Simple Fix for a Too Tight Skirt


I picked up this dark denim skirt second-hand two days ago. It’s from Ann Taylor and I got it for $3.99. I never try stuff on at thrift stores, I generally hold it to my body and guess if it will fit or not… this time I got it wrong, but just barely. When I tried it on at home it was about an inch from being wearable and about two inches from being comfortable.

First I looked at the side seams, since they were only half-inch and serged, it would be impossible to let it out two inches. I considered adding fabric to one of the sides instead of the front but again I didn’t want to mess with the original seams. Below is how I altered the skirt to fit me, you can follow the same directions for any woven skirt with a zipper. Keep in mind the added fabric will alter fit of the whole skirt instead of just the waist like in a traditional alteration. You should also keep in mind that all fabrics and embellishments you use should have similar laundering requirements.

My extra fabric was some beige colored soft cotton that I bought second-hand: So first thing I did was decide how much fabric to add, I measured the circumference of my natural waist and the skirt. My measurement was around an 1 inch larger, so I decided to add an inch to get the skirt to my waist size and another 1 1/2 for comfort. The piece of fabric to be added also needs a seam allowance, I used a half-inch on each side. The length of the extra fabric should be the same as the skirt with a half-inch seam allowance on either end. For me the new panel was 3 1/2 inches by 19 inches. Below is the panel marked out in disappearing ink:

Next I hemmed the two smaller sides, and finished the raw edge with pinking shears. If you want you could also serge or double fold the edge to prevent the raw edge from fraying.

To determine where to cut the skirt I measured center front and center bottom and marked them with pins, then I sliced the skirt open along that line:

The next step is to pin the extra fabric right sides together to one of the skirts raw edges like so:

Stitch along the pins, back-stitching on each end to hold the thread in place. When one side is done press the seam, then repeat the process on the other side. Once the panel is attached press the seams. Like I said about the top and bottom hemming, you will need to either serge or double over the hem or use pinking shears like I did to prevent fraying:

Here is the skirt after pressing:

If you used an opaque or patterned fabric then your skirt would be finished here, my panel was a bit see thru and quite plain. I added some lace that I purchased back at the beginning of the summer (original post here). If you would like to attach similar lace, pin to the panel of fabric and hand-stitch along the straight edge.


I finish attaching my lace by tacked down the free hanging edge every few inches and binding the top and bottom edge with thread. Here is the result:

My too tight denim skirt now fits very nicely, and it looks awfully cute as well. It’s a little short to wear in winter but maybe with some leggings it would be okay. Good luck trying your own skirt alterations!

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  1. LucyLou says:

    PERFECT! I’m a hoarder of lace. I made this awesome pink suede skirt. Dang it, the waist is too small. Well, not anymore, and especially with center skirt details’ importance this season.

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