Have you ever dug out a ten-year-old skirt and struggled to zip up the waistband? Don’t be alarmed if you outgrow a beloved skirt. Simple sewing and non-sewing adjustments procedures can be used to make a skirt larger.
Removing the waistband and inserting additional fabric or elastic to create more room is the greatest approach to make a skirt fuller. Adding a flexible waistline and elastic to a zipped waistband are two more sewing adjustments. Stretching, using extenders, and using bobby pins are all non-sewing options.
You’ll learn when you can and can’t upsize a skirt to make it bigger in this post. You’ll learn five fundamental techniques for enlarging a skirt. Finally, you’ll learn how to work with several types of skirts, such as denim and pleated skirts.
Can You Upsize a Skirt to Make it Bigger?
Most of the time, you can upsize a skirt by using elastic, more fabric, or commercial tools like waistband extenders to make it bigger. You can even stretch the fabric to make the outfit larger in some circumstances. However, certain skirt styles are easier to alter than others, therefore the feasibility of upsizing is dependent on the type of skirt.
It’s also far easier to make a garment smaller than it is to make it larger. Even expert tailors are hesitant to undertake upsizing tasks since adding cloth to a garment takes more time and effort than removing fabric to make something smaller.
Another difficulty with upsizing is making the finished product attractive. Because upsizing changes are often visible, you may need to wear a long shirt or sweater with an upsized skirt to disguise the waistline!
You may quickly learn how to modify most skirts a size or two larger with a few basic procedures, but the skirt may not seem as professional or store-bought after the changes. If you add a panel of extra fabric to the waistline, for example, the new material may not match the original exactly, or the added seams may appear bulky.
All of this means that, while you can make a skirt bigger, the results will vary depending on the method you select and the skirt design.
How to Make a Skirt Bigger: 6 Methods
A skirt can be made larger by adjusting the waistband using a sewing machine, adding side slits, inserting elastic, or stretching out the fabric. For a rapid upsizing hack, you can also use non-sewing approaches.
The majority of alterations are better done with a sewing machine. If you want to sew by hand, you might accomplish any of these ways with a needle and thread.
Check out the six easy ways to make a skirt bigger outlined below and see which one works best for you!
The best approach to make a skirt bigger is to change the waistline. Most of the time, too-small clothing does not fit in the waist area, which means the waistband cannot be zippered or buttoned shut!
You can adjust a waistline in a variety of ways, including adding fabric or replacing the original waistband with elastic. Both of those strategies will be covered later in this section!
This method is a little bit of a cheater because it allows you to easily lengthen the waistline with just a little sewing.
- Remove the button from the waistline with little scissors. Keep this somewhere safe because you’ll need it later!
- You should see a flap of waistband folded to the inside at the end of the waistband where you just removed the button. Carefully remove the stitching with a seam ripper. This should leave you with some excess fabric to unfold at the waistband’s edge.
- Hem the new end of the waistband with a sewing machine or serger. If the rest of the waistband is topstitched, you may wish to topstitch the top edge as well.
- Finally, reattach the button to the slightly elongated waistline!
2. Adding Fabric
Fabric inserts in the waistband or side seams can also be used to expand the skirt’s top. This procedure will allow you to resize a skirt by two or three sizes, but the triangle seams will be visible. It may be difficult to find new material to use as inserts, but you want to make sure the fabric matches as nearly as possible to prevent having the change look too evident.
This method needs a little more stitching and a few extra steps, but if both the waistline and the top of the skirt feel too tight, you might want to try adding fabric. This manner, you can give yourself extra room in the hips and waist.
- Remove the original waistband using a seam ripper. To avoid harming the fabric, work slowly and gently. Remove the old waistband and set it away.
Track down the side seams.
- Remove the stitches six inches along the side seam with a seam ripper. Alternatively, when trying on the skirt, measure a length far enough down to extend past the curvature of your hips. In this scenario, make a note of the measurement for later use.
- It takes some thought to figure out how much cloth to put in the open side seams. Cut a four-inch-wide strip of replacement cloth and pin it around your waist like a waistband. On the new waistband, trace the length of your desired waist and cut off the excess, leaving one inch for seam allowance.
- Begin pinning the new waistband to the skirt in the middle front. This way, you’ll be able to see how much room you have in the open side seams, and you’ll be able to create an empty triangle on either side of the skirt.
- On a scrap of paper, trace this empty triangle. After that, draw a half-inch seam allowance around the triangle with a ruler.
- Using this paper pattern, cut out two triangles of your substitute fabric.
- Remove the waistband that has been pinned on and lay it aside.
