Skinny Hem: Taking in a dress, fast

Working and clothes shopping are mutually exclusive, unless you shop online, which I do, frequently.  So frequently in fact that I have my credit card number, expiration, and security code memorized.  It’s shameful, I know, but I’m obsessed with receiving things in the mail.  The excitement of coming home to find that present waiting for me on my porch is irresistible, and I justify it of course by rationalizing that I work hard and deserve to spend some of the fruits of my labor on, well, ME!  

The trouble with shopping for clothes online, obviously, is that you can’t try anything on.  Most often I solve this problem by purchasing clothes from retailers that offer free shipping and free returns.  But sometimes it’s just too much of a hassle to return that new dress that doesn’t fit quite right.  Dresses are the worst because they need to fit your entire frame, not just the top or bottom.  But I have yet to learn my lesson or curb my addiction.

dress-hem-5-of-5 Most recently I bought a ponte knit shift dress from Nordstrom (my worst addiction) that was too big all around.  One quick YouTube lesson later, and I felt confident enough to tailor the thing myself.  Hubris is a beautiful thing.  I started by slipping the dress on inside out and pinning it up the sides so it fit my frame.  Using chalk, I drew a line where I wanted to take it in, measuring it to make both sides even, and then replaced the pins to make room for the needle.  Using a tight stitch I sewed along my chalk line, then removed the old seam with a seam ripper.  I then trimmed back the excess with pinking shears and ran the edges though my sewing machine using a zig zag stitch so the edges wouldn’t fray (a surger would have been helpful here but I don’t have one, yet).  Finally I ironed the edges along the new seam to flatten the seam, and finished.  The whole process took me about 2 hours.

As you can see, my edges look like amateur hour but nobody can see those.  The dress itself now fits like it was made just for me, and I avoided once again having to explain to my husband why I need to return something I just bought.


  1. Such a pretty dress! You made it sound so easy to take in and never seize to amaze me. You rock.

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