What do you do when the dress you bought your daughter is now too short? With a little creativity and a little sewing skill, you can do a lot. Recently, I bought two cute shift dresses for my daughter from Tommy Hilfiger. I loved their classic styling and not-so-grown up-yet design, so didn’t hesitate to scoop them up. Unfortunately, she grew, as kids will do, and the dresses became a little too short in my estimation. So what to do? I didn’t want to put them away. It is often so difficult to find nice classic styles for tweens.
Finally, I decided to put an extension on the dress, but I did not want it too look like an extension, if you know what I mean. I came up with two different methods, and I’m really happy with the results. This is something that you could do too, if you should ever be in the situation where a dress needs to be lengthened. These hem finishes would also be cute as a design feature on any dress made from scratch.
For the first dress, I chose a coordinating colour of 100 percent cotton broadcloth that I had in my cupboard. I cut two pieces that were 3x the bottom hem of both the front and back and the desired length I needed to make the dress of decent length again. I sewed the two pieces together at the side seams and then hemmed the bottom. Next, I pleated the pieces with even pleating to the width of the bottom hem. I pressed the pleats, and pinned them in place. Next, I basted the pleats in place by running a line of stitching along the top and removed the pins.
This is what it looked like when I was finished basting.
Then, I pinned and sewed the pleated attachment to the bottom hem of the dress, right sides together. I finished the raw edge with the serger.
Here is what the dress looked like in the end. I’m happy because the life of the dress is extended a little bit more!
For the second dress, I used some navy raw silk from Telio that I had picked up for another project. Because, that material was a little more precious (i.e. expensive), I decided to use box pleats instead because it took much less fabric. Here is the navy too-short dress.
Here is the piece of silk I found in my cupboard
To make the box pleats, I simply decided on how large I wanted the pleats to be, and multiplied the extra fabric I needed by 3 for the front of the dress, and repeated the calculation for the back of the dress. That gave me 3 pleats in the front and 3 pleats in the back. I chose to evenly space my pleats. Here they are pinned together. The next steps I followed were similar to those taken with the other dress, hemming the piece, pinning, basting, attachment to bottom hem, and finishing raw edges.
And voila, a new hemline! This is later photo, after a few washes, and a bit wrinkled, but shows that the extension has passed the test of wear by a young girl.
While this is not an extensive tutorial, I may work on one in a future blog post. What do you think?