During the summer, I pretty much live in dresses and skirts. The problem is that most of the dresses in retail that are my style are just too short for me. But I’ve discovered an awesome little refashioning trick for dresses that are too short. It doesn’t work for every dress, but I’ve done it to a ton of different dresses and and I love it.

Here’s the trick to adding length. Size up. It’s as easy as that. Old Navy is my very favorite place to use this trick because as you size up, the length gets significantly longer. So, like the above dress, a size small hits me mid thigh, where an XXL hits me at the knee.

Once you’ve sized up enough to get enough length, then comes the refashioning part — because most likely the neckline, sleeves, waist, and darts now do not fit you. So that’s where I come in. There’s a full step by step tutorial below on how to resize a dress once you’ve sized up….click the READ MORE button below to find the tutorial!

1. Start with your oversized dress.
2. First, unpick your darts. When sizing up so much, they’ll probably be too low and too long for your chest, so just unpick them altogether. You’ll need to unpick the side of your dress a little to access the dart, so do that first.
3. Unpick the undersides of each sleeve, as shown, creating a large hole in each armpit.
4. Now determine the new placement and length of your dart and add it back in at the correct spot. In the next step you’ll be taking in several inches on the sides of your dress, so make sure you plan accordingly when sewing the new dart.
5. Try on your dress and see how much you want to take in on each side. This dress has no stretch to it, and since the zipper is on the side and I cut it out when resizing it, I needed to keep it loose enough that I could still put it on.
This dress also has a lining, but the lining is not attached to the dress at the sides, so the opening at the armpit allows them to be altered separately. First take in the dress on both sides, then take in the lining.
Resizing the sides of the dress will make the arm hole smaller, so take in your sleeves a few inches as well so they will fit back nicely into the arm hole.
ALSO, if your neckline is too wide because of sizing up, unpick the top part of your sleeve (as shown), take up the shoulder seams an inch or so, and then sew them back together. This will make your neckline significantly smaller. [note: depending on how much you take your shoulder seams up, you might have to gather the top of the sleeve a bit for it to fit nicely back together].
Step 6. Tuck your sleeve into your arm hole and sew up the armpit hole.
Step 7. Now your dress is resized AND has all that length!