Discover our tips to curve a tunic or a dress

Do you have a dress or tunic in your closet that you love, but it's too wide for your figure? Would you like to learn how to simply cinch the waist of a garment to show off your curves? 

I'll help you out. 

As a fashion enthusiast, I believe that clothes should be like a second skin to us and therefore be comfortable to wear. That's why I especially appreciate bohemian fashion and its flowing, loose cuts. 

However, wearing comfortable clothes does not mean that they have to hide our shapes and not sublimate our figure! 

So today, I'm sharing with you an easy sewing technique as well as some ultra-simple no-sew tips to adjust your clothes, so that they show you off. 

To cinch a tunic or dress with a sewing machine, wear it inside out to mark your waist with pins. Then lay it flat and, using your machine and the measurements you took, make a new, narrower seam at the waist in an arc. If you don't want to sew your garment, you can use a belt or cardigan clip to tighten it at the waist. This will result in slimming your figure and emphasizing your curves in an elegant way! 

Want to know more? Continue reading to find out:

  • Why cinching a garment is a good idea,
  • A very easy sewing tutorial to tighten a tunic at the waist,
  • How to use a belt to sublimate your figure,
  • More info on very handy accessory: thecardigan clip,
  • Other tips and examples of inspiring outfits with bohemian dresses and tunics.

bohemian tunic cinched at the waist

Why cinch a garment? 

Do you have a dress or tunic that's a little wide and you'd like it to flatter your figure a little more? This problem is quite common: indeed, most clothes are cut to fit a typical body type. Yet, fortunately, we are all different! 

Most of the time, it is not very complicated to solve this problem: it is usually enough to cinch your garment, that is to say, to straighten it a little at your waist

bohemian dress tight waist

This will have the effect of making you look more feminine byhighlighting your curves, especially your hips. This will make your figure look refined and the tunic or dress in question will finally really show you off! 

How to cinch a tunic? [Sewing tutorial 🧵]

To begin with, I'll give you a technique that makes it easy to bend a garment with a simple sewing technique. If you don't know how to sew, don't worry, seamless methods will be covered in the rest of this article. 

For those of you who can sew a little, this is right up your alley. This is a quick and easy trick that should, if you have a sewing machine, only take you about 15 minutes

👉 You can view the entire tutorial on this very clear video, which allows you to clearly visualize the actions you need to take to complete your bending. 


Step #1: Prepare your fabric and work surface

Your fabric must be clean and, if it is cotton or linen, perfectly refined. On these materials, the presence of wrinkles would indeed risk shifting your seams and making the operation fail! 

Connect your sewing machine to a clean, clear table. Also prepare a few tools and supplies needed for this DIY, namely:

  • Thread,
  • pins,
  • A pair of scissors,
  • A marker.

woman sewing machine

Step 2: Mark the pleats

Put your top or dress on up-side down, then, making sure your garment is straight, mark your waistline at the level where you want to tighten it with a pin. Do this symmetrically on both sides. 

👉 If you can, ask a loved one to help you make sure your blouse is straight when you attach the pins. 

Then lay your garment down, being careful not to prick yourself.

Step 3: Redraw the waistline and sew it in

On the wrong side, trace the waistline to where you're going to sew have a pen or special sewing marker. Remember to create an arc (or triangle, as shown in the video), so that the resulting cut looks natural. 

Then, using your machine, sew on the line made. You can then turn your garment right side out and try it on. And there you go, the trick is done! 

👉 Don't forget to remove the pins!

well-tailored dress

How to fit a dress without sewing? 

Don't know how to sew or don't have a sewing machine and would like a simple and effective solution? Do not worry, I have prepared a small selection of seamless techniques to bend your garment. Discover them in the following lines! 

The belt: your best ally for tightening a garment that is too wide

Both stylish and practical, the belt is a very versatile accessory, which can be used as much with pants as with a tunic or a dress. In this second case, it allows to tighten and refine the waist, while redefining the proportions your silhouette. 

➡ Indeed, it is often advisable, when choosing an outfit, to try to establish a proportion ratio of ⅓ for the top and ⅔ for the bottom, so as to achieve a harmonious result. This rendering is possible by positioning a wide belt on your waist. 

leather dress belt

For a bohemian chic style, choose a natural brown leather belt that is quite wide, with a nice buckle. Remember to adjust your clothes after you put the belt on, so they don't get caught in it. 

A miracle trick: discover the cardigan clip! 

Are you looking for a discreet solution, suitable for a slightly strict work outfit, for example? I suggest you discover a very small accessory with great potential: it is the cardigan clip. This consists of a small elastic or length-adjustable barrette with a clip at each end, which you can attach in your back, to pinch your garment at the waist. 

cardigan clip bend blouse

👉 You can order this accessory on Etsy or Amazon, by typing in "cardigan clip". It comes in many varieties and colors! 

3 more super simple tricks to tighten a dress or tunic

To finish up, I'll give you three tricks that don't require any hardware and will allow you to adjust a garment temporarily super simply. Useful if you are lent a dress that is a bit big, if you don't have time, or if you want to wear that top you just bought immediately! 😉

Why tucking in your top at the waist is a good idea

Whatever your figure, and if the garment you want to cinch is not too long, it is possible to tuck it in slightly in shorts, pants or skirt in front. 

top tucked into pants

You have two options: 

  • You fully tuck your blouse into your pants or shorts, in the flattest way possible, for a very business-like and work-friendly result,
  • You tuck your top into your pants, then blouse it, meaning it comes out slightly at your waist, for a more casual look. 

Whichever option you choose, it will help to mark your waist, and thus give the illusion of a fitted, slim-fitting top. 

Insert a faux belt! 

If you don't have a belt on hand, you can also use something else to create one, such as:

  • A long-sleeved garment that you tie around your waist,
  • A thin scarf,
  • A cord,
  • A scarf,
  • A piece of fabric that is a little wide...

bohemian chic outfits

Learn how to create the illusion of a fitted garment by playing with overlays

If you don't want to tighten your garment at the waist with a belt or any other accessory, but still want the garment you're wearing to elongate your figure without widening it, I've got one last tip for you. By wearing a long vest or a kimono, you'll redefine the shape of the tunic, dress or blouse you're wearing underneath, thanks to the weight of that garment. 

👉 Playing with layering, you can also choose to wear your dress or shirt with a corset! In this case, no need to cinch it, this accessory will create a slim and slender waist in an instant! 

You now know plenty of simple tricks to bend a dress, blouse or tunic, whether you know how to sew or not! 

In the meantime, I suggest you discover right now our collection of bohemian clothes, among which you'll find dresses and top that are well-cut and perfectly tailored to make you look your best, no matter what your body type!"😉


discover our bohemian chic dresses