DIY: How to Lengthen a Dress Tutorial

How to add length to a dress

Hi friends! I recently found a dress that I loved from a place that I love (if you’re thinking Target, you’d be correct), but it was just a bit too short on me to wear comfortably. My sister and I were shopping together and when she said, “Well, can’t you just make it longer?!” I laughed that as a sewist I hadn’t thought of that first. The dresses were on clearance for about $14, so we brainstormed, grabbed a total of 4 dresses between the two of us, and were off to hit the sewing machine! Today I’m teaching you how to add length to a dress so you can do the same! You’ll learn how to make a dress longer using my favorite method!

Add Length to a Dress RefashionAdd Length to a Dress Refashion

The trick to lengthening a dress that doesn’t look like you’ve lengthened it is to buy a second dress to use for adding the length. If you find the dresses on clearance like we did, you can still end up with a beautiful dress for a great price! We each spent less than $30 for what’s now my favorite dress! You’ll want to buy one dress in your current size, and another in the largest size you can find to give you the maximum amount of extra fabric to work with.

How to Make a Dress LongerAdd Length to a Dress Refashion

This tutorial works for dresses that have a lining and preferably either a gathered skirt or tiered gathered skirt like mine  – it makes it so easy to add another longer layer that hangs nicely under the original dress. The finished result is my new favorite dress (well, tied with my knit dolman dress…).

Add Length to a Dress Refashion

Target actually had this dress in both blush and black, and it was hard to decide between the two! I almost wish I had bought them both!

Add Length to a Dress RefashionHow to Make a Dress Longer

I have to say that I actually like the look of this dress better than before I added the length! Plus, it’s the most comfortable and easy to wear dress I own, which gets a lot of points in my book.

Add Length to a Dress Refashion

From start to finish this project only took about an hour or so to lengthen both my sister and I’s dresses! I love a fast and satisfying project!

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Ready to learn how to lengthen a dress?! Let’s get started!

How to add length to a dress

How To Add Length To A Dress

– two matching dresses with a lining – one in your current size and one in the largest size you can find – I found mine in the clearance section of Target for $14 each!
– basic sewing supplies – sewing machine, thread, scissors, measuring tape, etc

Once you have your supplies ready, it’s time to learn how to make a dress longer! To start, try the too-short dress on and determine how much added length you’d like to add.

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Next, you’ll want to use the extra dress to cut a piece the entire width of the dress and long enough to add the extra length – take the added amount you’d like + 1″ for seam allowances + however much the lining is shorter that the original dress hem. In my case, I first cut the maximum length I could, and then cut a cleaner line at the height I needed. The great news is this piece will already be hemmed!

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Sew two rows of basting stitches, 3/8″ and 5/8″ from the raw edge of the extra piece.

Add Length to a Dress Refashion

Pull bottom threads only to gather edge to fit bottom of lining. Right side of the ruffle toward the outside of the lining (technically this is usually the wrong side since the right side of the lining is visible on the inside of the dress), pin the ruffled edge to the bottom of the lining, evening gathers.

Add Length to a Dress Refashion

Stitch between basting stitches to sew ruffle to lining. Use seam ripper to remove basting threads visibly on right side of ruffle.

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Use zig-zag stitch or serger to finish seam allowance and press seam allowance away from ruffle.

Add Length to a Dress RefashionHow to Make a Dress Longer

You just learned how to lengthen a dress, how easy was that?! Great job!

How to Lengthen a Dress

Now that you know just how to make a dress longer, head back to the clearance section and find your next project!

How to Add Length to a Dress

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  1. What a great idea! I would have never thought about it but I’m definitely keep that in mind next time I’m shopping.

  2. This is such a cute and simple addition to a dress. And yes, length is always hit or miss when you buy and don’t sew it yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love it! I have a short waist and long legs so too many dresses end up too short. Thank you for reminding me that i dont have to skip the skirt or dress that i love! Oh and Target is the best! Wish we had one here in Centralia.
    Great job!

  4. Wonderful idea. I have a different but similar problem.I have a long torso. I bought(on line) a thermal shirt in a lovely hunter green,with embroidery around the neck. It is a 28 inch long but I need at least a 30 inch. Of course now they are sold out,so I can’t use your method. Any other ideas?

    1. Oh darn! My next suggestion would be to find a fabric that coordinates nicely with it – or even another similar top in a different color perhaps?

      1. Yes, that’s what I did to my dil’s dress. I wish I could send a picture. It was a flowered dress with pink the primary colour. I cut the dress three inches from the bottom and added a coordinating pink band. I also added a very narrow belt to tie it in. I also added an ivory chiffon underneath and hung down 2 inches below hem.

  5. I’m bookmarking this one. Thanks. May I add that a lace panel or gathered piece as an added final layer or even a compatible solid piece would also work. Depending on the dress, even a pretty crinoline or silky slip in a longer length would add eye-catching length as well.

  6. I love it. I have bought a 2nd dress in a larger size to make myself a shawl that matches. Love your idea and especially, the directions on how to do it. Thanks.

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