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Topic: Hemming help!  (Read 573 times)
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« on: July 16, 2008 12:46:26 PM »

I got this Vera Wang dress on sale at Kohl's ($15!) and couldn't pass up its beautiful fabric and details. However, it's a little long on me, and I'm not sure if the tent-dress style (especially combined with the extra length) is very flattering on my petite frame. I'd like to hem it to make it into a (modest Roll Eyes) mini-dress, but I've never tried to hem something like this before. Also, there are some nice pleats at the bottom of the dress (some in the back that you can't see in the picture also) that I'd like to salvage if at all possible. I don't feel too bad chopping it up since I got it cheap, but I'd like to do it justice - after all, I'm hoping to wear it to a few weddings this summer!

(Please ignore the hokey picture - it's the only one I could find online of the dress Cheesy.)

Faith and begorrah...
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2008 04:14:52 PM »

Argh.  My first reaction is it's too pretty for me to think of hacking at even if it was cheap.  Plus, I'm awful at hems.  My advice would be to use the cheap price as reason to be able to spend another $20 to take it to a tailor.  Make sure they're good though and do nice stitching.

I had an old Italian guy I would go to for stuff like that.  He was cheap and opinionated.  I once wanted him to hem a bridesmaids dress for me into something to wear again.  I wanted it a certain length.  He disagreed and suggested another length.  He was a genius, it looked perfect.

A state of confusion is unpleasant, but a state of certainty is ridiculous.  - Voltaire.
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2008 07:46:11 AM »

Depends on how much you would be removing, but if it's more than 4 inches I might say take it to a pro as well- thin shiny fabrics like that show up errors like giant neon signs. That said, I'd do it myself by hand.

Get perfectly matched thread a small very sharp needle. Practice doing a hem stitch on some scrap fabric untill you are happy. (You'll have to google it for a picture but it isn't hard. There are several varieties of hem stitches, just find the right one for you).

Have someone else mark the hem length for you- don't just guess off your body or try wearing it & bending over repeatedly to mark in the mirror. They don't have to sew, just be able to not stab you. Just mark it once in front & back.

Take off the dress. Use a ruler & see if your front & back lengths are the same (HA! they will not be) use whichever length will be longer on you, use the ruler to mark all the way around the dress. PRESS THOROUGHLY. Seriously, pressing before stitching makes a world of difference in your hem.** (see below)

If you are folding up the hem more than 1 1/2", tuck the excess in or trim it off. If you trim, the raw edge needs to be pressed under & finished as well.

Stitch the hem. Take your time. Make your stitches as tiny as possible.

Yay! Beautiful hem!

Those tucks at the bottom are slighty problematic, but not too much Smiley

I'd turn the dress inside out after the hem length marking phase** and stitch the tucks up past their current stopping point. Measure how far above the current hem they go & run your tucks to the same distance past your new hem level. Continue hemming as described above.
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