More Hemline Solutions

Often times a special occasion dress is made which involves much time as well as expense and is worn only a few times.  Little girls tend to outgrow the length of the dress before the width.  With a little planning the dress can be lengthened and another year or so of wear can be had.

When a hem is taken out, most often the crease line remains visible – not appealing on a beautiful heirloom dress.  Since most of the time only a couple inches of length need to be added, a great solution is to cut the dress off at the crease, add a row of beading or insertion, and then you can add the cut off section of hem below the insertion and finish the lower edge with a lace trim or you can add a width of eyelet that compliments the insertion/beading and the remainder of the dress.  The goal is to make it look like a plan.  You may need to cut a bit more of the skirt length off, depending on what you add to the bottom of the dress.  Of course, if you plan ahead when you first make the dress, you can set aside extra trims that you’ve already used in the dress for lengthening later on.

While these pictures are dresses that were not specifically lengthened, they are good examples of how you could lengthen a too short dress.

IMG_7061 IMG_7059


If you’ve used a floral print for the heirloom dress, the floral fabrics between the added on lace is a pretty choice as well.



Of course, a beautiful lace fancy band is always a wonderful choice!


Just a few more ideas.


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Ribbon and lace offer a slightly more cost effective solution.



If you are reading this and thinking that this is way out of your sewing comfort zone, or if you’d love to learn how to do this type of heirloom sewing (it is MUCH easier than you think!), I would encourage you to consider giving yourself a gift of a sewing vacation and sign up for some classes.  The Smocking Arts Guild of America will be having their convention on Sept. 17-21 in Orlando, FL.  It will be a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills with some of the best teachers available in the country!  There will be hand sewing, embroidery and machine sewing taught at every level from beginner to advanced, so there’s something for everyone!  Check out the brochure to see all the beautiful offerings.

SAGA convention 2014

If you have any questions about the convention, please feel free to contact me.  I’m looking forward to a wonderful time in Orlando!!!

Happy Stitching,


8 thoughts on “More Hemline Solutions

  1. Liz Garland

    Hi Kathy,
    I made my granddaughter a dress with a flared skirt that I finished with a scalloped hem. She is growing like a weed and I need to lengthen it. Any ideas? Was thinking of adding a row of white scallops under the turquoise scallops. What do you think?
    Thanks, Liz

    1. Kathy Post author

      Hi Liz – my goodness, I know I left a reply somewhere. ??? Yes, I do think that you could add a row of white scallops under the turquoise scallops. Alternately, you could add a straight hem underneath the scallops and if you keep the scallops loose/free from the contrast hem, it would look pretty and have some dimension. If you straight stitch the contrast hem (scalloped or straight) a bit above the first hem with scallops, you can add a ribbon trim on top of the straight stitching to cover it up. That tends to make it look like a design element rather than a hem lengthening situation. Lots of different ideas – play around with it and I’m sure you’ll come up with a perfect solution!

  2. designdreamer

    Love everything you do Kathy!
    Don’t even know where to start. I am wondering about the “white with birds twirl dress”.
    Do I understand correctly that you drafted this pattern? Also, what type of fabric did you use? And did you create the smocking design?

    1. Kathy Post author

      Thank you for your compliment! Yes, I did design and draft this pattern. I used white pique (Fabric Finders pique) for the dress and Imperial broadcloth for the smocked yoke with gingham (more Fabric Finders) for the accent trims. You can get the gingham with matching spaghetti bias from Saves so much time if you don’t have to make the spaghetti bias yourself. 😀

  3. Ann Michel

    Kathy, I saw your beautiful “White Waves” smocked sundress in SB issue 140. My daughter-in-law wants that dress for her daughter’s First Communion in May of 2016. My question is, what changes did you make in the top to add the sleeves to the sundress?
    Is there a pattern change? What sleeve pattern did you use? I’m new at changing pattern design.
    If you could please help. I started on the the smocking for now.
    Thank you, and God bless.


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