or design. Pin the fabric in place and use a sewing machine or needle and thread to stitch along the edges, following the original stitching pattern. Take care to maintain the same seam allowance as the original dress.

7. Adjust Darts or Pleats

If the dress had darts or pleats, recreate them in the added fabric to maintain the original shape and fit. Use the original dress as a guide to ensure accurate placement and sizing. Pin the darts or pleats in place and use a hand-sewing needle to stitch them securely. To maintain the same shape as on the original dress, make sure to match up all darts or pleats when resewing them in place.

Use the Original Dress as a Guide

8. Blend the Seams

After sewing the additional fabric, carefully press the seams open or towards the added fabric, depending on the original dress’s construction. This will help the added fabric blend seamlessly with the existing fabric and create a polished finish.

Use a steam iron to press the seams, making sure not to let the iron linger too long on any one area of fabric. Avoid pressing through the dress to the other side, as this can cause permanent wrinkles. Repeat until all of the seams and darts in the additional fabric are pressed flat.

9. Try On and Make Adjustments

Put the altered dress on and assess the fit. If necessary, make any additional adjustments by taking in or letting out the seams. Use pins or temporary basting stitches to secure the fit before making permanent alterations.

While wearing the dress, check the fit in the shoulder seams, armholes and bust line. If more room is needed in any area, remove temporary basting stitches and let out the seams a bit more. Check to ensure that the hem is not too long or too short.

10. Finish the Seams

Once you’re satisfied with the fit, finish the seams to prevent fraying. You can use a serger, zigzag stitch, or overlock stitch on a sewing machine. Alternatively, you can hand sew a blanket stitch or use bias tape to enclose the raw edges of the seams.

You Can Use a Serger


All-in-all, increasing the size of a dress does not need to be a daunting task when you have the necessary tools and expertise. Knowing how to make a dress bigger by adding fabric can be an incredibly rewarding project, as its outcome will help you look and feel your best. Not only is it possible to alter the size of the dress so it fits perfectly, but the addition of your own unique fabrics and designs can make your product stand out.

Whether you prefer subtlety or are looking for something more dramatic, this technique will help you achieve whatever style preference you may have. So make sure to arm yourself with some creative ideas and DIY know-how, and get ready to make that perfect dress yours in no time!

Nancy Behan

Nancy Behan

Nancy is an embroidery artist, fashion blogger and a full time editor at DIY quickly. Nancy edits the fashion section on DIY quickly, focusing on the embroidery and cross stitch articles, alongside with fabric and other costume design elements. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. She loves to work on her own projects, read books and watch romantic movies in her spare time.

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