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!


  1. Natali says:

    Your DIYs are always so incredible and inspiring!! LOVE your creativity that you show on this blog.

  2. I love your site and your style. That´s all so inspiring to me!

    Lisa from

  3. Lisa says:

    I’ve never commented before but I’ve always loved your blog. I really appreciate that you don’t compromise your standards for fashion. You are truly inspiring and my favorite fashion blogger!!!

  4. you are amazing!!! Loving this post…I’m hoping to make your leopard clutch tonight. Nothing like a Friday night in with the sewing machine! xo

    ig: @stylemelauren:disqus

  5. Julie says:

    You’re the best! I was just about to tackle that very dress before my anniversary trip. Thanks for the help!

  6. Emmah Karuana says:

    Casual and stylish

  7. Holli says:

    Any quick and dirty tips for figuring out how to make darts the right size/angle? I lose patience with trial and error pretty quickly…

  8. Kimberlee says:

    You really are such an example! I love this refashion!

  9. Steffanie Clark says:

    Just wondering what color you’re wearing on your toes? It is so fun and bright!

  10. Kate says:

    This is way to much work! Just show some leg and save the time!

    • Jane says:

      I don’t mind showing some legs (till appropriate length of course). But those [sun] dresses I like usually are sold for shorter women or teenage girls that don’t mind of wearing something that is 6″ from their buttock. If you have long legs that might be a problem.. Of course you can suggest to shop at tall girl department or wear those dresses with leggings.. But what then if you fell in love with that one particular dress and is too hot for leggings?
      But nobody says you have to do this. Just buy the dress off the rack and be happy with as it is.

  11. Julia Morgan says:

    I tried this and loved it! it’s on my blog. I can’t wait to try more of your dresses! (the perfect chambray dress is next on my list!)

  12. Claire says:

    I happened to buy this dress in navy at ON just yesterday (for $1.57!). It has a side zipper, how did you do this with the side zipper?

    • Merrick says:

      I mention in the tutorial above that I just cut out the zipper, but left it loose so I could still pull it on. Hope that helps!

      • Jane says:

        How difficult is to make it if I decide to leave the zipper in? Coz I’d prefer fitted dress due to my body shape (but gosh..they are sold too short for my 5’7)

      • Merrick says:

        It’s pretty difficult, because you’d have to take out the zipper and put it back in. I’d recommend finding a dress with a back zipper so you can take both sides in evenly. With a side zipper, your dress would be completely lopsided if you only took in one side and not the other. Know what I mean? Hope that helps!

      • Jane says:

        Yes it helped! Thanks 🙂

  13. […] pretty eyelet dress refashion from ‘Merricks Art‘ is a simple one. This dress was perfect, except that it was too short. She shows you how to add […]

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