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Bridesmaids Dress Too Small [What You Can Do]

You have gone through the intense process of choosing a dress, having it altered, and paying a pretty penny for it. Finally, you get to try your bridesmaid’s dress on, but the very worst has happened. That zipper won’t go all the way up, and you have to face the music. Your bridesmaid’s dress just does not fit. 

So, what do you do if your bridesmaid’s dress is too small? First, do not panic. There are a few things you can do, depending on how much time you have, to get that dress to fit your body for the wedding. You can have it professionally altered, make some adjustments yourself (e.g., let out the seams), purchase a new dress altogether, or harness the power of safety pins to keep your bridesmaid dress on. 

It might feel like the end of the world, no one wants to try on their bridesmaid’s dress and find it is far too small, but there are solutions.

Keep reading and discover what you can do if your bridesmaid’s dress is too small and some other important alteration information you might need. 

What Do You Do When Your Bridesmaids Dress Is Too Small

So your zipper won’t zip, or you can get that skin-tight dress over your hips.

Whatever the issue, it can be heartbreaking to find out your bridesmaid’s dress does not fit.

But hold your horses. The show is not over.

There are a few things you can do before accepting defeat when your bridesmaid’s dress is too small.

Get Another Dress

This is the easiest way to solve a dress that is too small.

If you have time and your dress was not a custom-made order, you can purchase a brand-new gown in the correct size for your body. 

It can feel like a bit of a cop-out, but if your dress is more than three sizes too small, purchasing a brand-new dress may be your only option. 

Let Out The Seams

Letting out the seams may be the first alteration idea you have. You can get a professional to work this magic for you.

However, if you are a whizz with a needle and thread, you could easily let the seams out yourself. 

Keep in mind that this alteration is only advisable if you have extra seam material to play with.

If you do not have this fabric allowance, you won’t have any extra fabric to increase the size of your dress, no matter how many seams you rip.

Add Fabric Panels

Fabric panels are the perfect solution if you need to add extra width to any part of your bridesmaid’s dress. 

You can choose matching fabric panels or opt for something a little more different and choose contrasting panels that give your bridesmaid dress a unique spin (just make sure you have ok’d this with the bride). 

For example, if you have a dusty blue dress, you could add a panel or two of daisy print fabric. 

Include Some Ribbons

If your zipper shows no signs of closing all the way and you do not have enough time to replace or alter your dress, you could always use some beautiful ribbons.

Tie them into a beautiful bow and use a couple of safety pins to attach them to the area where your zipper ends. 

This will cover up the open zipper part of your dress and add a gorgeous bow detail. 

Always remember to pin your zipper into place no matter where it goes too. You don’t want your zipper to slowly open even more throughout the day. 

What About A Classy Slit

Slits have been fashionable for decades and are also one of the easiest ways to alter your dress at home if the skirt of your dress is a little too tight for comfort. 

If you want to get this professionally done, it should not take too long, but if you can get your hands on a sewing machine and you have at least basic sewing skills, this kind of alteration is really easy to do at home. 

All you have to do is measure your desired slit length and unpick your dress hem and seam to that length.

Then you fold your material back in on itself and sew a new hemline around your slit. 

Lose Weight

I do not advocate crash dieting. If you only have a week to fit into your bridesmaid’s dress, do not attempt to lose weight to do that.

It is unhealthy, stressful, and unlikely to even work. 

However, if your dress is a little snug and you have a good few months till the wedding, losing weight is one way of fitting into your dress without having to pay for alterations. 

Can Bridesmaid’s Dresses Be Altered To Be Bigger?

Most bridesmaid dresses can be altered to be made bigger, though it does depend on the style. Most professional seamstresses will know what to do if you bring them a dress that needs to be let out a few sizes. 

However, depending on the number of sizes your dress needs to increase, there are two different ways of letting out a bridesmaid’s dress. 

Firstly, you can let out a dress by ‘letting out the seams.’

This is where your seamstress will take the extra fabric sewn up into the seams of your dress and use them to increase the dress size a small amount.

However, if you need your bridesmaids dress to be a good few sizes bigger, and your dress was not purchased with your seamstress, you will have to have extra fabric panels sewn in to give you the extra room that you need. 

How Long Does It Take To Get A Bridesmaids Dress Altered?

It can take anywhere from one week to two months to alter a bridesmaid’s dress

If your dress has a simple design and only needs letting out at the zipper a smidge, this alteration will not take very long at all, and if your seamstress is not busy with other work, this could take as little as a couple of days.

However, if your seamstress is busy with other projects and you need your dress let out by two or three sizes, you may have to wait a few weeks for your dress to be ready to wear.

How Many Sizes Can A Bridesmaids Dress Be Let Out?

At the most, a bridesmaid dress should not be let out any more than two dress sizes. Once you start letting a dress out any further, it can negatively impact the design, fit, and style of your dress. 

Some dress styles can be a little more forgiving and have the room to be increased up to three, maybe even four sizes.

However, a seamstress may suggest a new dress or a recut design if you need your dress let out more than one or two sizes. 

Other Considerations For A Bridesmaids Dress That Is Too Small

If you need to alter a bridesmaid’s dress, that is too small. Here are some things you will want to keep in mind.

How Close Is The Wedding?

If the wedding is only in a couple of days, it is unlikely you will be able to purchase a brand new dress – unless you do not need one exactly like your original dress.

It is also unlikely that your seamstress will have time to alter your dress unless you ask very nicely and she is not booked up with other projects.

How much time you have till the big day will dramatically affect what options you have when it comes to fixing a dress that is too small.

Are Alterations In The Budget?

If you need alterations, you may have to pay for them.

Firstly, ask the bride if she has factored alterations into her wedding budget.

Often a bride will only factor alterations for her dress and the groom’s suit into her budget, but it is worth an ask.

If she hasn’t, you will have to pay for these alterations out of your own pocket. 

The Style Of The Dress

The style of your dress will impact how much your dress can be altered or if it can be altered at all.

If your bridesmaid’s dress has a simple design and only needs to be let out one size, this will be very easy to do.

However, if your dress has delicate and ornate detail, skirts upon skirts, or has a unique hemline, it can be very difficult to let these styles of dresses out.

You may have to consider purchasing a new one if your seamstress can’t work her magic. 

When Your Bridesmaids Dress Is Too Small

Panic may be the first thing on your mind when you realize your bridesmaid’s dress is too small, but if you have read this, you now know that there are lots of solutions to a gown that is on the tighter side.

The more time you have to rectify the issue, the better, and this is why it is so important to organize your outfits as early as possible.

The last thing you want to do is try on your dress, for the first time, on the wedding morning to find you can fully close the zipper. 

Other bridesmaid dress guides you may want to read: