How To Shorten A Sleeveless Bodice

Alterations Example – Creating A Custom Fit

Sometimes we need to alter a garment to get a better fit. IT can happen when we lose weight. Other times our sewing projects don’t quite measure up to our expectations. Or, you may purchase ready to wear clothing that you love and it needs a bit of fitting to make it more flattering. Simple alterations can help get the job done. It is east to learn how to shorten a sleeveless bodice, and this simple technique and will make a huge difference in how your garment fits.

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Shortening A Sleeveless Bodice

Photo: Before and After Dress

I’ve recently lost some weight and my clothes are getting loose — it’s all good! I would love to keep them around for a bit longer, so I have been altering as many items as I can. You don’t need to be an alterations expert to make simple clothing alterations.

You can see there is a big difference in fit simply by adjusting the shoulder seams. No expert sewing skills needed — this is a beginners sewing alteration hack. It simply involves removing a few inches off the shoulder seams and resewing them. Anyone with a beginner sewing skill level can achieve a custom fit.

There are lots of ways to shorten a bodice on a sleeveless garment, we are exploring one particular fit area on this dress. When a garment fits, you will want to wear it more often. With simple modifications you can achieve a beautiful fitting garment.

The Video

Watch the step-by-step demonstration for altering this dress. Additionally, I shortened the sleeve length of the jacket, since it was a seamless scuba fabric — highly skilled tailoring not needed.

The Pattern

Before And After Dress and Jacket

How To Shorten A Sleeveless Bodice
Deer and Doe Belladone Dress
How To Shorten A Sleeveless Bodice

I have made this Deer and Doe Belladone Dress twice. The style has a custom fitted look and works for my body type. Additionally, the opsen back with the cross shoulders is a lovely detail. I spend a lot of time on the original practice garment to give it a made to measure look.

Vogue 9338
How To Shorten A Sleeveless Bodice

The Vogue 9338 Jacket Pattern is super easy to construct. It has a loose fit, no custom tailoring here. Simple to construct, I love the sleeve detail. I did chop off a good chunk of the bell, and when I make the jacket again, I’ll shorten the sleeve length for a more proportioned look.

Alterations And Tailoring Services

You can certainly hire a professional tailor to create the custom fit you desire. An experienced tailor will most likely offer alteration services.

Altering Your Sleeveless Bodice

If you are timid about cutting into a cherished garment, try practicing on one that doesn’t hold a lot of sentimental value. It is easy to perfect the most common alterations. It is one of the best ways to save money as a sewist. Begin with clothes that require less extensive changes. Sometimes just hemming a dress or pants can change the entire look. You don’t need to be a master seamstress to take in a seam or fix a fallen hem.

Having clothing fit correctly makes a tremendous difference in how you feel. When you have a perfect fit, you will feel great. Now that you know how to shorten a sleeveless bodice, let’s get sewing.

Happy Sewing,



I love my Bernette 38 Sewing Machine. It is perfect for sewing beautiful garments. 

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My Sewing With Sandi Etsy Shop has over 500 hard to find women’s, men’s, and children’s patterns. You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns.  You will find little girls’ bows, a few sewing notions, sewing kits, but mostly lots and lots of patterns. 

7 thoughts on “How To Shorten A Sleeveless Bodice

  1. It’s amazing what a difference shortening that sleeveless bodice in the photos shows! I am one to buy clothes at the store that I like and then have them altered to fit my body type.

  2. Your dress is lovely! I like the advice of practicing on a garment that you may not love as much before going in on one you really love. I think that advice is for me. Congrats on the weight loss!

  3. Great tips and advice here! I love videos like this that show you step-by-step how to go about sewing. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to learn how to sew. So far I’ve learned to hem trousers, which I know is basic but has been a huge step for me.

  4. Excellent tips! We enjoy learning new things, and how to shorten a sleeveless bodice taught us something new! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Well that’s cool! The dress is beautiful. It doesn’t seem like such a hard process to shorten a sleeveless bodice! Thanks for the tips.

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