A strapless dress must fit perfectly to be able to wear with confidence.
Dresses usually come in even sizes: 2, 4, 6, …..etc. The corresponding bust measurements are 32, 34, 36. But most of us will fall somewhere in between sizes. In shopping for the perfect gown, it needs to look great and feel great. Too small and you may have too much back fat. Too big and there could be some slippage when you lift your arms (or dance.)
The following is an easy way to fix a dress that is too big to feel secure.
Most gowns have fabrics that are intimidating for even the most experienced sewers. The thought of taking in a dress like this is unthinkable. But wait…..
Most well-made gowns will have some sort of corset or lining with boning on the inside.
I was able to make 2 darts in the lining without touching the outside layer of the dress. That was just enough to hold the dress up. The dress still fell nicely from the body.
I started at the waist and took in 4/8" and sewed straight so that it angeled off the edge near the top of the dress. At the bust line it was about 2/8". With 2 darts like this, I took in 1" at the bust and took in 2" at the waist.
Pull the lining slightly away from the dress. Find an area between the stays on the back of the dress near the side seam. Fold the lining lengthwise, keeping the outside of the dress away. Pin the fold in place. Place a ruler along the fold. Have the ruler off the fold at the top edge of the dress, and 2/8" away from the fold at the waistline making a narrow V shape. Mark a line along the ruler, this is where you want to sew. Sew a V-shape starting with the mouth of the V at the waist and ending off with the tip of the V at the top edge of the dress. Repeat on the other side of the dress. Read more on sewing darts HERE (Craftsy affiliate link).
Since you are sewing on the lining only, it won't show. Don't worry about what it looks like. If unsure how much to take in, start with narrow darts then try on the dress. If still too loose, make the darts slightly wider. There is no need to unsew the first dart.
This technique works even if the lining is sewn together at the waist. Just try to separate the layers so that you are able to take in the lining even a little bit.
You can even do this alteration by hand with a needle and thread if you do not have a sewing machine.
While you are inside your dress, look for this small strap with a snap. This is to wrap around the back of your strapless bra so that it doesn't peek up from under your dress.
A perfect fit!