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How to Alter the Drape of an A-Line Dress

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    Empire and Baby Doll Waist

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      An empire or baby doll waist is just below the bustline.girl in red dress image by Indigo Fish from Fotolia.com

      Add a belt, sash, scarf or ribbon just under the bust line to create an empire or baby doll waist. The empire waist can be used on any length dress and often has a front bow. The baby doll look is usually a short skirt that ties with a big fluffy bow centered in back or offset in front. Both these styles call the eye to the bust and conceal the stomach and hips.

    • 2). Create a retro style empire waist by securing a 2-inch or 3-inch wide ribbon on one side of the zipper and tying it in front. Measure the chest around the ribs, under the bust line. Cut your ribbon approximately 32 inches longer than the chest measurement to allow for the bow.

    • 3). Fold the ribbon so it is 2 inches longer on one side than it is on the other and secure it just below bust level on one side of the zipper. Put the dress on, pull the zipper up, bring the ends around the front and tie.

    • 4). Make the bow using the shorter end for the first loop and the longer end to wrap around. Adjust the loops so they are even and about 3 inches long. Fold the ends back and underneath so you have a double bow, secure it from behind through three layers using safety pins or a couple of stitches.

    • 5). Use a long scarf, sash or wide ribbon to get the baby doll look. Tie the bow for this less structured offset in front or centered in back. Pick airy fabric or extra wide ribbon about 2 feet longer than the chest measurement. Secure the ribbon from underneath at the side seams, then tie, fluff and go--let the ends trail down.

    Natural Waist

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      A wide black belt calls attention to a small waist.red dress image by nutech21 from Fotolia.com

      Use a belt, sash, scarf or ribbon around the waist to accentuate the natural waist line. Like the empire waist, this look that can be worn by anyone and helps conceal tummy and hips.

    • 2). Create a look for a professional office with a belt in a coordinating color no more than 2-inches wide. Choose wider belts, or more dramatic colors for evening wear and social occasions. Gold and silver belts are particularly effective for evening wear.

    • 3). Tie a sash or broad ribbon around the waist to get a down to earth look. Remember; darker colors, wide ribbons and large bows make the waist look smaller.

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