A loose dress is a great way to feel comfortable and stylish at the same time, but your curves may get lost in all the fabric.
Sometimes, you don’t want to permanently alter the item because you want to style it in different ways. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make the dress fit better without permanently altering it.
How to make a loose dress tight without sewing? Tried-and-true methods include using a belt or a ribbon around your waist to highlight your curves. If you want the effect to look a bit more subtle, you can also use safety pins or rubber bands to gather the fabric.
In this article, let’s take a look at a few creative ways that you can make a loose dress fit better without having to sew.
1. Use A Belt
A belt is always a must-have accessory in every wardrobe since it is so versatile. If you have a belt that matches the color, texture, or pattern of your dress, you can wear it to cinch the dress around your waist.
If you don’t have a belt, you can also use any ribbon or even metal chain that you have around the house to cinch your waist. Whatever you use, make sure that it can add to the overall look of your dress.
Then, it’s a matter of tying it around your waist and adjusting the dress so that the fabric is cinched in all the right places that compliment your curves.
2. Use Safety Pins
If you have big safety pins (2 – 3 inches), you can also use them to gather the fabric in the back of the dress or on the two sides of the waistline to make the waist a bit more fitting.
This method works best if you have very big safety pins that can hold a few layers of fabric without becoming undone. If you have smaller safety pins, skip to the next tip, where we show you how to make temporary belt loops with safety pins.
In addition, you should also know that safety pins can poke holes in your fabric. Knit fabrics will heal (meaning the holes will disappear when the pins are removed), but woven fabrics may hold the holes created by the safety pins until the threads are loosened up in the washing machine.
Silk and other delicate fabrics may be damaged when you use safety pins, so proceed with caution!
This method is also a bit risky because the safety pin may become undone as you move through your day, so make sure to use extra heavy-duty safety pins that won’t release when under pressure.
If you want a decorative touch, you can also use these decorative pins that can become a design element in your dress.
If you have a strappy dress that is a bit too loose at the top, you can use the safety pin to hold the two straps together at the back. This will make the bust area a bit better fitting and highlight your curves a bit better.
Here’s how to cinch a dress at the waist using safety pins:
- First, turn your dress inside out.
- You can use two safety pins to gather the fabric on the two sides of the waistline or use one single safety pin to gather the fabric at the back, depending on how much smaller you want to make the dress.
- Measure how much fabric you want to gather, ideally with a tape measure.
- Fold the fabric multiple times along the length that you want to gather, and insert the safety pin through all of the layers you have folded. The more fabric you gather, the tighter the dress will become.
- Try on the dress and adjust the safety pin as needed.
3. Use Safety Pins & A Shoelace
Another way to use safety pins to make your dress better fitting is by turning them into belt loops! This way, you can use smaller safety pins without them out, causing them to become undone throughout your day.
For this method, you will need the extra help of a ribbon or a shoelace, which will act as a belt to cinch your waist.
- First, turn your dress inside out and secure each of the safety pins on the side seam of the dress, where your waist would be. Securing the pins to the seam will prevent any visible damage to the fabric, so you can try this technique with all kinds of fabric!
- Then, loop your shoelace through each of the safety pins, similar to how you would use a belt and belt loops.
- Put the dress on while it’s still inside out, and adjust the shoelace until the waistline is comfortably cinched, then make a double knot.
- You can turn the dress back to the right side and wear your new perfectly-fitting dress!
4. Use A Hair Tie
We’ve all seen the dresses with twist detail at the waist that makes the dress a better fit. If you have a hair tie lying around, you can easily recreate this look in under a minute!
First, turn your dress inside out and put it on. Then, gather the loose fabric around your waist, either in the front or a bit to the side. You can customize the look.
Then, tie the hair tie to secure the loose fabric, and turn the dress back to the right side. The dress will be perfectly cinched at the waist with a brand new design element that can transform it into a whole new look.
A twist to this trick is to use a hair tie with a big bangle bracelet or hoop earring – or any big round shape that you can spare.
When you gather the fabric around the waist, instead of gathering the fabric on its own, you can wrap it around a big bangle bracelet and then use your hair tie to secure the bracelet inside the fabric.
With this trick, the cinched waist will look a bit more elegant and intentional since the fabric gathered will take the perfectly round shape of your bangle bracelet.
If you have a scarf ring at home, you can also loop the gathered fabric through a scarf ring to secure it. The bling details of the scarf ring can also add a decorative touch to make the cinch at the waist a bit more intentional.
5. Fold It Inside A Sports Bra
If your dress can hide a sports bra, you can instantly transform a loose dress into a two-piece by folding the excess fabric of the dress inside your sports bra.
The elastics in the sports bra will secure the dress and make it look like two pieces – a top and a bottom. You can gather the excess fabric in the back to make the dress better fitting in the front.