- Place the triangular inserts in the skirt’s side seams and sew them in place. Sewing up toward the waistline, starting at the bottom tip of the triangle.
- Fold the new waistband in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. To keep the fold in place, sew around the raw edges.
- Align the waistband’s raw edge with the right side of the waistband now. To connect the new waistline, sew around the entire circle.
- Finally, stitch on any necessary buttons or closures to the waistline, and then try on the much larger skirt!
Aside from this basic procedure, you can add fabric panels in a variety of ways depending on your ability level. One triangle of replacement fabric might be inserted at the center back seam, for example. You could also make a statement by adding a broader rectangular panel all the way down the front of the skirt!
3. Without Sewing
While sewed changes are the most permanent, you may also use some fast non-sewing techniques to make a skirt bigger.
Stretching the cloth is, of course, one of the most obvious ways to make a waistline bigger without sewing. More information on that strategy can be found later in this article. If you’re in a hurry, too, check out these three tricks!
- If you’re in a hurry (no pun intended! ), use a commercial product like these waist extenders. You might want to wear a long top that falls below the waist, but they will at least give you some breathing room!
- Try looping a little rubber band or hair elastic over the button on your waistband for a cheaper alternative. Take one end of the band and loop it through the other, securing it around the button. Then, through the buttonhole and back to the button, thread the long loose end.
- This procedure won’t always work, but if your skirt has pleats or darts, you can remove the stitching and unfold these shaping parts with a seam ripper. This will add a little more fabric to the skirt, making it more comfy.
4. With Elastic
Some skirts can be altered by substituting an elastic waistband for the original waistline. This gives the waistline a little more give, allowing you to wear a skirt that didn’t quite fit!
This is one of the most comfortable methods you may attempt, but keep in mind that it will not look as good as store-bought when you’re done. You probably shouldn’t try this on a nice pencil skirt, but if you plan to wear a loose blouse or sweater that can hang down over the new elastic waist, you can!
To put on an elastic waistband, follow these steps:
- Find the seam that joins the original waistband to the skirt by turning the skirt inside out. Remove the old waistband and carefully remove the stitching with a seam ripper.
- Place a stretch of wide elastic on top of the discarded waistline. To make the elastic fit the top of the skirt, cut it to the same length as the original waistband. The extra room in the elastic waist comes from the elastic’s elasticity!
- If your skirt has a zipper, leave the ends of the elastic loose and stitch them to the zipper’s edges in the same way that the original waistband was attached. If the original waistband was a complete circle without a zipper, sew the ends of the elastic together to form a circle.
- Right sides together, sew the elastic to the waist of the skirt. Use a zigzag or stretch stitch on your sewing machine to sew the edges together.
- Sew the ends of the elastic to the zipper with a zigzag stitch if necessary.
- Turn the skirt inside out and give it a try!
5. Stretch the Fabric
If you don’t want to cut and sew your skirt to make it bigger, stretch the fibers in the fabric instead. Natural materials, such as cotton, will work best with this procedure. Denim skirts, in particular, are very stretchy!
- Put your skirt in the washing machine and wash it in cold water. Remove it from the washer while it is still wet.
- Work your way around the circle of the waistline, stretching with your hands as you go. Repeat this stretching action lower down in the skirt if you want a little more wiggle room in the hip area.
- Put the moist skirt on. Does it appear to be a little bigger now?
- Allow the skirt to dry while wearing it if possible. This manner, it will keep its new shape and fit you the next time you put it on!
If that simple remedy didn’t give you enough extra stretch, try soaking the skirt in cold water mixed with a quarter cup of baby shampoo or conditioner. After that soak, try stretching.
Waist extenders, which exert pressure to stretch out the waistline of pants or a skirt, are a more expensive but far speedier option.
6. Add Side Slits
If your skirt fits in the waist but catches you because it wraps too tightly around your legs, try adding side slits! This is one of the simplest changes you can do, and it only requires a few basic sewing abilities.
- Track down the side seams.
- Using chalk or a sewing pin, mark the spot in the seam where you want the slit to finish. Make sure you measure both side seams in the same way.
- Remove the stitching in the side seams with a seam ripper up to the spot you marked. Depending on the style of the hem, you may need to remove a small amount of stitching there as well.
- Press the rough edges of the ripped-out seam flat with an iron.
- Finally, one by one, fold over the raw edges of the ripped-out seam so that the raw edge is on the inside of the skirt. To make a finished edge for the slits, sew this new hem in place down each of the edges of both slits.
You may also consider adding a kick pleat to add more legroom with a little more sewing know-how!
