Monday, November 8, 2010

Shortening a lined, linen dress

I can't quite remember at what thrift store I bought this dress, maybe the Goodwill in Evans, Georgia. I believe it was about $4.99. The first thing I noticed was the pockets and button down skirt. And I love the color! It actually zips up in the back. I thought it would be so pretty with a shorter hem.

You will need:

  • scissors
  • tailors chalk
  • tape measure
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread 

Start by marking where you want the new hem. Mark it with a pin. Below is what the lining of the dress originally looked like. Notice the polyester lining is sewn to the interfacing and is about an inch shorter than the linen.

Measure 1 1/4" from your pin and insert another pin. This is where you will cut the fabric. If you cut it at the original pin, your dress will be much shorter than you originally wanted. You are leaving enough fabric for the hem, called the seam allowance.
Measure from the bottom of the skirt to the second pin. On this dress is measures 18 1/2". Mark every few inches, all the way around, at 18 1/2" from the original hem. Cut linen.
Rip the seam out a few inches up where the lining was attached to the interfacing. Measure from the bottom of the lining 19 1/2" all the way around. Mark. Cut.
Find a thread that disappears when on the fabric. That is how you know you have the perfect color thread.
 Hem the lining using a double-folded hem. Press.

The original hem was an invisible seam. An invisible seam is sewn by hand or by machine. It is sewn mostly on the inside fold and only grabs a tiny bit of the outside fabric. but they are very difficult to sew by machine and I am lazy when it comes to invisible seams. I simple sewed a double-folded hem again, like the lining, paying very close attention to the front that meets up where the skirt buttons. If even 1/4" off, it is very noticeable. Pin the hem is you must so it is accurate.

Your dress is finished! A very simple alteration and look at the huge difference! I switched out the matching belt it came with for once that stood out a little more. This belt came with a pair of shorts I bought in Muskegon and wore in my blog post about Valueland.

These amazing boots were given to me by my mother. She found them at Goodwill for $5! They're Nine West! I'd been looking for a pair of cowboy boots for years and she sent them to me a few months ago in a box full of thrifted goodies. My mom is so great!
I opted to leave the shoulder pads in this dress. I think it gives the shoulders a great shape. Most 80s linen dresses with shoulder pads are terrible looking, but in this dress, I think it was a good idea to leave them.

(This dress is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.)

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  1. Love it! Great job - as always!
    I should have you come look through the toss bins at our shoppe - I bet you could make some amazing things from the things we send to goodwill.

  2. I love it~ you did a great job!! I ditto Shoppe's comments, I know you could do wonders! :)

  3. this is so super cute! I've seen hundreds of these dresses like this, but never knew how to 'update' them. :)

  4. Nice refashion! You too that dress from "homely" to "hip"!

  5. Thanks much for sharing. My DIL had a button-down dress that needed shortening and I wasn't sure how to approach it. Thanks to you it's now done!