Category Archives: sewing

hem prom dress, wedding dress, formal gown

how-to-hem-a-prom-dress-1

Step by step illustrated instructions and tutorial on how to hem a prom dress, a wedding dress, formal or evening gown.

how to hem a prom dressThis 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.

Here are easy to follow instructions on how to hem a prom dress:
how to hem a prom dress

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.

how to hem a prom dress

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.

how to hem a prom 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.

how to hem a prom dress

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.

how to hem a prom dressLayer by layer, I cut off the excess fabric.  Following the different lengths of the original hems- the inside layers are shorter and layers on the outside are slightly longer.
how to hem a prom dress

All of the layers cut to new length.

how to hem a prom dressAll 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.
how to hem a prom dressProblem:   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…
how to hem a prom dressSolution: A cardigan or shirt to cover the beadwork, buttoned up and pinned in place at the shoulders.
how to hem a prom dress

On a delicate setting on the iron, I pressed the hem in about 1/8 of an inch.

how to hem a prom dressRepeat for all layers.
how to hem a prom dressCheck 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.
how to hem a prom dressCheck 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.
how to hem a prom dress

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!

How to fix a hole in jeans

how to fix a hole in jeansWhat do you do when your favorite pair of jeans rips out in the knee, pocket or hip area or even worse- when your new, expensive jeans gets randomly snagged and torn on a sharp object?
how to fix a hole in jeansWho wants to retire a favorite pair of jeans for such a small reason? No need- they’re easily fixed and saved from retirement. It’s simple- learn how to fix a hole in jeans- from start to finish in about 15 minutes.

For an excellent patch that will last, you will need: iron on patch kit, iron and a sewing machine.

how to fix a hole in jeans

How to fix a hole in jeans:how to fix a hole in pantsIron on patches are the best place to start. This is my tried and true method for patching pants- anywhere you have a hole.

You can find these patches online, at any fabric store like Joann’s and even Walmart.

how to fix a hole in jeansI’m going to use a big patch for this hole and trim it into a narrow rectangle with about an inch of overlap on all sides of the hole.

how to fix a hole in jeansWhen trimming down the patch make sure to round the corners of the iron on patch.

how to fix a hole in jeansNow the patch is all ready to be placed on the inside of the pants, over the hole and ironed in.

how to fix a hole in jeansHeat iron for 5 minutes on the “Cotton” setting (follow the temperature directions on the patch package) Turn the pants inside out and center the patch, iron-on side down. If the patch will be covering a hole, place a piece of paper underneath hole before applying the patch.

how to fix a hole in jeansHint: For patching an area near the pocket, pin the pocket up and out of the way or it can easily get stuck and ironed into the patching area.

how to fix a hole in jeansWorking on a firm, protected surface, preheat the worn area with iron. Position patch shiny side down. Press firmly for 40 – 45 seconds. Finish by pressing around the edges.

how to fix a hole in jeansLet the fabric and new patch cool, check bond. Press again if necessary. Turn the jeans right side out and repeat.

how to fix a hole in jeansIf fibers are left hanging out over the hole you can choose to leave them and sew them into the patch area or trim them off. In this case, I trimmed off the threads.

how to fix a hole in jeansTo really secure the patch stays in place you must sew it into place. After patching many pants in many places on the pants, I’ve found that without sewing the patch in place it will definitely start to peel up on the corners after a few washes.

how to fix a hole in jeansPick a thread color that matches the color of the denim.

how to fix a hole in jeansMany sewing machines have a removable platform or bed extension. If possible, remove this section when working with pants.

how to fix a hole in jeansWith a smaller machine bed area ready, you’re ready to sew.

how to fix a hole in jeansIf your patch is anywhere near the pocket,  once again pin it up and out of the way or it’s likely to inadvertently get sewn into the patch area.

how to fix a hole in jeansWith a large zig zag stitch, sew across the torn area.

how to fix a hole in jeansSew back and forth across the tear area (with the patch underneath) a few times with the zig zag stitch.

how to fix a hole in jeansThis is what the inside of the patch will look like at this point.

how to fix a hole in jeansNow turn the pants all the way inside out. With a straight stitch, sew around the perimeter of the patch, about 1/4 of an inch in from the edge of the patch. This will reinforce the adhesive on the edge.

how to fix a hole in jeansAll sewn into place, you should be able to wash these pants over and over and the patch won’t begin to peel on the edges or completely come off.

how to fix a hole in jeans On the front side, it’s nearly impossible to see the stitching on the edge of the patch.  With a zig zag stitch sew around the hole again to reinforce the patch and the fabric around it.

how to fix a hole in jeansAnd you’re all finished, the hole in your jeans is fixed and ready to wear again!