6. Garment Clips
Garment clips are a minimalist’s version of suspenders. The clips are connected to a strong piece of elastic, which are super useful for cinching the waist of your dress instantly without sewing.
To use garment clips, secure each clip to each side seam of the dress around the waist. These clips can be quite small, so if your dress has darts, it’s better to secure the clips to the darts as well.
Securing the clips to the seam or the dart will prevent any weird folds or wrinkles on the dress and make it appear seamless on the front.
However, since the elastic is not completely secured to the dress, you may see the extra fabric that may look unpleasant when you wear the dress.
If you don’t want this to happen, you can use some double-sided clothing tape to secure the fabric to the elastic, which will hold the excess fabric down when you wear the dress.
7. Add Waist Buckles
Waist buckles are pins that you can add to the waistline of your dress to make it smaller while adding a beautiful touch to the dress.
The buckle comes in two parts that you can pin around the waist of your dress, and once the two parts are buckled, the fabric will be pulled together at the waist to make the dress more fitted.
8. Add Grommets
Adding grommets is a great way to alter your dress without sewing, and it can even become a focal point in the design of the dress.
Although there’s no sewing involved, this is a permanent alteration that will take a bit of effort. However, the design will be completely transformed.
Adding grommets and lacing it up with ribbons is a great way to add a gothic touch to the design, and your dress will look more like a corset!
You will need:
- Grommets in the size of your choice and a grommet punch
- A tape measure
- Fabric markers
- Lace or ribbon (to tie your corset)
First, put the dress on and measure how much you want to take in.
There are a few designs you can try. You can add a set of grommets at the back or the front of the dress to cinch it, similar to corset designs. Or you can add a set of grommets on each side of the dress to make the design even more interesting.
If you want to add two sets of grommets, divide the measurements you want to take in by two. Using your fabric markers, mark the starting point and the ending point of the first set of grommets on the dress.
Then, lay the dress on a flat surface, and use your tape measure to mark precisely where you want all the grommets to be. The grommets should be horizontal and evenly spaced out, each set about an inch apart.
Using your grommet, punch and secure each grommet to the marked positions. You can use 3 – 5 sets of grommets to create a corset look or just two sets of grommets for a minimalist look.
Lace up your ribbon through the grommets and try the dress on. You can adjust the ribbon to make the dress more tight-fitting to suit your waist perfectly.
9. Use Fusible Hem Tape
Fusible hem tape is a no-sew tape that you can iron on your fabric. This type of tape has a heat-sensitive adhesive side that allows it to permanently bond to the fabric when heated, so it’s still a pretty durable option, even if no sewing is involved.
Besides being able to create a no-sew hem, fusible hem tape can help you add darts around the waist of the dress.
However, this method is definitely not permanent because the adhesive in the hem tape may come off after a few trips through the washing machine. Depending on the fabric of your dress, the adhesive can even leave residue and stains on the fabric.
To add darts to your dress using fusible hem tape, you will need:
If you use fusible hem tape, make sure to wash your dress without using fabric softener first. Fabric softener can interfere with the adhesive’s effectiveness, and the tape won’t stick properly.
First, try on your dress. Using your fabric marker, mark where you want the darts to be. You should make sure to space the darts symmetrically, perhaps two at the front and two at the back, for the best result.
Measure how long you would like the darts to be on the dress, and cut four pieces of hem tape to the length that you want the darts to be. You can trim the ends of the tape so that they will taper upwards to resemble a dart that’s been sewn.
Then, lay your dress flat on an ironing board. Place the tape, with the rough side facing the fabric, on the dress where you want the dart to be. Make sure that the midpoint of the dart is around the waistline and that the dart doesn’t go over the biggest area of your bust.
Iron over the tape using the highest heat setting for about 5-8 seconds to activate the adhesive.
Once the tape is secured on the fabric, peel off the paper backing to reveal a new layer of adhesive. Fold the fabric over the tape so that the right sides are facing each other, and iron over the fabric to activate the adhesive.
The extra fabric is now folded inside the dress itself, and on the right side, you will see a dart has been created. Repeat this step for the remaining darts you want to create, and you’re done!
10. Shrink The Dress
If your dress is made of 100% cotton, then the easiest way to make it smaller is to shrink the entire dress in the dryer!
Cotton and other natural fabrics will shrink when it meets high heat, so it’s the simplest way to make a loose-fitting dress fit without sewing.
However, this method doesn’t produce an exact result, and you may have to repeat the steps a few times to get the dress to fit.
In addition, the high heat may damage sensitive fabrics. Although cotton is highly durable, the fabric may come out of the dryer with a rougher texture and appearance.
To shrink your cotton dress, simply wash it using the highest temperature setting that you have in your washing machine. Then, dry it in the dryer using a high heat setting.
The dress will come out of the dryer a bit smaller than before. You can try it on to see if it is properly fitted and repeat these steps as needed.