How to Edit and Alter Any Dress to Make It One-of-a-Kind

Mortified of being spotted in the exact same dress as someone else?

You don't have to spend all your money on an expensive dress or have one made from scratch to guarantee no one else will be donning your look. You just have to punch it up a little.

If you've been thinking about editing a favorite dress to make it one-of-a-kind, keep reading to find out our favorite unique alterations.

Get It Altered

Have you ever wondered how celebrities always look so good in everything they wear? One big secret is that they have all of their clothes altered to perfectly fit their bodies. For some, this may be super obvious, but others of us haven't yet realized there are options beyond wearing dresses as they are, right off the rack.

By taking your dress into a tailor to have the dress perfectly fit to you, you can take in any parts where there's extra room, let out any areas that are tight and adjust straps and any other details that don't make you feel like your most confident self. Bridal shops offer awesome services but can cost a pretty penny, while many dry cleaning locations will also alter clothing for a fee.

Yes, the process adds an additional expense after you've purchased an already-pricey dress, but the results are unmatched. Or, if you have a handy relative (or are pretty crafty yourself) you may want to go the DIY route for a homemade touch. Just get started on this process early, as it can take some time—especially during dance seasons. Even if you do run into someone else wearing the same dress, you can rest assured that yours is going to look like it was made for you from scratch.


(via Shutterstock)


Change the Hem

Don't feel like your dress is quite the right length? Whether it's too long or too short, you can have adjustments made to get your look exactly where you want it to go. If the extra-long length is making your dress feel a little old-fashioned, have a tailor bring it up to a more flirty and fun knee-length. If you want it just a bit longer, the fabric that's already hidden in the seams can be brought out to provide that extra length. If that's not enough, you can purchase a fabric that matches your dress and have it added to the bottom, or one that complements it for a unique two-toned look. Talk to your tailor to find out what kind of magic you might be able to work with them,  or recruit your hands-on family members to see if they can help.


(via Shutterstock)


Add a Slit to Your Dress

A slit in a dress can add a bit of flair and drama, while also giving you more legroom, without a lot of cost or difficulty. If you're going to go the DIY route, we like this guide from My Bluprint, which breaks the process down into 13 different steps. Whenever you do it yourself, try practicing first on old pieces of clothing, since you definitely don't want to accidentally ruin your most coveted dress. Also keep in mind that a slit won't complement every style of dress, so understand what you're working with before you start cutting in.


Sew Sleeves to a Sleeveless Dress

Whether you're not super comfortable baring your arms, your school dress code forbids skinny straps or you just think your dress would look cuter if it had sleeves, never forget that adding some is always an option. If you find that perfect dress and the one flaw is that it's sleeveless, there's definitely something you can do about it. You can even add a sleeve on just one side of the dress for a unique, asymmetric look.  Check out this guide to sewing on sleeves from Sewguide.


Remove the Sleeves

On the other hand, there will be cases where your dress already has sleeves and you'll want to remove them and show off a little more skin. Sometimes, sleeves are too tight, made from an itchy material, or just plain not cute, and it's not a crime to want them gone. The process begins with using a seam ripper, and from there, it's up to you to decide how you want to finish the raw seams. Read this guide for removing sleeves from dresses at City Moms Blog.


Raise the Neckline

Raising the neckline on a dress is a great option if you want a more modest look or if the dress of your dreams isn't passing a dress code because it's too low-cut. If you can sew, this alteration is relatively simple to do at home. In fact, the hardest thing is finding a fabric that matches your dress. If you can't, we recommend a bold complementary color, or lace in a similar shade for a bit of contrast. Read instructions to raise a dress neckline here at Heather Handmade.


(via Shutterstock)


Add Some Shimmer

Sometimes, your dress needs that something special to spice it up a bit. For big events, we think there's no better way to do this than by adding accent sequins to your ensemble. If you want head-to-toe sequins, you're better off buying a sequin dress to begin with, so we recommend picking your sequin location wisely. The neckline, sleeve cuffs, straps and hem can be visually appealing places to add sequins, but be careful to set them so they don't irritate your skin with wear. We happen to love them along the belt line, but how you bedazzle your look is entirely up to you. Check out this site for 10 different ways to apply sequins to fabric from Sewguide.


Love making your own unique clothing? Click HERE to find out how to flawlessly DIY your next pair of cutoff shorts.