Since discovering the sizing up for extra hem length trick, my whole shopping experience has changed. I can’t tell you how many clothing pieces I’ve fallen in love with but had to pass on because they were just a few inches too short. But now I just size up two or three (or even four or five) sizes, take them home and tailor them to fit, and suddenly I have a killer dress that is long enough for me to be comfortable. Such was the case with this simple sweatshirt shift dress from Target. So much potential, but a few inches too short. I sized up to an XL, and with a few simple cuts and seams it has now taken its place among my favorite dresses.

target dress, altered

I stupidly didn’t take a photo of me in the dress before altering it, so I ventured back into Target yesterday to see if I could find one and snap a picture in the dressing room. I couldn’t find one in the black and white stripe, but they had it in a pink stripe so I took a quick picture wearing it so you could see the huge transformation (and imagine it was in the right color).


  • oversized shift dress (mine is this one from Target. I’m normally a size small, but I sized up to an XL). 
  • Matching thread
  • Seam ripper/Scissors

Step 1 // Start with your oversized dress.
Step 2 // Cut off the sleeves along the seams, as shown. (You can seam rip instead, but I find that it takes much more time and cutting is just as effective).
Step 3 // If the shoulder widths are too wide, trim these now to your desired width.
Step 4 // Next, take your sleeves that you cut off and turn inside out. If they have buttons and tabs like mine, remove those with the seam ripper and flatten the sleeve completely out, as shown. Measure the width of your arm (to determine how slim you want to make the arms), and then sew a seam parallel to the original seam, slimming down the sleeve.
Step 5. Determine how much you want to slim down your dress and then pin and resize with a straight seam down both sides, as shown.
Step 6. Attach the sleeves with right sides together, sewing around the entire arm hole to attach, as shown.
Step 7. And you’re done!

Happy Friday, and happy sewing!
(You can also find my tutorials for resizing an oversized fit and flare dress here and here!)


  1. Erica McLeod says:

    I was just looking at this dress at Target the other day. BTW, it was on the clearance rack at a great price at my store. Thanks for sharing your tutorial. It looks great on you!

  2. Love this idea! They are so hard to find where they fit right! Hope you have a great weekend!

    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  3. Lindsay says:

    Seriously Merrick you never cease to amaze me!! I love a ton of dresses at target but they are always too short. I am going to try this. Thanks for the tutorial. 🙂

  4. 204 Park says:

    This is so smart! Thanks for the tip, girlie! Xo S

  5. Lauro says:

    This is great. I have tried ordering tall sized dresses from Old Navy but they still weren't long enough. I would love to try this but my question is, if you alter the arm hole/shoulders and/or the sleeves, does it not create a miss-match in size when you try to sew them back together?

    • If you alter the sleeves first, measure the width of how much you took off, and then take in roughly that same width on the sides of each dress. Then they should fit right back together without a problem. If your fabric has some stretch to it, it will allow you for a little extra wiggle room if your measurements aren't exactly the same. Hope that helps!

  6. Acacia says:

    Lovely! I found a dress I liked (and wanted) the other day but it was far too large… re-thinking about whether or not to get it now. 🙂

  7. Leanne Dolan says:

    This is such a good idea, never even thought of buying a bigger size and then altering it! It doesnt sound too hard to do either!

    ​​Leanne @ Leanne-Marie ​ x​​

  8. cheerlubber says:

    Such a great idea, it came out super cute!! Totally going to have to try this some time. I'm curious though…I'm actually headed to Europe myself in a week and a half (going to Estonia for their national music festival) and I'd like to take some sandals in addition to my other walking shoes…how did your feet hold up walking around Amsterdam in those Target sandals? Thanks!

  9. Do you have lularoe dresses? I love them because they fit but are long !

  10. Do you have lularoe dresses? I love them because they fit but are long !

  11. Do you have lularoe dresses? I love them because they fit but are long !

  12. Kristin says:

    This is a great tutorial! I’m just starting to get into designing and sewing, so I figured this would be a great way to start with an existing piece. Thanks so much!

  13. Irene says:

    thanks for this tutorial. I did a resizing today!

  14. Tari says:

    I really love your outfits especially your sandals. what brand is your sandals ?

  15. Karla Jackson says:

    I have a dumb question about step 6. when you say “right sides together” i’m not sure what that means. Do you mean to turn the dress inside out and the sleeves inside out and pin the sleeves to the dress? Sorry, I’m not a sewer. Just trying to take in a nightshirt that’s way too big.

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