How to Make an Elastic Waist Skirt Bigger
You may easily increase the size of an elastic waist skirt. Simply remove the old elastic and replace it with a longer piece of elastic that will provide extra waist stretch!
- If you can discover the waistband’s center back seam, carefully pick it open to gain access to the elastic. To get to the elastic, you can snip a small hole on the back of the waistband and sew it up afterwards.
- Cut the old elastic and pull it out of the waistband casing using a pair of scissors.
- Take a measurement of the old elastic. When cutting a fresh length of elastic, add one to two inches to that measurement. Make certain that the new elastic is the same width as the old elastic.
- This measurement will be used to cut your new elastic.
- Insert the new elastic into the casing of the waistband. Attaching a safety pin to the end of the elastic and wriggling the pin through the casing from the outside is one technique to do this.
- Stitch the loose ends of elastic together to form a closed circle once you’ve wrapped it all the way around the waist.
- Finally, sew the slit in the waistband casing you used to access the elastic shut with a slip stitch.
If you don’t want to sew, simply follow all of the instructions above but secure the new elastic in a circle within the casing with a safety pin. Then use a second tiny safety pin to seal the gap in the waistline of the skirt.
How to Upsize a Skirt With Zipper
Depending on the type and positioning of the zipper, you can upsize a skirt with a zipper in a variety of ways.
- If you want to add fabric panels to make the skirt fuller, you’ll have to tear out the invisible zipper inserted in one of the side seams and then sew it back in.
- You can leave a zipper in the center back alone and utilize the “adding fabric” method outlined earlier in this article instead.
- You can either leave the zipper in place and add fabric panels to the side seams, or tear it out, install a wide panel of fabric in a contrasting color, and then sew the zipper back in to this new, bigger contrast panel.
How to Make a Denim Skirt Bigger
Stretching a denim skirt with a cold wash and stretch method is the finest approach to make it bigger. This technique’s instructions can be found previously in this article! Denim is made of cotton, which absorbs moisture and stretches well.
If you want to make a sewed change, you might add denim panels to the side seams or the center back seam to expand the skirt. However, matching denim can be difficult, so this may not appear as store-bought as you’d like.
If you only need the waistline to button and don’t care about how it looks, a no-sew solution like using a commercial waistband extender clip might be the way to go. No one will notice if you wear a long skirt or sweater over it.
How to Make a Pleated Skirt Bigger
If you’re willing to put in the effort of shifting many small folds, you can make a pleated skirt larger. Remove the old waistband, make a new one that fits your waist size, and then unfold and refold all the pleats so that the skirt’s waist fits the circumference of the new waistband.
- Remove the old waistband with a seam ripper.
- Cut a long rectangle of new cloth in the same color as the old one. Measure the circumference of your waist plus an inch for a buttonhole overlap and an inch for seam allowance for the length. Measure four inches broad for the strip’s width.
- To make a beautiful waistline, fold the strip in half lengthwise and baste down the long raw edge.
- The real work begins now! Determine how many pleats there are. After that, press them with an iron. This may necessitate extensive ironing as well as the use of a clothes steamer.
- Divide the new waistband’s length by the number of pleats in the skirt’s original pleats. The size of the new pleats will be determined by this.
- In this smaller size, press fresh pleats in place and baste them in place along the top edge.
- Right sides together, sew the new waistband onto the skirt. So that it appears lovely, press this.
- Make a buttonhole in your new waistband and sew in the old button.
- In your size, you should have a newly pleated skirt!
Can a Tailor Make a Skirt Bigger?
A tailor may usually increase a skirt’s size by one or two sizes. This is dependent on a variety of elements, including the type of skirt and the type of material used. Because making a garment smaller is significantly easier, some tailors may refuse to execute this type of alteration.
The cost of letting out a clothing ranges from $15 to $25. Naturally, this will differ from one company to the next.
A tailor can undoubtedly extend the skirt if it has additional fabric in the side seams. This can be found in more formal work skirts as well as more expensive skirts. If you got a stretch pencil skirt on sale, the seams are most likely serged together and there will be no excess material.
Various sewing techniques, such as replacing the waistband with elastic, inserting a longer strip of elastic in an elastic waistband, or adding fabric panels at the side seams for extra room, can all be used to make a skirt bigger. Stretching the fabric, adding a waistband extender, or looping a rubber band through the buttonhole are all options for making a skirt bigger without stitching.
Upsizing skirts with pleated or elastic waists necessitates the use of particular procedures. Sewing techniques for denim and zipped skirts are also unusual.
Have you ever had to alter the length of a skirt? How did you go about doing this? Let us know by leaving a comment below!