Warehouse shirt dress, horses print
Crafts, Making stuff

Making stuff 8: shortening dresses

The easy one first

I blindly bought a denim pinafore a couple of weeks ago. Got home and tried it on and looked proper frumpy. It’s too long, I’m too short, there’s a problem.

But I kind of know what I’m doing with scissors and pins and it had a deliberate frayed hem so no worrying about turning it up – I think sewing denim would be beyond my sewing machine’s capacity.

So I chose my length and put in a pin, took the dress off and measured. 10cm or 4 inches, short arse! Then I measured the same length up from the edge all the way round and pinned before cutting from each pin to the next.

Brilliant, much more sensible length for my little legs.

And then the harder one

I bought this lovely Warehouse dress in last winter’s sales. I’d just taken back the maternity clothes I no longer needed and spotted this, its beautiful. Really nice material and a bit different for me. The only thing is (as I mentioned) I’m a bit short so it almost reaches my knee.

So I took a similar approach (having first checked with my expert mum), pinned the length I want and measured 2cm less all the way round, to give some leeway for a hem. Then for the nerve wracking bit – cutting 10cm off a nice dress.

With that scary bit out of the way, I dug my sewing machine out of the cupboard, and realised I had no idea how to load the bobbin. Thank goodness for google and online instructions!

I pinned the hem, doubling the fabric over to maybe 1/4 inch. It wasn’t very even but hopefully it won’t be noticable. Then I realised I’d put all the pins in so that they would need pulling out towards the needle of the sewing machine. So I had to go round the whole hem turning them to the other direction. I took a deep breath and started the machine running from the middle of the back, taking it slow and trying to keep the right edge of the footer aligned with the edge of the hem. Once I’d done the whole way round I got a hand needle and threaded the loose ends to the inside and tied them off – love using the needle case embroidered by my great grandmother more than 100 years ago.

I’m really pleased with the result. It needs ironing now but feels much nicer on already.

7 thoughts on “Making stuff 8: shortening dresses”

  1. Wow, you’ve done a wonderful job on both dresses – I’m with you on loading the bobbin, it’s been a couple of years since I last used my sewing machine, but this is so inspiring. I might look at cutting down some of my dresses to fit Flora – she’s almost as tall as me now, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I could sew better – unfortunately I have too many things on my list of things to do and sewing isn’t a priority. The way you can customise is wonderful. I appreciate clothes that are repurposed – what great ideas.


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