How to Alter a Formal Dress

FormalDress

In October of 2013, I had the privilege of standing as a bridesmaid in my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. We ordered the bridesmaid dresses from an online company using our measurements. Unfortunately, when my dress arrived, it had several issues. The waist was too snug and I couldn’t take a deep breath. The lining of the dress was too small and caused the overlay to bunch up. We did not have time to reorder the dress so I headed for my seam ripper.

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To make the waist measurement larger, I began by finding the largest amount of seam allowance. Usually it will be in the side seams or along the zipper. I had a large seam allowance by my zipper.

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Carefully begin ripping the stitches out on both sides of your zipper. The material of formal dresses can be delicate so take your time. I stopped ripping just past the ruched waistband.

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Look at all that extra fabric. It was like finding gold! [grin] Next, I started reinstalling the invisible zipper. Here’s my favorite tutorial on installing invisible zippers. Sew the zipper to the bodice first.

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Hand sew the lining to the zipper using a whipstitch. Hand sewing the lining in fixed my problem of the bunched overlay.

Repeat the entire process on the other side. Carefully steam the dress.

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The finished product–you can see where I let it out. After I steamed it, it looked much better.

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This is the best picture I could find of the back of my dress while it was on me.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Formal pictures (the 1st and last) courtesy of JN Photography.
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