How to Alter a Sleeveless V-Neck Dress

Updated April 17, 2017

While V-neck dresses can be dressed up or down for a variety of functions, they can also require alterations for an ideal fit. Particularly low-cut V-neck dresses can be made more modest by adding a panel to the front or adjusting the bodice for fit, while a dress that is too long can be altered by simply raising or lowering the hem. Remember to practice stitches and alterations on scrap fabric before performing any final alterations.

Measure the person who will be wearing the dress and determine the new hem length. Dresses are often slightly longer in the back than the front, though this is not a necessary adjustment. Mark the new hem with chalk or a pencil and pin the dress with straight pins.

Purchase thread to match the colour thread of the existing seams. If you cannot find thread that is an exact match, consider using hemming tape instead to avoid mismatched colours.

Practice hand stitches or machine stitches on scrap fabric before hemming the dress. Second-hand dresses are also good practice material and can help you more accurately alter your V-neck dress.

Stitch the new hem using a serger, sewing machine or hand stitches. When hand stitching, slip stitch, back stitch, whip stitch or vertical hem are ideal. To use hemming tape--fusible web bonding tape--follow the directions on the package and apply the hemming tape along the pinned seam.

Raise or lower an existing dart to create a better-fitting bust line and avoid embarrassing overexposure from an ill-fitting V-neck. Patterns That Fit You states "To find the correct position of your dart, measure from the shoulder to the bust point and mark that distance on your pattern. If this mark is above or below the dart on the pattern, you'll have to move the dart."

Lower a dart by using the new measurements to mark the new dart point and the side seams. Connecting these marks creates the new, lowered dart.

Raise a dart by using the same method. Be careful not to raise the dart too close to the arm hole of the dress. Practice stitching darts on second-hand dresses or scrap fabric before altering the V-neck dress.

Add a modesty panel to the front of the dress to make the dress more appropriate for conservative functions. While wearing the dress, measure the distance between the straps or panels above the bust.

Purchase a matching or coordinating fabric to create the panel. Cut a triangle of material to fit within the V shape of the dress, allowing enough extra to stitch the fabric to the inside of the dress.

Stitch the panel to the dress for a permanent panel, or attach the panel to the dress with loose basting stitches or Velcro(r), snaps or buttons to make a removable panel.


Use a dress pattern, online patterns or a second-hand dress to practice the ideal shape for your darts. Curved darts can create a more natural look than traditional darts but may not be appropriate for the material of your dress.

Things You'll Need

  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Needles
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Scrap fabric
  • Pattern
  • Seam ripper
  • Trim or embellishments
  • Fusible web bonding tape
  • Iron
  • Velcro (r)
  • Snaps
  • Buttons
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About the Author

A writer since 2000, Amanda Courtney worked as the news and copy editor for "The Lion's Roar," her collegiate newspaper, and as copy editor of the yearbook "Le Souvenir." She holds a Bachelor of General Studies with concentrations in English and mass communications from Southeastern Louisiana University.