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How to Let Out a Dress

Need some breathing room? Let out your dress for a perfect fit.


  • TIP: Use a seam ripper to avoid cutting a hole in your dress.
  • Step 1: Try on your dress. Look for puckers or bubbles that might require some late adjustments.
  • FACT: In the 16th-century French court, influenced by Catherine de Medici, ladies in waiting were to cinch their waists with corsets to 13 inches as a matter of communicating class and wealth.
  • Step 2: Snip with your scissors and pull out the original seam now that the new one is in place.
  • Step 3: Sew along your marks using a sewing machine, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your new seam.
  • Step 4: Measure your waist and hips. Lay the dress out flat, measuring the front and back at the waist and hips. Write down the difference between the two.
  • Step 5: Divide the difference --which is the amount you have to let the garment out -- by two when letting out the side seams.
  • Step 6: Mark the new seam with tailor's chalk. Blend your seam into the original one 2 to 3 inches above and below the area to be let out.
  • Step 7: Turn the dress inside out and measure the seam allowance. You will need at least 1/4-inch seam after you let your dress out.

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