Monday, November 19, 2012

How to Shorten a Hemline

This week's tutorial is from a dress I've shown you a few times before. I tried it on to decide what I could do that would make me want to wear it in real life, and decided that a shorter hemline and a belt might totally transform the frock.

Frumpy to fabulous!

This process takes a little longer than some of our other tutorials, but once you learn how to hem for the first time, you will save yourself SO MUCH money at the alterations shop. I'll be slowly modifying this dress in other ways to show you how to do some other alteration basics. Trust me, the extra cash in your savings account is totally worth it. I know I'll be glad I spent time on things like this when I have extra money to finally go on that mission trip to Africa I've been thinking about!
First of all, turn your dress inside out. The pictures don't show that part, because I sort of forgot to do that step first, but it makes the rest of the process easier. Lay it out on the floor (or work table, if you're lucky enough to have one).

Take your hem ruler--it's that really funny looking ruler with sharp edges--and measure up from the current hem to about an inch above where you want your actual hem to be. I wanted the hem to fall about four inches above my knee, and since it initially fell an inch below, I measured six inches up. Use your fabric pencil (or white colored pencil) to mark here.

Repeat that mark all the way across the bottom of your skirt, front and back. Remember, it's meant to be inside out right now, even though mine isn't.

Now take your hem ruler and mark two inches below the line you just made. Again, do this all the way across the skirt, front and back. Take some pins and pin both the layers of fabric together. This will make cutting it easier.

Use your pinking shears (those scissors with the zig-zag blades) and cut along that second line you drew.

We're almost done! Unpin the layers of fabric and start pinning the bottom of the skirt up to the top dotted line by folding that extra two inches in half. Do it all the way around the skirt.

Now, if you have the time and are less lazy than I am, you'll get out your iron and ironing board. I, however, did not feel so inclined, so I took the easy route and plugged in my hair straightener. Use your iron/styling tool to really crease that fold. Trust me when I say an ironed hem is far easier to sew than an unironed hem.

Last step! Find one of the side seams of the skirt and line it up with the needle of your sewing machine. Start stitching, but backstitch a few times before going too far to keep that seam secure in the future. Sew a straight stitch all the way around the skirt. Backstitch again when you reach the end. Cut the excess thread and you'll be done!

The finished hem is much easier to wear. Before, this dress made me feel boarderline Amish, which is not exactly the look a 22 year old wants to flaunt. After, it's a dress I can feel confident in, whether I wear it to my high school friend's annual Christmas party, or just a fun Girl's Night with my favorite people! And the best part, it only cost me about an hour, instead of a twenty minute drive and seven dollars, plus a week-long wait!

One of these days I'm going to make you a tutorial in the morning when my blinds are up and the sun is lighting my room, and I've actually remembered to make my bed and put away the stacks of books that are on literally every surface.

Up next: Taking a dress in. My body is one size on top and one size on bottom, so I always struggle with finding something that fits my whole frame. I'll show you how to fix those dresses that don't quite work to make a piece that is customized for your body!

1 comment:

  1. I like how your dress ended up. Super cute!:-)


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