How to Make Blouses and Dresses Smaller

By Ronnie Dauber ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Straight pins
  • Chalk
  • Sewing needle (or sewing machine)
Make that favorite dress hug your curves in all the right places.

Adjust the size of a blouse or a dress to make your clothing fit around your curves perfectly. Bring in just a little bit of fabric at the sides to make the dress or blouse a little bit more form fitting, or take in a lot of fabric to make a fashion essential that hugs every curve you have. Modifying hemlines to make a dress smaller is simple and lets you customize the length to reveal just a little more leg or to turn the dress into a short and flirty outfit.

Altering Sides

Try on the item inside out. Grasp the excess fabric at the sides of the clothing. Distribute the extra fabric equally between the two sides to make sure the clothing fits properly.

Insert straight pins down the length of the sides to adjust the size. Take off the item, making sure the item slides off easily and no area is too tight.

Lay the clothing inside out on your work surface and draw a line on the outside of the pins. Draw the line with a piece of chalk or fabric pen, about 1/8-inch away from the pins.

Sew the new side seams. Use a simple running stitch or a tiny zigzag stitch.

Cut off the sides of the shirt, about 1/4-inch past the new seams. The 1/4-inch seam allowance lets your readjust the size of the shirt if necessary later. Turn the shirt right side out and try it on to ensure a perfect fit.

Altering Hems

Try on the clothing inside out.

Fold the bottom hem over and pull it upward until the clothing reaches the length you would like.

Insert pins along the fold to keep it in place and remove the clothing.

Sew a running stitch about 1/2-inch away from the fold and then iron along the fold to make the hem lay flat.

Cut off the fabric, leaving at least a 1/4-inch seam allowance for readjustment later. Try on the clothing right side out.

About the Author

Ronnie Dauber is a Canadian author with six books published to date, and has been a professional writer online since 2007. She holds three college diplomas in children's and adult literature and one college diploma in business administration and common law.