How to Alter a Sweater Dress

nordstrom sweater dress

When you’re a petite woman, there are many pieces that still don’t fit you even when they are a size small or x-small. It’s as if you have to shop a special section to find something that fits you, or you have to make alterations to the piece to have it fit your body type. It’s exhausting and, not to mention, expensive.

For awhile not, I’ve refused to make those extra purchases and only shop in the petite section. And I know this frustration is not only felt by the petite woman. It’s felt by a lot of people who do not fit into this “standard” size that is being fitted to pieces and put in the store.

Instead, I’ve found ways to make the items fit me and make them my own. It’s inexpensive. It’s not as frustrating. And it doesn’t take as much effort as you make think.

For today’s alteration tip, let’s focus on the sweater dress.

There are so many sweater dresses out there in various colors, lengths, necklines, sleeve styles, etc. And I’m sure you’ve picked up some sweater dresses where you have loved 4 out of the 5 things about the dress, but that one thing is stopping you from buying it.

For me, the two things that typically stop me from buying a sweater dress is that either it is too wide or the length is way too long. I’d take it into the fitting room loving mostly everything about it, and then I would try it on. It would just not work out for me at that point. But I’ve stopped doing that with these DIY alternations.

  1. Tie It Up: For a dress that is too long, don’t be afraid to tie it in certain areas. There are many sweater dresses that I own that I have turned into tops or just shorter dress. If you want to keep it a dress, just take a little corner at the bottom and tie just a few centimeters so that it hikes up one corner and shortens the hem. Or, if you want to make it a shirt, you can take any part of the dress and tie a few inches. I typically tie up the side for a more chic look. But if you want to bring back the 90s look, try tying it from the back.
  2. The Perfect Roll: When the sleeves are too long, just do a fold or a roll. I typically fold mine with one inch folds and then slip a safety pin inside the fold to hold it for the remainder of the day. But honestly, it’s actually not a bad idea to leave those long sleeves over your hands. The long sleeve look is trending.
  3. Belt It: We all have accessories and even if you don’t, it’s time to invest in a few. Having a collection of belts is not a bad idea. And I’m not saying to go out and buy a bunch of those waist belts. The belts that hold up your jeans aren’t just for your pants loops. Tying a belt around your midsection not only makes that dress fit your body, but it also makes you look taller. Plus, belts can be used with so many outfits so the money you spend on buying one spread over a variety of different ensembles.

alter a sweater dress nordstrom winter outfit sweater dress alter a sweater dress


Bp. Sweater Dress – Nordstrom

Light Wash Skinny Jeans – American Eagle

Buckle Cowboy Boots – Charlotte Russe (similar here)

Bp. Bucket Bag – Nordstrom


  1. Alyssa Arraya
    January 9, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    I love how you changed this from a dress to a top and I love the color!

  2. January 9, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    i’m a huge fan of knotting these days, so love that option! i have the opposite problem – i have a long torso, but i’m not a tall, so some things are too short on me haha.
    Southern Elle Style

  3. Briana Anderson
    January 9, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    OMG this is genius! I have so many that have grown to be a little to short – this is the answer! Love it!
    xx, Bri ||

  4. January 9, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    Great Tips. Love the outfit. I will try this with a few pieces I own already.

  5. January 11, 2017 / 2:06 am

    I prefer the tied look. I do that on occasion with a particular sweater I own.

  6. January 11, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    This is such a great idea! I would not think about knotting a sweater dress, but it looks fab!

    Molly || Miss Molly Moon