Tutorial: Altering a Bridesmaid Dress By Yourself

I know from personal experience that bridesmaid dresses can be a big headache for the bride, like when they don't fit and a new dress must be procured right before the wedding. So since this was already bridesmaid dress #2, I was determined to make it work. Especially since the store that sells this dress isn't located in the state of Arizona, and by the time my friend had purchased one for me in Iowa, changed the belt from blue to yellow, and mailed it to me, the season for them was past, and they weren't in stores anywhere.

Although I had measured myself and picked the closest measurements online, the dress was gigantic. But, better too big than too small!

In the end, I ended up shortening the straps by an inch each, and taking it in an inch on each side. Here's how I did it step by step, in case you have a dress in your closet in need of shrinkage: 

1. Turn the dress inside out, and put it on. Zip it up to give you an accurate fit. 

My in-laws have a full wall mirror in their bathroom, hence the lovely toilet in the background.

2. Pin the excess fabric along the side seams, under your arms. Having a mirror to look into while doing this helps!

4. Take the dress off, and keeping it inside out, head to the sewing machine.  Sew a diagonal line up the side, with the widest point at the top of the seam, under the arms, and tapering off at the waist of the dress. Tip: sew with a large stitch first, that way if you mess up it will be easy to rip out.

Repeat on the other side.

Be sure that you've pinned the fabric so that the top is even, like shown.

5. To shorten the straps, put the dress on wrong-side out again. Pinch the excess of the straps above the shoulder, and pin. Take the dress off again, and sew across where you pinned it.

Now the straps are short enough, but where you made a new seam across the shoulder is kinda bulky, see?

So chop off the old seam, and zig zag, serge, or fray check the edges, like so:


(That's me with my back turned towards the photographer.)

 Here's from the front, I'm the second bridesmaid in the front row, next to the flower girls.

Wedding photos taken by Haley Rustvold. 

It's that easy! I hope these steps help you give new life to a dress that's too big. Happy altering!

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