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. Sweater dresses are one of those pieces that can be especially difficult, and styling a sweater dress is an art that’s tricky to master.

Over the years, I’ve discovered ways to make clothing pieces fit me and make them my own. It’s simple, easy, inexpensive, and it’s not as frustrating as trying to find items in store that fit me perfectly right off the bat. And want to know something? It doesn’t take as much effort as you might think. There are so many pieces that you can customize to make your own, but today, I want to focus on sweater dresses. 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. Today, I’m going to teach you my best hacks to be able to style any sweater dress to look great on you.


Nordstrom Sweater Dress


I am a huge fan of wearing a cute sweater dress in the fall and winter seasons. As soon as October rolls around, I’m pulling out all of my favorite sweater dresses and getting excited to style them all season long. Styling sweater dress outfits can be a bit tricky, though, especially as a petite woman. Many sweater dresses don’t fit me correctly, so I have had to learn some tips over the years to alter sweater dresses to fit properly.

Aside from the fit, sweater dresses can also be a little tricky to style in general. They’re thick and chunky, and while the style is super cute, it can be a unique challenge to figure out how to best layer and accessorize a sweater dress in the most flattering way possible. But that’s why I’m here today – to show you all of my favorite sweater dress outfit ideas, and share my best tips to create sweater dress outfits you will love.


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 tricks that have helped me to alter a sweater dress, so I can make any sweater dress look great.


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 a 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.


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, but if you don’t want to you can use this trick to alter a sweater dress.


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.


Now that you know how to alter a sweater dress, the question becomes how to style it. There are so many ways to style a sweater dress for the fall and winter seasons, but what is best? Whether you’re planning your outfit for a date night, lunch with friends, or a trip to a beautiful new city, I have all of the best styling tips for you.

The first thing to think about when trying to style a sweater dress is the length. There are several lengths of sweater dresses you can wear, and each should be styled differently.


When styling a mini sweater dress, I love to pair my dresss with a great pair of over the knee boots. This not only creates a great visual line, but it also keeps you warm during the cold months. Another option would be to wear ankle boots and tights to accentuate the short skirt of the mini sweater dress. Mini sweater dresses can easily be paired with a leather jacket for a fun and edgy look that you’ll love.


Midi sweater dresses are great because you can style them a number of different ways. Lately, I’ve really been loving turtleneck sweater dresses – the oversized knit looks so warm and cozy, and paired with stylish jewelry, it looks effortlessly stylish in the winter time. Pair with a great pair of heels and a coat for an elegant night out.


Maxi sweater dresses are the perfect choice for a night out in the wintertime. Want to feel like you’re wearing an oversized sweater while still looking elegant and classy? A maxi sweater dress is endlessly stylish and always a great choice. Pair it with a wool coat and classy jewelry for a high fashion look that will leave you photo ready no matter where the evening takes you.

  • Petite Outfits
  • Sweater Dress
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  • Nordstrom
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  • Nordstrom Sweater Dress
Petite Outfits


Bp. Sweater Dress – Nordstrom

Light Wash Skinny Jeans – American Eagle

Buckle Cowboy Boots – Charlotte Russe (similar here)

Bp. Bucket Bag – Nordstrom

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