How to Make a Dress Bigger Without Sewing

How to Make a Dress Bigger Without Sewing – 6 Easy Hacks To Expand

You might have been waiting to bring out a dress for a party for a long time and finally got the opportunity. However, you see that the dress has shrunk or you don’t like how the dress looks. The party is soon approaching, but you don’t know how to sew and taking it to a seamstress might take too long. Then fear not! Because it is possible to make the dress look bigger without sewing!

So how does one make a dress bigger without sewing? Well, I am here to tell you that there are two main ways to do it. Either you take the risky option of letting out the dress or you make the illusion that the dress is bigger than it is. It might seem complicated, but you can do this in 6 different ways. Read on to learn how to make your dress bigger without sewing at all!

Key Takeaways

6 Ways to Make the Dress Look Bigger Without Sewing

As I have mentioned, it’s either letting out the dress or you can make the dress seem bigger than it actually is. With both ways, you can make bold fashion statements while adding your own twist. Here are the 6 easy do-it-yourself tips to make that shrunken dress look big again.

Hem tape adhesive

Hem tape adhesive
Hem tape adhesive

A double-sided hem tape is one of the best ways to add fabric to your dress without sewing it on! For this, there are temporary and permanent hem tapes available, but I think a permanent one will make more sense. Not only will it have no stitch marks on your dress, but with the right material, your dress will look bigger too!

Step 1: Choosing the right material and right tape

Fusible hem tapes have different types to match the use of different materials. It also comes in different thicknesses. Therefore, you have to choose the right tape. Not only that, the fabric that you want to add has to match the dress! Otherwise, the design of the dress will look too out of place.

Step 2: Add the tape to the hem

The next step is to add the tape along the hem. Make sure that the hem tape is on the underside of the fabric so that others won’t notice that you have added extra fabric to your dress. If you are adding any fabric to the edge of a dress, make sure to leave about ⅛th space between the edge and the tape, so you don’t iron any excess tape outside the dress.

Step 3: Ironing the tape over the fabrics to join them together

Lastly, iron the tape to join the two fabrics together. Don’t iron directly on the tape, instead do it over another cloth or use a pressing cloth to iron over the tape. The heat from the iron will melt the tape and fuse the two fabrics together. If the instruction is not mentioned on the hem tape package, use medium to medium-high heat to iron the tape.

Step 4: Check if the tape is sealed with your fingers

Use your finger over where you have fused the fabrics. There should be no edges coming off and the tape is evenly spread. If you see any edges are not pressed properly, iron them again until it is completely fused.

Letting out the dress

Letting out the dress might seem risky, but fashion is all about taking the risk. This involves letting out the hem stitches at the ends of the dress. By doing this you can get that little bit of fabric out to make it look just a little bit bigger.

Letting out the dress
Letting out the dress

Step 1: Determining if you can let out the dress

Not all dresses have hemstitches that can be let out, that is why it is important to see if you can do this or not.

Step 2: Try on the dress and measure them

Next, wear the dress and see how much of the dress you let out and in what parts you can let it.

Step 3: Using a seam ripper

Finally, take the seam ripper and let out those seam stitches at the hem. Carefully take them out to avoid making unnecessary marks and holes on the dress

Step 4: Getting rid of the ripped stitches

The ripped stitches might look awkward on your dress so take an iron and a stiff bristle brush. Wipe any loose fabric and iron out the dress to make the hem look smooth.

Removing the elastic

Removing the elastic
Removing the elastic

Some dresses have elastic bands at the waist to make the dress adjust to the body. You might not prefer how the elastic looks or don’t want it hugging your body. By taking it out, you can make the dress look bigger instead!

Step 1: Locating where the elastics are

Usually, the elastic bands are around the neck, armhole, and waist. You can determine which part of the dress you want to have the elastic taken out, or you can take out all of them!

Step 2: Take out the elastic with a seam ripper

Once again, the seam ripper is the best tool to use here. Carefully take out the stitching that is sewn into the elastic band and then remove it. For the armhole, you have to remove the inner stitching first to get the elastic out, which frees up more space to make your dress look bigger.

See Also: What Size Sewing Machine Needle For Cotton?

Using a Belt

Using a belt
Using a belt

Now it is time to use the power of illusion to make your dress look bigger. And nothing makes a fashion statement much like a matching belt to complement your dress. The belt helps tighten the dress around the waist to form an umbrella shape at the bottom. This will make the dress look bigger than it actually is!

Step 1: Matching your belt to your dress

An out-of-place belt will ruin your whole outfit! That is why you have to find a belt that matches your dress first. Try either matching the pattern of your dress or wearing a belt that creates adds contrast to your outfit.

Step 2: Fit your belt according to your liking

You can either make tighten the belt to hug your body to make your dress look bigger. Or you can wear the belt in a loose manner which makes the dress seem bigger!

Safety Pins

Another illusion trick is using a safety pin. If you didn’t already know, safety pins are used all the time when sewing to keep fabrics in place before stitching. Much like the belts, this will tighten this will not only tighten the waist but also can be used at the neck. This makes the dress look sharp and forms that umbrella shape at the bottom to make the dress feel bigger.

Safety pins
Safety pins

Step 1: Where your dress and mark where the safety pins will go

Firstly, wear the dress and see which area of the dress you want to add the safety pins to. You can also use the safety pins while wearing the dress to see how it looks. Have a friend help you out with this when you want to add the pin to hard-to-reach places.

Step 2: Add the safety pin to the inside of the dress

A safety pin will look bad if it is over the dress. So after you have marked the area where you want to add the safety pin, clip it on the inside of the fabric. This will make it less noticeable and your dress bigger.

Side slit in fabric

Side slit in fabric
Side slit in fabric

And for the final illusion trick, you can add a side slit to your dress. This will make the dress look bigger at the ends and give you the extra option of showing off your legs.

Step 1: Wear the dress and mark how much you want the slit to be

This is especially the case for long dresses. Mark the length of the slit with visible chalk and a ruler to make the slit as straight as possible. This will be completely dependent on how much leg you want to show. Even a small slit will make the dress look bigger.

Step 2: Use fabric-cutting scissors to cut the slit

Finally, use the scissors to cut the dress to form the slit on the dress.


How do you tighten a tight dress without sewing?

Using a belt or a safety pin can help you tighten the dress without having to sew the dress. This will make the dress look bigger as well!

Can hem tape ruin the fabric?

The hem tape will not ruin the fabric if you apply it correctly. Remember, don’t use the iron directly, and make sure the iron is at medium heat.

What causes clothes to expand or shrink?

Clothes expand or shrink during washing. This is because the fabric can absorb moisture which will cause it to expand or shrink. The heat from washing machines might also be the cause.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it! These are the 6 ways that you can make the dress look bigger without even having to touch a sewing machine or a kit. In my opinion, hem tape is the best way to add more fabric without having to sew. To make a dress bigger, an illusion can only do so much. That is why adding extra fabric at the ends of the dress will sure that your dress looker bigger without having to sew in new fabric.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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