Step by step illustrated instructions and tutorial on how to hem a prom dress, a wedding dress, formal or evening gown.
This beautiful dress is about 5 inches too long for the gal who will be wearing it, too long even to fix with a tall pair of heels. Let’s go through the steps to shortening a formal, prom or wedding dress complete with delicate fabrics and numerous flowing layers.
The back of this dress is designed to be longer than the front, we decided to make the length even all around, which is easy to achieve. The original hem is a rolled hem, I plan to used the same technique for the new hem as well.
While she was wearing the dress and the shoes she will be wearing with the dress, I marked exactly how long she wants the finished length to be with safety pins. I like using safety pins because they stay exactly where you put them, they don’t fall out and leave you guessing and they’re way less likely to stab the person inside the dress.
There are 4 layers to this dress, and a slit in the front to work with. Each layer should be trimmed to length separately. Due to the delicacy of the fabric, I didn’t use any pins that would leave snags or holes, instead I tied up the other 3 layers and hung them out of the way, from the neck of the dress form with a spare, thin piece of fabric I had laying around.
I started cutting at the slit in the front, working my way around the dress. Based on my safety pin markings (at exactly where I wanted the final hem to be) I left 1/4 of an inch of fabric below the pin. One quarter of an inch is all the excess fabric I need for a rolled hem. I measured the distance off the floor too, to double check length, in case my marks weren’t exact.
Hint: When trimming, leave the back of the dress slightly longer to allow for curvy bottoms. In this case, slightly longer is better than too short in the finished dress.
All of the layers cut to new length.
All of the layers have been cut to 1/4 of an inch longer than the final length. From the trimmings, you can see more fabric was taken off the back because of the added back length in the original hem.
Problem: The beaded bodice of this dress snags everything it touches, is extremely heavy and beautiful and I don’t want it anywhere near the fragile fabric on the bottom of the dress or the floor or anything else…
Solution: A cardigan or shirt to cover the beadwork, buttoned up and pinned in place at the shoulders.
On a delicate setting on the iron, I pressed the hem in about 1/8 of an inch.
Repeat for all layers.
Check your needle before sewing and make sure it’s very sharp and made for delicate fabrics. Carefully roll the fabric over your iron line and sew right down the middle of the doubled over hem, unfinished edge hidden in the middle of the hem.
Check to make sure that the bottom hems of the front slit match up. In most case no one will ever look at a hem, but areas like a slit draw the eye and you want to make sure both sides of the slit match up to each other.
You’re all finished, now you know how to hem a prom dress AND you’re ready for the big night of fun and frolic!
Thanks for following along friends, if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask- I love hearing from you!