Get More Life Out of a Too Small Dress

I admit it.

I tend to shy away from refashioning things that are too small.

But thanks to Susan, from Second Chances by Susan, that’s not gonna happen anymore.

Nope, it’s not gonna happen anymore.

She inspired me to try adding panels to the sides of a dress and how right she was!


Click here for the step-by-step how to. I’ll be giving away a copy of The Refashion Handbook to one person who pins and comments on this article.

The Refashion Handbook

Thanks to all of you who commented on and pinned the jacket alteration post. The winner is…


Heidi Martin. Please send you address to and I’ll send the book out to you ASAP. 🙂

Have a wonderful day!


For more refashion inspiration:


About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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28 Responses to Get More Life Out of a Too Small Dress

  1. Lynne T. says:

    I love the idea of adding side panels to a dress that is tight.

  2. Jana says:

    This post is perfect (and pinned now). I am just about to adding size panels not to a dress but to a too small pants. Do you recommend to topstitch the panels?Thank you very much for sharing this. 🙂 Best wishes from Toronto, Jana

  3. Julie says:

    What a great idea to get use out a nice dress.

  4. Julie says:

    I pinned it too!

  5. Also commented on eHow today and pinned. “Love this, very helpful to all those sewers, like me, who are plus sizes. Love all your projects, you have opened up my eyes to refashioning items I never would have considered trying. Thank you so much.!!!!”

  6. smenzmer says:

    Pinned–but eHow does not let me comment.
    love the idea!

  7. Susan Luke says:

    Beth, the dress looks fantastic! I love the inset fabric. And, your pictures are great as usual! I like that you took the after pictures in front of some “subway art.” It echoes the print of your inset fabric which has kind of a subway art-look to it also. Great job and thanks for the shout out!

  8. Anonymous says:

    fabulous idea enjoy your info have a great week

  9. Lindsay says:

    This is so great! I said this in the comment on eHow, but I really love the fabric that was chosen for the example. The end result looks great! I also pinned the article — thanks for the opportunity!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I want to try this technique too. I do not have one to refashion but I have navy blue knit to make a dress with a striped inset!

  11. Mickey Newman says:

    I want to try this technique but do not have a dress to refashion. Think I will make a navy blue dress with a striped inset! I enjoy your blog!

  12. Lillace Christianson says:

    I pinned and commented on the Too Small Dress article. It looks great! I would love a copy of your book.

  13. emadethis says:

    It’s so chic and sporty. I’d never have guessed that it was too small and altered as these fabrics were so obviously made for each other. Well done! Pinning…

  14. kitblue says:

    By using the scarf/cowl in the same fabric, no one would guess there had ever been a problem.

  15. Margie says:

    Couldn’t comment on the sHow post, but I pinned.
    Great idea. I never would have thought of this. I like the matching scarf.

  16. Katherine C says:

    Love the technique, the look of the color blocking and the coordinating scarf to pull it all together! I would top stitch the seams with a twin needle so everything will stay laying smooth when wearing it. Definitely pinned!
    Love it!

  17. Debbie says:

    There are so many possibilities with this technique. I love how you made a matching infinity scarf with the left over material it completes the dress. You are so clever and have a great design eye. I’m going to pin this one.

  18. Ruth Lutz says:

    Love the idea of finding a way to still use some of those old favorites that seem to have “shrunk” just a bit while in my closet! I’ve also seen people add a wedge shaped piece from the center of the back collar to the center back hem. Thanks so much for sharing your terrific refashion ideas with us – this was pinned to my Refashion folder and I’ll be using this idea soon!
    Warm regards,
    Ruth Lutz

  19. Anonymous says:

    Way to make a beautiful fitted dresse

  20. Dani says:

    I’m definitely going to try this but I may practice on a t-shirt first to get the hang of it and use a contrasting fabric for fun.

  21. Deb Christy says:

    Love the dress remake! I too will need to practice on something else first haha! Thanks!

  22. Mother Deer says:

    This is a really nice post; thank you. I always need to make the sleeves larger, and this method will work well on many garments.

  23. That’s a great idea! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow afternoon that links to your tutorial: –Anne

  24. Lynn Marsh says:

    I have done this myself. I used it on a lightweight green print dress I had started and that just needed hemmed and finished. Obviously ,it was from at least 30 pounds before I discovered when I tried to try it I made the side panels from some black knit I had. So I say easy fix.

  25. Always so darn amazing! It looks great!

  26. I love this idea–why didn’t I think of it? Glad you did!

  27. jill says:

    Love these diy ideas. I’m going to have to find a permanent home for my sewing machine in my new place. You have inspired me.

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