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How to Make an Ill-Fitting Dress Fit in All The Right Places Without Alterations

I'm sure you've heard the expression before, "A little goes a long way". This wise old adage holds true with vintage clothing as well. If you happen to find yourself falling madly in love with a vintage garment but sadly it's too big for you or it's not "hugging" you in all the right places, chin up my dearies! Don't pass up a fabulous dress just because you think it won't fit or that you'll have to spend too much money on tailoring. The answer may just be something you already have at home. Here are some examples of how to make a dress fit in all the right ways.

Add a Belt to Flatter Curves and Give the Illusion of an Hourglass Figure

Create shape and the illusion of an hourglass figure by cinching in your waist with a belt
Create shape and the illusion of an hourglass figure by cinching in your waist with a belt | Source

Above is an adorable shirt dress from the 1950s to early 60's by Mode O' Day. It's a size medium to large, so if you're petite the dress on it's own would be too overpowering on your figure. Even if it is the right size for you, the dress is cut more or less straight, which might not be that flattering on most figures.

A quick and easy solution is to add a belt. A skinny one would suit this dress better. If you don't already have a skinny belt, we suggest investing in one. It can be used with so many outfits! This one was only around $5 from Forever 21, so it's not like you have to break the bank to own one!

Use Safety Pins to Make a Chic Wrap Dress

Vintage 1950's-60's shirt dress Mode O' Day.
Vintage 1950's-60's shirt dress Mode O' Day. | Source

Safety pins? Yup, that's right. You may already have collected a few safety pins from your previous purchases, in which case this won't cost you a penny.

This works great with shirts, dresses, or light jackets that are just too big and baggy. Transform an ill fitting garment into a cool and chic statement piece. Simply wrap it around your curves and pin it in place with safety pins.

The pins we've used are small and discreet enough to go unnoticed, but why not be creative and work your inner crafting cleverness and show it off. Use colored safety pins or large gold safety pins a la Elizabeth Hurley's Versace gown and get ready to turn some heads!

Pinning may lead to puckering of the fabric in the back. If it doesn't look as flattering in the back as the front, loosely gather the back into pleats and pin those together. You may need a friend to help you on this one.

Safety pin the back also to fix unsightly puckering.
Safety pin the back also to fix unsightly puckering.

Use Ribbon to Create an Empire Waist Line

Take a tip from Edwardian fashion and tie a ribbon just under the bust to create an empire waist line.
Take a tip from Edwardian fashion and tie a ribbon just under the bust to create an empire waist line.

A large maxi dress, like this one above, can make you feel like a sack of potatoes. Take a tip from Edwardian fashion and add a ribbon just under the bust to create an empire waist line. It's uber-flattering and covers any lumps and bumps around the tummy area, which I think most of us can agree we can do without!

Vintage 1970's maxi dress handmade piece. From CutandChicVintage shop on Etsy
Vintage 1970's maxi dress handmade piece. From CutandChicVintage shop on Etsy

Comments 5 comments

Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

This is a cool idea. Thanks for the tips!


CutandChicVintage profile image

CutandChicVintage 4 years ago from New York City Author

Hello Julie! Thank you! :)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I admire women who know how to add the "something" to make it look good! I wish I could that more... hehe

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. This way please to read and vote http://hubpages.com/community/A-HubNugget-Hunt-for... Enjoy!


CutandChicVintage profile image

CutandChicVintage 4 years ago from New York City Author

Thank you very much! I'm very honored to have my hub considered and to be amongst such really great company!


Esmer 4 years ago

These are clever and practical ideas worth recommending.

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