How to Alter a Skirt

Perhaps you've lost some weight and your favorite skirt is now too big. Or maybe you found the perfect skirt and the only one left was a size too large. Paying for the needed alterations to save these skirts can get expensive, but with just a little sewing experience, you can alter the skirt yourself and save lots of cash.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Things You'll Need

  • Pins

  • Seam ripper

  • Dress form (optional)

  • Sewing machine with a universal 90/14 needle

  • Sharp scissors

  • Iron and ironing board

  • Hand-sewing needle

Tip

This alteration works best for a skirt with the zipper in the back.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 1

If you're not changing the hemline of the skirt, use a seam ripper to remove 4 inches of hem stitching on each side of the side seams. If you're shortening or lengthening the skirt, remove the entire hem with the seam ripper.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 2

Put your skirt on inside out and have a friend pin down both side seams of the skirt so it fits you perfectly. Make sure both sides are pinned evenly.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Tip

You can use a dress form for this step if you happen to have one, but it isn't necessary.

Step 3

Measure the distance from the pins (which will become your new seam line) to the original side seam stitching. Remember this measurement to use later.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 4

Remove the pins from the side seams. Use a seam ripper to remove 4 inches of waistband stitching on either side of the side seams.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 5

Use the seam ripper to open the side seams of the waistband and the waistband facing.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 6

With the right sides together, use the measurement from the pin line to pin the new seam line on the waistband. For example, if your friend pinned 3/4 inch in from each original seam line, then you will pin 3/4 inch in from the original seam line.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 7

Continue to pin this measurement in from the original seam line down the entire skirt.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 8

Sew along the pin line, removing the pins as you sew.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 9

Trim the seams to create a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 10

Use an iron to press open the seam allowances.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 11

Topstitch close to the new seams on the waistband, on the facing and down each side of the skirt.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 12

Re-pin and sew the opened waistband and facing seams. Remove the pins as you sew.

Pin and resew the waistband seams.
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 13

Fold the waistband facing back under the waistband and topstitch close to the top edge.

Fold the waistband facing under and topstitch.
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 14

Use a hand sewing needle and a blind hem stitch to resew the hem. If you are shortening or lengthening the skirt, press and pin the new hem line to your desired length, then stitch.

Resew the hem using a hem stitch.
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Now you have the perfect fit.

Close up picture of altered skirt.
Image Credit: Beth Huntington
Finished view of the altered skirt.
Image Credit: Beth Huntington