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My two-year anniversary with my boyfriend is coming up pretty soon and I’ve been on the lookout for something new and fun to wear for our celebration. Sadly, I haven’t been all that successful — till a couple of days ago. I went shopping with a friend of mine at my favorite boutique, (literally my whole closet is from this place) and spotted this darling floral dress with loose fitting sleeves that gave off a semi-hippie vibe. I fell in love.

It fit me almost perfectly — emphasis on the almost. The sleeves sat comfortably on my shoulders, it was the perfect length and it wasn’t too loose or tight around the chest area. So what’s the catch? There was slightly too much fabric around my waist, making me look a little frumpy.

Photo Credit: Katie Bryden

Now, I’m no master at alternations — actually, if I’m being honest the only thing I know how to sew on are loose buttons, but I accepted the challenge of cinching the dress myself. After some trial and error, and a whole lot of luck, I got it to work!

Photo Credit: Katie Bryden

Instead of paying for an overpriced alteration, here’s how you can easily and inexpensively cinch a gartered waist yourself. And for those of you, like me, who aren’t the best with a sewing machine, don’t fret — all you need is a safety pin.


With the dress on, gather the back of the garment till it fits your waist to your liking. This will give you a good idea of how much fabric you want concealed.



Turn the dress inside out and from the center-back of the waist-line, pinch together roughly the same amount of fabric from step 1. The beauty of altering using a safety pin is that it’s not permanent, so there’s no need for exact measurements. If you find your alteration is too tight or loose, go ahead and adjust this step accordingly!



Pierce the fabric where you want your waistline tightened.



Finalize your “alteration” by securing the pin further down the garter. Try to make the space between where you first pierce the garter and where you secure the pin as close together as possible. The further apart it is, the more visible the pin will be.


There you have it, a super easy and affordable fix to tightening a dress. Now, this trick may not work for all dresses and garments, but should work on clothes that have an elastic or are naturally “bunchy” looking.

Overall I’d say this was a success! I’m actually really liking the way the cinch gives the back of the dress a new look. So if you spot a dress in the store that’s almost your size, or you have a dress in your closet that doesn’t quite sit right around your waist, definitely give this trick a go.

Photo Credit: Katie Bryden

Photo Credit (On Listed Photos): Katie Bryden

Check her out, she’s super talented!


Instagram: @ktbryden


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