How to improve the fit of a maxi dress?
August 5, 2014 8:07 PM   Subscribe

I bought this maxi dress to wear to a wedding this weekend. The fabric is heavier than I anticipated, and the armholes are on the large size, so my bra is visible, and the whole dress seems to sag a little under its own weight. Is there are a way to fix this before Saturday?

I'm more concerned about my bra showing.

I thought waist stays would help, but there's not a defined waist on the dress; the whole thing is pretty floaty. Would an elastic band hidden under the gathered bit work? Fabric tape? A line of snap fasteners up the side of the bra?

I can't sew much, but I have access to a sewing machine and - even better - a mother who knows how to operate said machine.

I realize a tailor would be the best solution here, but I'm traveling right now and don't think I can swing it.
posted by punchtothehead to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have a white camisole you could wear underneath? Make it seem on purpose like?
posted by RainyJay at 8:10 PM on August 5, 2014

With no sleeves or defined waistline, the first thing I'd try is pinching together the fabric at the shoulders to pull the whole dress up a little. If this helps (and I bet it will), experiment with taking up different amounts of fabric and pin the most flattering version, then sew new shoulder seams at this level.
posted by Quietgal at 8:12 PM on August 5, 2014 [11 favorites]

The best solution imo is to go to a brick and mortar BR wherever you are and see if they'll exchange it for a smaller size or another dress; it sounds like it just doesn't fit you.

However: maybe if there are horizontal seams along the halter, those could be taken in, although, when you take from one place, there's usually pulling or something weird going on somewhere else (unless you're a tailor).

Aritzia (and probably other places) has little strapless nylon bralettes/bandeaus (second row down) you could wear instead of or even over a bra.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:21 PM on August 5, 2014

With a T-back like that, it's a little more complicated, I think. You might be able to take it up in the back where it comes up to the neck. Since it has a high-low hem, it shouldn't look oddly shorter in the back if you do that.

Given that this dress is a take on a halter, though, you may not be able to get it high enough to cover your bra. It goes fairly low on the sides, especially in the back. On the model, it swoops down almost to the level of the bottom of her breast, when I look at the side view. Probably your best bet is to layer it with a camisole of some sort, or exchange for another dress.
posted by annsunny at 8:32 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Quietgal has it, start at the shoulder straps.
posted by Youremyworld at 8:54 PM on August 5, 2014

Is the whole thing simply too big? It seems like it might help to go down a size if there's any chance of exchanging it at a brick-and-mortar store.

Normally, I'd second Quietgal's recommendation to adjust the shoulder seams, but since this doesn't have them, and given the way it's cut, I don't think you have many good options to adjust the arm holes. I think you need a different bra, something cut for a low back, and probably a convertible style that lets you move the straps around to get them to fit under the neckline.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:55 PM on August 5, 2014

That's a really lovely dress!

If it seems that alterations aren't working, can you find a lightweight, close-fitting top in a compatible colour to go underneath? Short sleeves might look awkward, but elbow length or 3/4 length sleeves would look more like a deliberate stylistic choice. Something cut like this but probably not that t-shirt fabric. You would want something pretty lightweight and floaty to go with the dress.
posted by maudlin at 9:03 PM on August 5, 2014

It's so pretty! My first thought was that you could tuck in the entire back with clothespins like they did on the model- you can tell from the fit that it isn't holding itself up. But, since you don't want to spend your evening facing the wall, go see your mom. She can take it in in a few places to improve the fit. Take a picture of yourself in it and show it to your nearest Victoria's Secret Sales Person. They have invisible strap bras.
posted by myselfasme at 9:05 PM on August 5, 2014

You are short of time for alterations. Could you get a dark blue bra? It would attract much less attention.
posted by Cranberry at 11:36 PM on August 5, 2014

Wear a white shrug, light cardigan or a light jacket with it?
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:06 AM on August 6, 2014

get a layering bra to wear with it
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:07 AM on August 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

1) It may be too big,

2) Yes, try the shoulder straps. I've done this with several dresses in the past that fit me most places but the bust or seemed saggy. You don't have to do any cutting or seam ripping, most likely, just fold the material a bit and sew with a machine. Then if you don't like it, seam ripper and you're fine.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:43 PM on August 6, 2014

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