Friday, August 12, 2011

Lengthening a Dress : a tutorial



It didn't occur to me until recently that maybe the reason dresses and skirts are always so short on me is because of my height. I always just thought that they were made to sit mid-thigh. At 5'9" I tower above the average female. Finding a modest dress is easier said than done. 

I tried on this cute ship print dress at Forever 21 and refused to give it up even if it did come up dangerously high. Not this time. Nope, I decided to find my own solution. 





Anyone else have this issue?

If so, read on and find out how to add some extra inches to your favorite dresses.




Materials:

Fabric (I used about a half yard of navy blue silk)
*How much you will need depends on the style and size of your dress*


Tutorial:

Measure the circumference of the hem of your dress. Be as accurate as possible. I measured twice to double check myself.


To determine how wide and long to cut your strip of fabric:

Length

Circumference of dress bottom  +   4 inches

i.e. I measured 41 inches around, so the length of fabric I cut was 45 inches

Width

Inches you'd like to add   x  2   +  3 inches

i.e. I wanted to add 5 inches to my dress, so the width of the fabric I cut was 13 inches.




Cut the fabric to the predetermined dimensions. Mine was 45 inches by 13 inches.





Fold fabric hotdog style and pin down


Sew with a 1/2" inseam




Iron the seam open and turn the tube right side out. Give it a final press to get rid of wrinkles. I ironed the seam to one side so that it wouldn't be visible.




Turn in one of the short ends of fabric in and press.




 Should look like this:




Insert the raw end into the pressed end

Measure the circumference of your fabric. The measurement should be exactly the same as the circumference of the dress. 

When you're positive you have your fabric to the perfect measurement, sew the ends together.




Pin around the hem of the dress, right sides together.




Sew all the way around. I sewed right along the existing stitch so that the inseam was about 1 inch.




All done!









Much better! 






Linking to...

...

52 comments:

Amanda said...

Wow. I don't think I could have ever measured anything so perfectly...it looks great! Very professional. I would have never guessed you were that tall, I guess your pictures don't usually include any points of reference, haha. :)

Sydney said...

That's an awesome idea. I'm 5'10 and have the same issues ESPECIALLY with Forever21 dresses and skirts.

Sara said...

Well since I'm barely 5'3 I don't really have this problem with dresses :) I do like the intrest it adds to the dress. I could still do this maybe just take a few inches of the bottom of the dress first.

Anna said...

so cute! it looks great.

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

nicely done! i have short issues too...but i think it's cause my butt is so big. Hah!! Love the dress :)

Taylor said...

So funny cause I had this same problem with a super short dress from target so I just cut it off, hemmed it and called it a shirt haha

I just came across your blog and I love it!!
www.itstaylormade.com

Originally Yours said...

One of my fav skirts back in the day had this added layer of a hem, love, love, love it! What a great rehab for a skirt too. Another hit Katie!

Tricia said...

Awesome. I am 5'8" and I had this issue last week at the store... all the cute dresses made me look a little too scandalous. Thanks for such a good idea and awesome instructions. Love your blog!

Jen said...

Wow, your dress looks great! I think the added inches also add some great style points, too. Jen @ www.icantstopcrafting.blogspot.com

Amy @ dwell in the season said...

That looks awesome, nicely done! By the way, I'm pretty obsessed with your tutorials, I made TWO of your t-shirt refashions this week! :)

Rachel Stout said...

LOVE this tutorial! I am also 5'9", and typically do not wear dresses or skirts because they are so short on me. Thanks for posting this!

Unknown said...

You are my new favorite person! At 5'10" I have this problem all the time... I'm starting to wonder if the world hates tall people. Thank you for making this so simple.

Kathryn said...

I'm 5'11. I definitely have this problem. Thanks so much!

Brenna Wanous said...

Great tutorial!! I'm 6' so feel the pain of the too-short-dress. You're the bees knees, thanks for sharing!

LoveMakesTheGirl said...

This is a really good idea! I love contrasting strips of fabric at the hem of dresses :)

By the way, the print of this dress is awesome!

Happy in red said...

This is a fantastic tutorial!! I am 6ft tall and even though I am Dutch and Dutchies are pretty tall, I still ahve trouble finding dresses that are long enough. This tutorial will prove itsself to be very helpful in the future no doubt ;-)
Esther.

Sarah Rooftops said...

Ooh, great job!

ghesspanish said...

Another high-five from a tall girl. I will definitely be using this idea. Thanks so much!

jennywren said...

great idea! very cute dress-and love your ironing board cover :)

Li-Sha said...

yes! i'm the same height, and i have a super cute dress that's too short. good idea, thank you so much!

HellcatJill said...

At 5'11", I most DEFINITELY have this problem! I need to really learn how to sew so that I can do things like this. Thanks for the instructions!

I just stumbled upon your blog a couple days ago via Pinterest, and I am LOVING it. I have several things on my list to try to make. :)

naomimarcus said...

Your dress looks fantastic!
Another fab tutorial, thank you x

B-Fab said...

I'm 5' 10" and definitely have this issue with dresses. Usually I put on some leggings and call it a tunic, but I'll have to try this out!

http://bfab11.blogspot.com/

FashionablyHijabee said...

Im short so i don't really have this issue but i have some shirts that are too short maybe ill try it on them great idea!

http://fashionablehijabee.blogspot.com/

jp0058 said...

Thanks for this! I'm only 5'4, but most of the cute dresses I find are way too short for my taste.

Clarissa said...

This turned out adorable. I also have this problem. Thanks for the tutorial. :)

Beka&Yel said...

Of a very beautiful congratulations on my last blog

AJ said...

