Here is a solution to having a stress-free wedding!

All set and ready to attend your friend’s wedding and then realize your bridesmaid dress is too small? Well first things first, don’t fret! There can be easy fixes to a dress that’s too small or too short. 

And if all else fails, you can always try to revamp some existing clothes in your closet! So don’t worry, if you googled “My bridesmaid dress is too small” here are the answers for you! 

But before we jump into the article, here are some things you should take note of. 

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DIY Alterations You Can Do If Your Dress Is Too Tight

Here is a list of alterations you can make if your dress is too small. Granted these tips are DIY sewing tips so if you don’t have your own sewing machine you can get a friend who does to help!

These tips are for those of us who don’t feel like spending an arm and a leg to get alterations done and are especially helpful if you’re in a time crunch. So if you’ve got a week or more before the wedding then these alterations may be the best for you! 

  1. Let out the side seams 

Seams or darts are the parts of your dress that meet and are sewn together. If you’re bridesmaid dress too small the first thing you might want to try is letting out the seams. 

How do you do this? Well, first you’ll want to use a seam ripper to carefully rip at the seam and rip the thread that’s holding them together. A seam ripper is a tool often found in your sewing kits that looks like a hook. If you’re like me you probably haven’t had any use for it, but this handy tool is the perfect way to fix a dress that’s too small. 

This method of fixing your dress is really only advisable if you have extra seam allowance in your dress to be able to make the dress wide enough to fit. If you don’t then this may be the first step of other tips on this list to make your bridesmaid dress too small to fit. 

Tip: If your dress has darts instead – which are usually on the front of the dress – make sure to take your time to rip at them to avoid causing any holes on the front of your dress

  1. Add panels with some extra fabric

Panels are a great way to add extra width to any part of the clothing. This method uses an extra panel of fabric and is usually added in areas of the dress that need to be let out more. 

If you’ve got one of these gorgeous muted candy pink bridesmaid dresses, you may even want to add some pastel blue panels to add a little bit of contrast. 

I especially love mixing floral patterns on one of those daisy bridesmaid dresses, for panels that are cohesive but contrasting! 

If you do choose to do this method just make sure you remember that if you’re adding frills to the bottom of a narrow dress skirt, you will also have to extend the waistband. 

Tip: if you’ve got to alter your waistband make sure to do it at the back seam especially if you’re a novice seamstress. This is because most focus less on the back of the dress allowing it to be more forgiving if you make some mistakes or your sewing is a little messy. 

Now let’s say that the bottom half of your dress fits great but the arms are a little tight? Well, you can still add your panels but this time you’d have to add them to your shoulder seam to add some height and to the sleeves as well. 

If you don’t add panels to both of these areas, you may be left with a sleeve that fits well in some areas but is tight in others. 

  1. Slits are always fashionable

Much like these gorgeous satin gold slit dresses and this absolutely divine green satin dress, slits are always – and will always be – fashionable.

I personally love them, especially because they add a lot of flow to your dress and give the impression that your dress is almost dripping off of you. This fit is especially accentuated if you’ve got one of those claret bridesmaid dresses that are rather flowy at the bottom. 

Another great example is the royal blue bridesmaid dresses from Etsy that are dripping in class and polish. 

So before you go telling your bride “my bridesmaid dress is too small” and giving her a scare before her big day, you may want to try some slits to loosen up that unimaginable tight fit! 

And sewing slits is easy! 

First, you’ll need to lay your dress flat then mark out and measure where you’d like your slits to go. Then take out the stitches at the hem of your dress skirt the size of your slit. 

Then the final steps are folding the edge of your slit inwards, pressing it to make sure it’s flat and crisp, and sewing it up! Then voila if you’ve got a dress that fits and looks great too! 

Here is another way to add slits to your dress especially if you’d like the slit to be more visible. 

  1. Add gussets

Gussets are triangular pieces of fabric that can be added to your dresses to create more width and loosen it up. 

