Monday, 14 January 2013

Hemlines: the long and short of it

I had two dresses in my wardrobe that I wasn't wearing, well actually there are more, but cleaning out the wardrobe is such a dreary task so we'll just concentrate on these two for now. One dress was too short and the other two long. What to do?

The too short: the khaki dress was from the op shop. I thought I'd wear it as a tunic with leggings in the winter, but the fabric was too flimsy and summery and just didn't go with leggings. It was too short to wear as a summer dress and I didn't even wear it over bathers. 

I decided to add two fabrics at the hemline to fit in with the colour blocking trend of the minute. The red fabric was left over from a sheet I had cut up to fit a toddler bed. It was lightweight cotton, similar to the dress fabric, so looked right with the rest of the dress. I sewed this directly to the hem of the dress. Then I sewed on the strip of blue stretch knit to cover the join. Done!

Perfect for a casual summer outing.

The too long: the second dress was also op-shopped. It is made from lovely quality, very stretchy knit fabric so I couldn't resist it, even though it was an unflattering length on me (no 'before' pic, sorry).

Rather than just chopping a bit off and re-hemming, I decided to make a feature of the shortening process by adding horizontal pintucks to the lower edge of the dress.

I wanted three tucks, so I determined the amount I wanted the hem taken up and divided that number into six (eg. to take the hem up by 18cm, divide 18 by 6 to get 3cm. Each tuck is 3cm wide from the fold to the stitching, or 6cm wide in total if opened out). I carefully measured, folded and sewed the tucks, one at a time, by folding the fabric wrong sides together and stitching 3cm from the fold. I chose to have them next to each other, but you could leave gaps in between.

Here are the tucks from the outside of the dress showing the undersides of the tucks on the right of the photo:

The inside of the dress, showing the three seams:

 And the finished dress. Yes, the beach was stunning that day. You can see my boys having their swimming lessons in the background. I have my self-drafted bathers on underneath  :)

These were both very quick refashions which give a little extra interest to the dresses. I wear both dresses a lot now.

What are you doing with your hemlines?


  1. Wow, what a difference on that first dress! I love the colorblock idea. And I may have to try the tucks on a skirt that is hanging (unworn) in my closet...

    1. Thank you :) It's funny how a simple change can make all the difference to an item!

  2. What great way to make your dresses 'wearable' again!

    1. Yes, I've worn both of these so many times since I updated them. Thank you for stopping by :)

  3. Judging by your shadow on the sand, it's midday or thereabouts and I can just about imagine the heat. You look extremely glamorous considering!

    P.S. I have a fave pattern (NL 6459) that would look great with pintucks at the hem!

    1. Oh thank you! Yes, it has been incredibly hot here and, although I still prefer the heat to the cold, I could do with a dose of your winter, especially at night!!

  4. They look great. I must store those ideas away. I know what you mean about the heat. The hot weather we have had since Boxing Day has finally broken which is far more conducive for sleeping. I have never known there to be so many fires as in the last week so it as been good to get some rain.


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