This is so wonderful! I never thought I would be able to add on to a dress and have it look good but this really does look so cute! I need to try this on my entire wardrobe now! No more tossing clothes, woo!

Justine said...

Hey Katy! Wanted to let you know that I've given you a blog award because you rock!
Find it here:
http://kerraftycreations.blogspot.com/2011/08/sweet-blog-award.html

VerticalMiss said...

Thank you for this post! I'm really tall, so I struggle a lot with how short dresses are in stores...I can't wait to try this out!!!

Linda Z said...

That came out great! So cute!

It's not just you on the skirt lengths... they are just so immodest right now. I'm only 5'5" and it's hard to find a length I can actually bend over in. I usually just end up wearing them as tunics! :P

Emelie Sandström said...

I'm pushing 6'2, so this tutorial is great for me. Even though I come from a country where tall is pretty common (Sweden), the clothes and shoes seems to be designed for midgets. :( Thanks for sharing! ^^

MAL said...

I am 5'10 and I have this problem ALL THE TIME. This may take some practice but I think I can do it! I loved the maxi dress...it was my first solo sewing project and I love it! I get compliments on it all the time. Love your stuff!!!

Jamie said...

This is great! I am 5'10" I have trouble with dresses all the time! I just need to sharpen my sewing skills and try this out!

Ashley J said...

This is a great idea! I hate when I find a dress that is too short and this is the perfect fix!! I would love it if you would come link this up to my link party! http://mommybydaycrafterbynight.blogspot.com/2011/08/ta-da-tuesday-link-party-1.html

xoxo, Ashley J @ mommybydaycrafterbynight.blogspot.com

The Nummy Little Blog said...

This was brilliant! I love that you're my height as well. I'm so excited to fix some of my dresses now. I'm also a modest dresser, and have the same problem with length. You have a new follower!
I would love you to check out my blog if you ever need a recipe for something! Thanks again for all of your great sewing ideas!
-Jilly-
http://thenummylittleblog.blogspot.com/

Tori said...

I'm 5'9" also. Bless you for this - I often pass up cute things because I'm both too tall and too old to wear a skirt that barely covers my rear-end. Thank you for sharing your great ideas.

Caroline said...

That dress got even cuter with the black trim, very sophisticated.

Can i just tell you how nice it felt reading of someone else being tall (im ca 5,10) and how dresses are ALWAYS too short and therefore look skimpy. I did something like this myself recently but with a wide lace ribbon instead of fabric. Thank you for a great blog, youve got yoursel a new follower :)

Annika said...

I cant even begin to tell you how excited this makes me! I'm 5'11 and finding dresses and skirts is always difficult, I have a pile of dresses in my to-do basket that have just been waiting for me to find this tutorial!!

kelly marie said...

Great tutorial! I have the same problem with alot of dresses & skirts - I am 5'9 as well. I saw that you used a fabric roll cutter. What kind is that? I am brand new to using a sewing machine and would love if you could put together a list of quality items for a first time sewer to buy! Thank you!

Rebecca Grace said...

I know this is an older post, but I LOVE this idea! I'm an inch shorter than you are and when I was 18 and looked like a bean pole, I didn't mind that every skirt I owned was a mini skirt -- now that I'm 38, it's not such a flattering look any more, so I'm looking forward to trying this out.

You know, your dress looks fantastic the way it is, but if you have any of that navy blue fabric left it would be really cute to add a narrow binding at the neckline to match the banding you added to the skirt hem.

TreasuredGirl said...

Yaayyy! I'm 5'7 and now very happy! Thank you

Lisa said...

This is beautiful, I hope to try it sometime. Was the dress also silk, or is it ok to mix up fabrics?

pranita said...

Though i do this frequently to dresses, it's never as neatly done as yours! :D

f97bc23a-c1ed-11e1-b5f1-000bcdcb471e said...

Thanks so much for this! I have the same problem not because I'm tall but because all the dresses I seem to buy tend to be too short for my liking or too short to wear to work. I'm excited to try it!!

Bromeliad said...

Very smart. I like how you fit the ends together for a perfect size.

Chippy said...

I am going to have to try this. I recently bought a dress off ebay and it is ridiculously short - and I'm only 5' 2"!

I've just got to find some fabric that will go with the dress now.

Chippy

Lorraine Cornelius said...

This is great! I'm 6' need I say anymore ;)

Jane of All Trades said...

Thank you so much for posting this! It's a great tutorial! I too am 5'9" and I just ordered a bunch of new shift/work dresses from ebay, so I didn't get to try them on. They all said knee length, and unfortunately for us tall girls, that's often way off. So thank you! Off to the fabric store I go...

BlackDove69 said...

I am 5'10" and it seems that everything I love is always 4"-6" shorter than what I need! I am loving your blog and this is a wonderful tip and tutorial! My height is one of the reasons that decided to buy a sewing machine and to want to make clothes! I am like you... simplicity and ease... Thank you for so much inspiration!

Missy Kupka said...

I am about to do the same thing on a maxi dress I bought. LOVED it and just couldn't let it go... I also think the cool silk sari fabric border is going to add some interest as well. It's tough being 5'11 in a market full of items for "average" sized women. Thanks for the inspiration to just go and do it, I've been reading that you can't for a while now. Thanks!

Francine Johnson McGee said...

Beautiful Job! You got the color match spot on, and it looks fantastic on you.

My thought is if one were doing this to several dresses, you could change it up a bit and say cut 2 or 3 inches off the hem, insert the color block, and reattach the hem.


I love your blog, and your tutorials are very clear and well photographed, which is important to a visual learner, like me.

Keep up the good work! Fran

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...