I am writing this because I have had several customers at my Etsy Shop not understand how to use, wear and adjust a dress clip. I too, years ago when I first started wearing them, did not know how to wear them. It took some time and experimentation to get the hang of it.
If you have an outfit that every time you put it on you stand in front of the mirror and cinch the waist in at the back with your hand to make it fit correctly and look better, then this is the thing you need.
Dress clips are fastened at the back of a garment, right at the waist, in order to take in the garment and make it fit better and look better.
These are dress clips—a white lace one and a black crocheted one:
I use gold or bronze clips (I can’t find the gold ones anymore!). You get to choose the color/metal.
First of all, you do not need a stretchy clip for it to work properly. You can use a stretchy clip if you like the look of it, but it does not change the functionality of a clip very much. I personally think the stretchy ones look too juvenile, like something a child would wear, but that is just my opinion. It is also why I do not make stretchy clips to sell in my shop.
Here are the basics of wearing and adjusting a dress/shirt/jacket/sweather clip.
Let’s start with a big, loose, boxy garment.
You will always start by placing the middle of the clip on the middle of the garment – which is your spine. So let’s mark the vertical (up and down) middle of the garment with a sharpie. Then let’s mark the horizontal line which represents your waist.
Now let’s place the middle of the clip at the mid-line that runs up and down (vertically, which is your spine), and let’s fasten each clip only 2.5 inches, on each side, from that middle vertical line. Notice how there isn’t much gathering between the two clip ends and it does not take the garment in much. The clip is even sagging some, because it is not pulled out any by the garment.
Now let’s move the clip ends out some and fasten one 4 inches to the right of the mid-line and then the other one 4 inches to the left of the mid-line. Notice how the garment is gathered more between the clip ends and the garment is pulled in more. We are starting to see some shape to the garment.
Okay, so let’s move the clip ends out to 6 inches, on each side, from the middle vertical (up and down – the spine) line. See how there is much more fabric gathered in between the two clip ends? The garment is now pulled in much more and is much more shapely.
So just to illustrate what is possible, let’s move each clip end all the way around to each side seam. Notice how the clips are pulling the side seams way around to the back. I realize this is too much and that this is not a good look for this garment (but it may work on some garments, depending on its size and your size), but I just want to make the point that the size and type of dress/shirt clip does not determine the amount of shape you can put in a garment. The amount of shape you can put in a garment is determined by how far from the mid-line you place each clip end.
So we went from this (which looks like a night gown):
To this (which looks like a fitted dress/shirt):
So, you can see that how far you get each end of the clip from the middle of the garment in the back (or your spine), determines how much shape you can put into a garment, and how much fabric you take up.
For some more, different, before and after photos, go here.
I also make custom dress/shirt clips from your own, matching fabric. Just send me a piece of fabric that measures at least 3 inches by 6 inches and specify which color clip ends you want (bronze or silver).
Good luck! Please contact me if you have questions. I am happy to answer all your questions and help your experience with dress clips be fun and functional.