Thanks for following along, comment if you have any suggestions, success stories other techniques to share.

Altering a jumpsuit

Recently I was asked to alter a jumpsuit for some women from a pie baking company.  They always wear jumpsuits to protect their clothing from the messy job of baking. She had found Berne jumpsuits to be the closest fitting for women, but they still needed alterations to look more girly and less boxy. Here’s the original jumpsuit, designed for a man:

mens-jumpsuit-front-altering-a-jumpsuit

mens-jump-suit-back-altering-a-jumpsuit

We decided to take width out in the chest area, taper the legs and shorten the leg length. Here are the step by step instructions on altering a jumpsuit.

Steps to altering a jumpsuit:

altering a jumpsuit

We started with the chest area. The armpit seam is the easiest place to begin when altering a jumpsuit or a shirt. While the jumpsuit was on the wearer, we marked with safety pins which areas needed taking in and how much. Make sure to have the wearer move around to make sure they can still move comfortably after the changes have been made. I’ve found that safety pins work better than straight pins when marking because they won’t fall out when the garment is being taken off- unmarking your place and they won’t stick into the wearer either.

altering a jumpsuit

Once the markings have been made, use a ruler and chalk to mark the exact amount to be taken in. I measured in at least 3 places in this case- by the sleeve, the armpit and just above the waist.

altering a jumpsuit

Take note of the measurements- you will need them to mark the other side of the jumpsuit and when you turn the jumpsuit inside out and remark where the actual sewing and trimming will take place.

altering a jumpsuit

altering a jumpsuit

Once you have taken note of the measurements, remove all of the safety pins.

altering a jumpsuit

Turn the jumpsuit inside out and re-mark with the chalk the previous measurements and where the side seam will be taken in. Do this on both sides of the jumpsuit.

altering-a-jumpsuit-3

Once the markings have been made, flatten out the front and back sides of the jumpsuit to make sure the existing seams are flat and to avoid any puckering as sewn, then pin along the chalk line to be stitched.

altering a jumpsuit

Follow the chalk line removing the pins before you sew over them (sewing over pins in very bad for sewing machines!)

Tip: It’s more important to sew in a nice straight line than it is to follow the chalk lines exactly.

altering a jumpsuit

When you are satisfied that the new side seam is exactly where you want it, trim away the excess fabric, cut so that you leave about 1/4 of an inch of fabric from the new seam.

altering a jumpsuit

If you have a serger, it’s a good idea to serge the new seam to reinforce it and avoid fraying when the jumpsuit is washed.

altering a jumpsuit

If you don’t have a serger, use a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine to finish off the new seam.

Tapering the legs at the side seam

altering a jumpsuitWe marked (also with safety pins) where we wanted the leg width to be at the ankle and also the final hem length.
altering a jumpsuit

We marked with a safety pin, close to the ankle, where we wanted the pants leg to be tapered. Using the measurement that we took on the outside, we turned the jumpsuit inside out and marked that measurement on the inside of the leg in roughly the same spot.

altering a jumpsuit

Using chalk and a ruler, place the top of the ruler at the bottom of the pocket at the existing seam and the bottom of the ruler to the marking you made closer to the bottom of the leg and draw a straight line down.

altering a jumpsuit

Mark on both sides and pin to hold in the layers in place while you sew.

altering a jumpsuit

Sew along the chalk lines, removing the pins right before you get to them.

altering a jumpsuit

Trim off the excess fabric, and serge or zig zag the new edges.

Shortening the leg length

altering a jumpsuit

Move the safety pin marking to the inside of the leg, and mark with a chalk line. In this case, the chalk line represents what we want the the final, finished length to be. Cut the excess length off, leaving 2 inches of fabric below the finish line.
altering a jumpsuit

Remove the safety pin and fold the raw edge over 1/4 of an inch, press flat with an iron.
altering a jumpsuit

Now fold the fabric over again until the edge lines up with your final length chalk line. Press flat with an iron and pin into place.

altering a jumpsuit

Sew around the bottom of the pant legs. The raw edge is hidden leaving a nicely finished edge.  Turn the garment right side out and it’s all finished!

Thanks for following along, if you have any questions or comments please pass them on, I would love feedback on this tutorial. Cheers!