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3 Tips for Making a Skirt Bigger

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Whether you’ve gained a few extra pounds, or you recently got a lovely piece that is too small to fit you, you do not have to retire or get rid of a beautiful skirt.

Bringing your favorite skirt up to size is uncomplicated. With a few home sewing tools, you can make it the perfect or close-to-perfect fit again.

There are a couple of ways to improve a skirt’s fit. Below, we run through a few tips for making a skirt bigger.

A bright green skirt with dramatic buttons and a lilac silk blouse

Sew In a New Waistband

If the skirt is tighter only at the waist, replacing the waistband with a new one of your size should suffice. To sew in a new elastic band, follow these steps:

  • With a seam ripper, undo the stitches that hold the waistband loop in place.
  • While undoing the stitches, be gentle and go gradually. You do not want to damage the skirt’s fabric while removing the seam.
  • Once you are done removing the seam and undoing the stitches, pull the old waistband out gently. Then lightly pull out the threads of the undone seam.
  • With the old waistband out, you are ready to sew in a new one. So, wind the new elastic around your waist to get the right size for you. Then cut the length of the elastic that matches the size of your waist.
  • Stitch the edges of the elastic band to create a loop. Then place this loop where the old waistband was and pin it in a couple of places.
  • Cover the new waistband with the top of the skirt. Then replace the stitches you undid at the start.
  • If you are sewing with a machine, then replacing the old seam is pretty straightforward. But if you are sewing with your hands, try using a zigzag stitch.
woman sews piece of fabric with her hands

Add Some Fabric

If you believe replacing the waistband will not suffice, try adding a stretchy fabric to the skirt. You can do this in two ways:

Method 1

  • Remove the waistband as we outlined above.
  • Undo the stitches at the midback of the skirt by 6-8 inches. The seam ripper will come in handy here.
  • Next, try the skirt on. If it fits, trace out the shape of the opening you made in the midback on a piece of paper. The figure formed would be a triangle.
  • Draw the trace properly using a ruler and add a 2 cm seam allowance.
  • Cut the shape out of the paper and place it on the stretchy fabric you want to add to the skirt.
  • Then cut out a piece of the stretchy fabric following the edges of the cutout shape.
  • With the cut edges inwards, pin the cutout of the stretchy fabric to the opening you made in the midback of the skirt. Then sew.
  • Reattach the waistband. Then resew its stitches.
  • Do not forget to hem the raw edges.

Method 2

  • For this method, you have to calculate the difference between your waist and the waist of the skirt. For instance, if your waist is 39 inches and the skirt’s waist is 37 inches, the difference is 2 inches.
  • Once you know the difference between your waist and the skirt’s waist. Then get the stretchy fabric you intend to use for the adjustment.
  • Cut 2 pieces of fabric from the stretchy fabric. The two pieces should be of the same length as the skirt; their width should be half the difference between your waist and the skirt’s waist. Ensure you add a 1-inch allowance for the width and length of these pieces.
  • Undo the seams at the side of the skirt. Then pin a piece of the cutout from the stretchy fabric on each side. Ensure the cut edges are turned inwards.
  • Once the two pieces are in place, sew the new seams.
  • Try the skirt on to see if it fits. If it is too big, sew one of the two pieces of stretchy fabric in.
  • Once you find the perfect fit, hem the raw edges of the new seam.
adjusting pleats of red skirt

Undo the Tucks, Darts, or Pleats

If your skirt has tucks, pleats, or darts, you can undo them to make it bigger.

  • To do this correctly, you must also calculate the difference between your waist and the waist of the skirt.
  • Once you know the difference, divide it equally among all the folds on the skirt. The value of this division will tell you the reduction to make in the darts, pleats, or tucks.
  • So, if the difference between your waist and the skirt’s waist is 5 inches, and you have 5 tucks, you must reduce each tuck by 1 inch.
  • Using a seam ripper, gently undo the folds by the stitches. Then reattach them, but this time, use less fabric to form them.
  • So, if you must reduce each dart, pleat, or tuck by 1 inch, you will use 1 inch less fabric to form them.


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