Alter a dress (BARELY too small) with a side zipper?

I have this dress that is just BARELy too small in the bust area.  Its a strapless sweatheart neckline dress.  It has boning a side zipper, so I am not sure what to do.

Originally, I thought I would just add some ribbon up the back.  Since its strapless with and really loose once its past the bust area (BRAIN FART, I cannot think of the word...) the ribbon would only lace up about 6 inches in the back.  BUt the zipper is on the side, so I dont know what to do.

also, the dress is a sheer fabric, with two layers and will not be the easiest to sew.  And, it has boning.

Any ideas?

Do you think grommets are going to look good on the dress?
Gorfram7 years ago
Okay, so this dress is too tight through the bust, and made of two layers of delicate sheer fabric. Is it too loose below the bust, or is it meant to be hang generously over the waist & hips?

The answer may depend on what you mean by "just barely" too small. If you need less than an inch more fabric, your best bet may be to "let out" the first six inches of the back seam by unstitching it and re-sewing it with a smaller seam allowance. For instance, if a seam has a 1/2" seam allowance, amd you move the stitching to where it has just a 1/4" seam allowance, you've gained 1/4" for each side of the seam = 1/2" more room in the dress.

You won't be able to let out the side seam with the zipper (setting in zippers is difficult enough when you're making the garment, let alone re-setting them as an alteration), so be careful about letting out the seam on the other side. An extra half-inch probably won't make the dress too "off center," but I wouldn't try to go further than that.

It sounds like this is an important dress (for an important occasion?), and you're not in a position to easily replace it. If that's the case (and especially since you'd be working with a difficult and unfamilar fabric), you might seriously consider taking it to a professional seamstress to have her do the alteration(s). It ain't cheap, but it's much better than having to replace the whole dress if the alterations you try to do yourself should go wrong.