Altering a Dress

Finished Product. African Dress cut down to A-Line dress

I am horrible at taking before and after pics. I think about taking the pictures AFTER I finished the project! #epicfail. Well today I wanted to show off a dress I altered for a client. The “before” shot would of been of a boxy style dress. There was no shape to it what so ever. The client wanted to make the dress into an A-Line dress.

Sometimes, it is difficult to alter a dress from one style to another. Always remember  you can take fabric away but you cannot put it back. So the first step is to analyze the project and make sure you are able to alter it. Do not ever be afraid to walk away from a project. Sometimes the headache is not worth it.

I began the alteration by taking her measurements and doing a little math. she gave me her chest measurement and waist measurement. I should of asked for her hip measurement as well, but since I knew the client I knew I could get away with guessing her hip size. PLEASE consider taking the clients hip measurement if you do not know her.

Time for some quick math. I took her chest measurement and added 3″. For example, if the clients chest measures 34″ add 3″ for a total measurement of 37″. I then took her waist measurement and added 3″ as well. Use the same formula for the chest measurement.

Why use 3 inches?

The reason why I used 3″ is because the dress is a pull over dress. There was not a center back seam to add a zipper, which was originally discussed. But after looking over the garment, It would not have made sense to cut a back seam to insert a zipper. I decided the best thing to do was to leave it as a pull over dress. Which meant I could not make it as fitted as she wanted it to be. 3″-4″ is enough room in the dress for movement and to slip on and off.

I opted for 3″ at the bust and 3″ at the waist.  Back to our quick math. I took the total bust measurement (37″) and divided by 4 which came to 9.25 in. Confused yet?

When making patterns we work in quarters. There is a right front, left front, back left and a righ left (4quarters). So I turned the dress in side out and folded it in half. Measured from the center front (CF) of garment and measured 9.25 and made a mark with a washable pen. I came down and did the same process again for the waist. After I made the mark for the waist. I took my french curve and connected the “dots”. I took my metal yard stick ruler (36″) and from the waist to the end of the dress I angled the ruler to the end of the dress. Basically the ruler will look like one side of a triangle, smaller at the top and wider at the bottom. I took my washable marker and drew in the lines.

After drawing in the lines, I pinned the garment where I would sew and turn it right side out. I measured from side seam to side seam to make sure the measurements where 37″.

The next step is the easy step. Add your seam allowance, cut away the excess  material. After cutting away the excess material I pinned the garment so it would not shift.

I changed out my thread on my serger and began sewing the side seams and then I came back with my straight stitch to make sure the garment is secured.

I am very please with of this garment. and it did not take very long to suggestion for beginner sewers who want to become more confident in alterations. I would begin looking for various blogs and youtube videos on alterations and sewing tips.

Remember sew something everyday and Keep Sewing!

If you want to see more projects I am working on check out my page Siri2Siri

You can also follow me on Twitter: @Siri2Siri  IG: Siri2Siri and Pinterest: Siri2Siri


Dress with measurement markings and excess material cut away
Dress with pins in them so the material will not shift

















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