How to Stretch My Dress

Over time, clothing can fall victim to shrinking due to wash and wear. In other cases, the dress you bought looked good in the store but fits a little too tight when you get it home. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to stretch out your dress and get it fitting comfortably.

A dress soaks in a bucket filled with baby shampoo. (Image: Mercedes Lorenzo Finotti/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Fill a bucket with four cups of water and one tablespoon of dye-free, unscented baby shampoo. If you are stretching multiple dresses, double the measurements accordingly for each additional garment. You can also use your bathtub to soak your dress if a bucket is not available.

Step 2

Allow your dress to soak for an hour. Lay a clean, dry towel flat on a tabletop or other flat surface. Remove the dress and gently wring out excess water. You want your dress damp, but not soaking, prior to stretching.

Step 3

Lay the dress flat and gently stretch it out, pulling sleeves out to their desired length, and pulling the skirt out to the desired length. Set a weight or other heavy object on each corner of the skirt of your dress once you’ve stretched the fabric to the desired length. Weigh down the top of your dress too, along with sleeves if you’re stretching sleeves.

Step 4

Leave the weights on the dress until it dries completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, so make sure that you allow plenty of time for the dress to dry and form. Wear your dress once dry, or wash and let it hang dry to remove any baby shampoo residue.

Things You'll Need

  • Dye-free, unscented baby shampoo

  • Bucket

  • 4 weights (or other heavy water-resistant objects)


Some fabrics, such as polyester or poly-blend, are quite resistant to stretching. You may need to do the previous steps a few times. If all else fails, a tailor can help you re-form your dress or add additional fabric to it.

This is an easy treatment for fabrics such as cotton or linen, however if your dress is delicate, such as dry-clean only, lace or silk, head to your dry cleaner or local tailor for professional help.

If you need to speed up the drying process, use a blow dryer on low heat. Hold it about a foot away from the garment to prevent burning the fabric.

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