As temperatures rise, so do hem lines. Most people have a pile of neglected clothing in the corner of their closet because of wrong size, poor fit, an old favorite that’s just immodest enough to feel uncomfortable wearing or it has gone out of style. The majority if not all of these items just need a little tweaking and they will be better than new. If you never wear it anyway, make it a project, you have nothing to lose. Let’s start with lengthening a skirt or dress.
It is often difficult to find a trendy skirt or dress that extends down to the knee or Heaven forbid below the knee. The current trends tell us hem lines should hit mid thigh, however, these styles are too short for comfort for most women.
Here is a lengthening technique that can be used for just about anything. Tools and supplies needed include a measuring tape, trimming of choice, matching thread, scissors, pins and a sewing machine. Don’t forget to grab a camera if you want to take a before and after shot.
Step 1: Lay the project on a table and measure the circumference of existing hem. Most skirts or dresses have a hem seam which can be followed when you sew the trim on, camouflaging the new seam line. Add an inch or two to your measurement to be safe. Excess fabric or trimming can be cut off at the end, but it cannot always be added.
Step 2: Cut the trimming of choice according to your hem circumference measurement plus five-eights of an inch to both ends for seam allowance.
Step 3: Starting at a side seam pin the trimming on to the hem. If your project does not have a seam on either side, it will have a seam in the center of the back.
Step 4: The seam attaching the trimming to the skirt is going to be on top of the existing hem seam line. With the raw edge of your trim five-eights of an inch past the skirt’s side seam, use your straight pins to hold trim in desired place. Insert pins perpendicular to the direction you intend to sew. This way, using your sewing machine, you can sew right up next to the pin before having to remove it.
Step 5: Once the trimming is pinned in place all the way around the hem, sew a regular straight stitch along the existing hem seam line with your sewing machine. Start seam two inches in from the side seam and end two inches from the side seam so there are loose ends of trim and at least four inches of hem on the skirt that is unaltered.
Step 6: Take the two loose ends of trim and lay them together to see how far they overlap. Measure overlap. This will be your seam allowance. Although we measured for the seam allowance to be five-eights of an inch, it may have changed slightly.
Step 7: With right sides facing each other, pin raw edges of trimming together. Place trimming on the sewing machine so the needle is pointing to five-eights of an inch, or whatever your seam allowance measurement was, in from the raw edge. Sew the trimming edges together with a straight stitch. If your seam allowance is more than an inch, cut it shorter to eliminate unnecessary bulk.
Step 8: Now the trimming is one large circle and most of it is already sewn onto the skirt. Lay the unaltered section of hem flat on the table. Pin the remaining unattached trim in place. Sew it together the same way as the rest of the skirt hem.
Step 9: Try it on! The new and improved summer skirt is finished. There are many ways to add length to a skirt or dress, this is just one. Don’t be afraid to explore your options and try something new.