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Fitting ready-to-wear waist size

klara | Posted in Fitting on

Does anyone know how to enlarge a waist on ready-to-wear garments? I just don’t have a small enough waist, and I am not large otherwise. I know I may have to rig something up, but any ideas would be very helpful. Thanks so much! Klara


  1. stitchmd | | #1

    This will be different for different garments. What are you trying to alter, and what type of waist treatments do they have?

    1. klara | | #2

      Generally skirts - with a regular waistband with a zipper and button. Thanks.

      1. mimi | | #3

        Klara:  To add extra inches to a skirt, consider letting out the darts and adding a new waistband cut out of similar materials.  This may gain you as much as two inches. 


        1. klara | | #6

          Mimi - Your suggestion is really good. If there is enough fabric to let out, I could certainly give it a try.

          I'm a special ed teacher, so I was touched by your quote!

          1. mimi | | #7

            Klara:  If you do not want to make a new waistband, you could self-face with grossgrain ribbon.  This gives a very nice look to the waistline without drawing attention to it.  You would finish it with a hook and eye at the top of the zipper.

            Glad you like my quote; I am a Title 1 paraeducator!


          2. Teaf5 | | #8

            The suggestion to take off the waistband and face with grossgrain ribbon will also work if you make a facing out of lining fabric and apply it slightly lower on the hip, where the skirt is wider. I did this with several pairs of slacks and loved the results.Skirts from a thrift store probably have waistbands that sit higher than those of more current styles. By lowering the waistline an inch or so, you'll not only gain the needed width but also a more modern and comfortable fit.

      2. stitchmd | | #4

        It's pretty hard to enlarge a waistband since there is no extra fabric and it involves a lot of deconstruction. If you are wearing tops untucked and the alterations won't be seen you can substitute another band, or add some on. If it's only a small difference you can move the button or hook and get a little extra room. Once you go over an inch you need to alter the seams below or you'll get distortins/pulling. I think a better approach would be to start with skirts that fit at the waist and take in the hips, a much easier alteration. This of course only works if you're buying new things. If you have a lot of skirts you already own I hope someone else will have more suggestions.

        1. klara | | #5

          I think what I might do since I don't need much extra is to add a "tab" of fabric and just cover with my top. I need less than 2", so I think this may be my best bet. I had purchased some skirts from a local thrift store and got some beautiful things. If I get something to fit my waist, the rest of the skirt is just too big! There's never an easy fix, is there?  Thanks again for your help.

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