Crafty Solutions: Lengthening a Hem

Finished dress with hem addition

 

SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A LITTLE CRAFTY SOLUTION TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR CLOTHING. SO BEFORE YOU THROW THAT GARMENT INTO THE CLOTHING BIN, THINK AGAIN – CAN YOUR CRAFTY TALENT GIVE IT A NEW LEASE OF LIFE? HERE’S MY LATEST CRAFTY SOLUTION.

By Judy Newman

 

Issue: This lovely lace dress was just a little too short for comfort. (Sorry – there’s no before picture – I didn’t think of it as something to share until I was halfway through the process!)

Problem: There was very little hem to let down.

Solution: I let the hem down to its full extent, then cut and joined a 5cm-wide strip of silk organza.

 

Crafty Solutions Add A Hem 1
Picture 1
Crafty Solutions Add a Hem 2
Picture 2
Crafty Solutions Add a Hem 3
Picture 3
Crafty Solutions Add a Hem 4
Picture 4
Step 1
A gathering stitch was run along one edge of the strip, then pulled up slightly to give a ruffle effect. No need for heirloom sewing here – the strip then just needed a zig-zag stitch to attach it to the bottom of the dress hem then another row of narrow zig-zag along the raw edge to prevent fraying. (Picture 1)
Step 2
Then I dug into my stash and found some cotton lace that had been in the drawer for about 10 years and stitched that over the stitching along the hemline. I just love finally using something that’s been sitting around for that long!! (Picture 2)
Step 3
Add another lace trim to the bottom edge of the organza. (Picture 3)
Step 4
Trim any loose threads and stand back and admire. (Picture 4)

 

Result: I think it looks lovely. Very pleased to have the dress back in action AND to have used up something from the cupboard… always a great way to justify buying more stuff.

Reward: A new lease of life for one little dress!

Share: If you have some crafty solutions, please share them. We’d love to hear about your clever fix ups, wardrobe renovations, or just good ideas.

 

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10 thoughts on “Lengthening a Hem”

  1. Love the use of attaching the organiza & lace to make it more wearable
    Just a thought maybe, add the lace to sleeve edge & neckline if you have enough to marry it all in

  2. I’ve lost 60kg and have another 20kg to go and didn’t want to spend a truck load on clothes, so I used the same principle as the lowered hemline with a raised bodice/decolletage.

    I added lace insets to raise the level as having lost so much weight everything seems to be just that little bit to revealing now!! Have saved a fortune by taking in side seams and adding lace to bodices.

    1. Wow! Tips like these are all really handy – thanks for sharing! And what a transformation for you – well done and all the best with reaching your goal.

  3. Thanks Judy for the informative ideas on lengthening a dress, sent today. An afterthought, I also don’t particularly like short sleeves any more, so with the same fabric which extended the hem of the dress,buy less than a metre more, and you could also cut sleeves to match – beautiful if it is in organza or silk fabric.

  4. Speaking of lace, you can turn a white t-shirt into a party outfit or art-to-wear by using the lace as a resist to spray dye.

    Lay the lace across your t-shirt and/or skirt length of fabric (for an elasticated skirt) in an interesting pattern (slip some cardboard or plastic between layers if you don’t want show-through to the back), spray with permanent spray dye, let dry, heat-set, and you have a matched set of top, skirt and embellishment lace for sleeve and skirt hems.

  5. I have been doing this type of thing for many years without realizing it was anything special, simply recycling as my mother and grandmother practiced it. I often buy plain t shirts very cheaply and decorate them with laces and beads from my extensive stash (from teaching craft for many years) and I always have people ask where I bought them.

    1. What a lovely compliment to get on your creativity! We bet they look gorgeous too. Recycling has always been around, but is making a very real comeback these days.

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