Dresses are tricky; they can serve very important purposes, as for weddings or proms, but they don’t always fit right, especially if you didn’t spend a zillion dollars on them. You may have to end up tailoring your dress.
Here are some tips to help you out.
Hemming: Oftentimes dresses are made to fit people who are 5’9’’… which most women are not. You’re probably going to end up hemming your dress. You can use a sewing machine and sew the ends the way you would normally, or you can use fabric glue, iron-on hem binding, or hemming tape, depending on what the dress will be used for. If you’re sewing, fold the fabric over and pin it so that it will stay the way you want it while you sew. Cut off any extra fabric.
Adding length: If you’re too tall, you may want to add material by buying a shawl or wrap and adding the fabric to the bottom. Also, you can make the dress a high/low hem piece; you can make it short in the front and longer in the back, because this is supposedly an “in” style.
Taking the dress in/out: You should order a size bigger if you’re getting it online so you can take it in safely. Just remember that if you let fabric out, it may have visible needle holes in it. Also, there may not be enough fabric. Remember to work inside-out when you sew, after you pin, of course.
Trains: If your dress has a train, a way to make your dress danceable is to sew a handmade hook and eye to the back of the dress so you can lift the extra material and “hook” it onto a button where it can hang. Lift the train so that the bottom rests where you want it, then sew a nice pearl or stone button to the back of the dress where you will hang the train. Sew some loops onto the train so you can hang the train by the loops on the to button, and there you go! This way it can go from long to short in no time.
If you’re not confident enough about your tailoring abilities, it’s okay to call a seamstress or tailor. Make sure you see the kind of work a potential seamstress has done before you let them do the work; if they’ve worked on wedding dresses, that’s a good sign. Get a bid first before you end up paying more than you want to.