To add a gusset first you’ll want to loosen the seams of the area you’ll be adding the gusset. 

Tip; If you’re doing this to the seams on the side of your dress, you have to replicate the gusset identically on both sides.

Next, cut your gusset out with seam allowance to the size of the seams that you’ve just loosened. Your gusset should look like a triangle with a flat tip instead of a pointy one. And finally, you’ll want to sew the gusset to your dress! 

Here is a great video detailing exactly how to sew a gusset. 

And there you go! Your bridesmaid dress won’t be too small after you’ve made those alterations! 

  1. Ribbons are a girl’s best friend 

Now, this alteration requires no sewing but you would definitely need a piece of fabric that matches your dress and some safety pins to keep it all in place. 

This method is for a dress that you can’t seem to zip up, so if that happens to you and you’ve got no sewing machine by your side, you can just cover it up with a bow! 

For this method, the placement of your bow is what’s most important. It’s definitely easier to do if your dress’ side zip is broken so that a sash around your waist looks relatively normal. However, if it’s the back of your dress you can’t seem to zip up then you may need to place the bow a little more creatively. 

A bow is a great accessory to any bridesmaid dress. Just like this absolutely stunning dress from etsy, a bow is a great way to add some playfulness to your polished look. 

Now, these are great alterations to make if your dress is too tight but what if your bridesmaid dress is too small lengthwise and not widthwise? 

DIY Alterations You Can Do If Your Dress Is Too Short

  1. Wear an underskirt, or simple skirt as an extender underneath your dress

Skirt slips are a thin piece of fabric you can wear as a soft subtle way to add length to your dress. And most underskirt slips are fairly inexpensive! 

Although you may not have a lot of options when it comes to the color of your slip – as most come in varying nudes shades and dark blacks – these shades will suit most dresses and will add soft contrast to your look! 

Especially if you’ve got one of those gorgeous chocolate bridesmaid dresses, then a nude-toned skirt slip would honestly elevate your look and be a simple way to add some spice to your classically beautiful outfit. 

  1. Add some lace! 

For a gathered dress skirt or a flared dress skirt, add some lace to the hem of the dress skirt to extend it! Adding trips to your dress is a great way to lengthen a dress and also add a touch of fashion polish to accentuate your dress in all the right places. 

If you have a dress with a bodycon bodice, some frills are a great way to add flair and create more room for you if you’d like to hit the dance floor!

  1. Wear another skirt over your dress

Now, this may be one of the easiest no-sew ways to lengthen a bridesmaid dress that’s too small! 

Much like the first option, you can also add a skirt over the top of your dress! This especially works if you know your wedding is taking place in a cool area so that you can risk the extra layers. 

Right about now, you may be saying, “But Karmen that isn’t going to work!” well you’ll be surprised how stylish you can make anything with the right belt and killer set of heels to tie the look together! 

Always have backups

Now it’s important that when you’re preparing for a big event like someone’s wedding, always prepare a backup dress if all else fails. These dresses can be on the simpler side so that even if you don’t have to pull them out during the day, you’ve always got a couple of great dresses to wear for any occasion. 

Some great dresses that would make amazing must-have dresses for all year round are Cadbury purple bridesmaid dresses and these dresses from Etsy that have a simple yet interesting silhouette. 

The reason why I recommend Cadbury purple bridesmaid dresses is that this color is beyond gorgeous, matches most wedding themes, and can be worn for any occasion! 

And these dresses from Etsy have a really fun and easy silhouette that you can dress up and down fairly easily! 


It can be nerve-wracking finding your bridesmaid dress too small and can be especially nerve-wracking if you’ve only got a few days or hours to spare before the big day! But you often don’t have to worry as most bridesmaid dress malfunctions are easy to fix. 

But to save yourself the extra stress, always be sure to have a backup dress if all else fails! 

If you need more options, read 15 Best Cadbury Purple Bridesmaid dresses article to help you look your best!

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