Basic tutorial for lengthening a dress hem from Mabey She Made It.

Have you ever found the perfect dress only it’s just a bit short? So frustrating, right? Well it happens to my lovely sister (pictured above) a lot since she’s a fabulous 6′ tall.

And since my brother’s wedding was this past week, we needed to lengthen this dress from Shabby Apple just a bit.

Screen shot 2013-07-24 at 3.30.38 PM

Lengthen a Dress with an overlay (or any dress for that matter)

  1. Find some fabric to match the skirt. If you dodn’t have an overlay, you can choose a contrasting color for a fun color-blocked look or go with the closest match. Make sure the fabric you pick is the same color and washing instructions as your fabric. You don’t want to have a washable dress but a strip of dry-clean only fabric on the bottom–that would warp when you washed it!
  2. If you’re trying to save all the original length you can, unpick the original hem at this point.
  3. Determine how much length you need/want to add. Then cut two strips the width of the hem (plus 1/2″ for a seam allowance) by the length you need to add (plus 1/2″ for seam allowance).
  4. Press one edge of both pieces up 1/4″ then do it again another 1/4″ so the raw edges are completely hidden.Lengthening a Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It
  5. Put the right sides together of both your pieces and sew the short sides of the two pieces together on both ends to make a big circle that should be the same size as the bottom hemline of your dress. Lengthening a Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It
  6. Sew along your pressed edge all the way around to create a new hem.Lengthening a Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It
  7. With your hemmed piece and your dress right sides together and with the raw edges together, start pinning. You’ll want to make sure the side seams are lined up at this point.Lengthening a Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It
  8. It’s time to sew your added length to your dress! Make sure the raw edges are together, and sew all the way around your dress.Lengthening a Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It
  9. Now press those seams and you’re ready for the wedding (or whatever you’re wearing your newly lengthened dress to)!

Lengthening a Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It

Using this technique for lengthening a dress is a great way to add length and extend the functionality of your dress!

Another Way to Add Length

Okay, but what if you can’t find a fabric that matches? Check for a deep hem. If your dress has one, you’re in luck.

Try this:

  1. Unpick the hem of the dress and press it as flat as possible (You’ll need a lot of steam). If the deep hem gives you enough length, cut a band of fabric about 2″ wide by the length of your hem + seam allowance.
  2. Sew the band together on the short ends, and the sew one raw (long) edge to the raw edge of your dress.
  3. Fold and press the seam you just sewed flat. Then fold the new band to the back.
  4. Then hem the band and sew it to the inside of your skirt.

OR Try This to Add Length

This is my least favorite option, but if you are buying a dress and it’s inexpensive, you can buy two, cut what you need from the second dress, and add it to the first. This way you have matching fabric for your added length. I personally hate the idea of buying two, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, right?

And if it get’s you a dress you love, it can be worth the price.

If you like this sewing tutorial, you might also like these:

The Secret to Hemming Curved Edges Perfectly | Mabey She Made It #sewing #hemming The Secret to Gorgeous Gathers | Mabey She Made It #gatheringfabric #sewing #sewingtips

The Secret to Hemming Curved Edges || The Secret to Gorgeous Gathers

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Jamie
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Jamie

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the tutorial on how to lengthen a dress. It’s making me feel confident about trying to lengthen a simple one (no slits, almost straight fit, lining ends 1″ above the current hem). However, another dress of mine has a back slit interwoven with the lining like this. If I lengthen it, I’d need to adjust the slit as well. Do you have a tutorial for that? (I can send pictures if needed.)

Thanks,
Jamie

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the tutorial on how to lengthen a dress. It’s making me feel confident about trying to lengthen a simple one (no slits, almost straight fit, lining ends 1″ above the current hem). However, another dress of mine has a back slit interwoven with the lining. If I lengthen it, I’d need to adjust the slit as well. Do you have a tutorial for that? (I can send pictures if needed.)

Thanks,
Jamie