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Topic: Newbie w/?'s about dress  (Read 963 times)
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fabfairhope
« on: October 02, 2005 10:16:39 PM »

So I just won this great dress on ebay...bought it to wear to a wedding....but it's floor length.  As a mom of 3 I never have an opportunity to go anywhere that requires a floor length gown, so I thought it looked like it'd be simple enough to just shorten - say to just below my knees or right at the bottom of my knees - would that be called "tea length"Huh  Huh.  And I may have to take it in a little on the sides.   It's got 2 layers to it...the top layer with the pattern on it has a slit.  The material is polyester.

I've only sewn a few things, very minor hem fixes, a couple of tablecloths, stuff like that.  Roll Eyes  So ?'s are:
1 - Does this look pretty easy to shorten/hem?
2 - Could I use the leftover fabric to make a matching purse?  or does that require bunches of fabric?

Here's the dress: 

Thanks for any advice you guys can provide!
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2005 10:36:03 PM »

It's gorgeous! Are you sure you want to shorten it? I think the length you want is called "cocktail length" & there would be stacks left for a clutch. As for the hemming, I'll let someone with more expertise help you with that!
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fabfairhope
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2005 10:48:25 PM »

thanks...yeah, gorgeous is what popped into my mind when i saw it!!  And yeah, I think shortening it is in order here...I'd feel waaaayyyy out of place if I went somewhere in it if i keep it full length, too much of a formal feel.  Plus I'm not exactly skinny, hahaha, and just don't think I could pull it off...before I had 3 kids and grew to be the size I am now I looked great in lots of styles...I'm 5'10" & used to be all legs!  But now I've got a butt and tummy that overshadow those legs!!!  So the shorter length dresses work better, but not above the knee.  Put me in something ankle or floor length & i just feel like I'm in a nightgown or a mumu.  And you're right - cocktail length is what I was trying to say.  I'm thinking if I make a purse that I could add some black & ivory beading to jazz it up a bit.  Thanks for "naming" that length I couldn't think of!!   Roll Eyes
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Kiwimonkey
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2005 12:07:15 AM »

That is a beautiful dress! I can't wuite picture how it will look shorter, but I'm sure it will be fantastic!

It shouldn't be too difficult to shorten in either.  The simple answer for a "how-to" would be to determine the length you want it to be. Cut it off about 1 to 2 inches longer than that. Turn under and under again (to hide the raw edges) and then sew.
The pieces of fabric cut off would be enough to make a clutch, or probably even a small hand bag.
As for taking it in, I"m not qualified to offer any advice there.

Also, just for future reference, tea-length is generally about mid-calf length (or at least that's what I've always heard/thought)  and cocktail length is right around the crease of the knee (give or take a few inches).


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rumrasin033003
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2005 01:28:13 AM »

If you are nervous about doing it yourself, you could probably find someone to alter it, might cost you a bit, but look at dry cleaning places, bridal shops, or you could look through the yellow pages. I'd call around for a good price.
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2005 01:40:25 AM »

If you are nervous about doing it yourself, you could probably find someone to alter it, might cost you a bit, but look at dry cleaning places, bridal shops, or you could look through the yellow pages. I'd call around for a good price.

I reckon this is your best bet too!  Smiley
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LRS
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2005 08:40:39 AM »

If you do want to take it in yourself, put it on inside out and get someone to pin the side seams about where you think you want them.  Then try it on rightside out and see if you've got it. 

Many people, when they start to do alterations, make things too snug.  It should be an inch or two wider than you are.  If you have a dress that fits well, measure that dress and use it as a guide to altering this one. 

Be sure that your alterations don't start and end abruptly.  You've got to taper back to the original seam.  You may find that if you take a bit off each side, you need to continue right down to the hem to get a smooth line.  And don't forget that if you take an extra 1/2", you're bringing the width in by a total of 2".  (On each side seam, you're taking 1/2" out of the front and the back and you're doing that again on the other side.)

Great dress!

LRS
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2005 05:52:47 PM »

ok i can't really add anything, except to say SHAZAAM!  that dress is HOT!  you have great taste!
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fabfairhope
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2005 06:42:33 AM »

Thanks everyone....I think my MIL is going to help me out with this...she's the daughter of a seamstress & has lived her entire life either making her own clothes or altering them in some way.  I was hesitant about asking her about it because she's still working on her house (after hurricane Katrina) and just didn't want to give her another thing to do, but when I was telling her about the dress & my plans she mentioned that she'd love to help me with it - said she needs a break from ripping out and replacing sheetrock, etc. & would love to have a sewing project to work on.  Soooo I'm pretty relieved that I won't be attempting all of this on my own on such a great dress! 

LRS - thanks for all of that detailed info!  I printed it out so I can refer to it as I go.

I'm going to the fabric store today to see if I can find some ivory semi-poofy stuff (no clue what it's called - tulle maybe?) to make a sort of crenilin...I'm wondering if maybe just one layer of that stuff would help it stand out from my body a teensy bit and would look pretty peeking out from underneath?  I think what I'll do is buy it and when I have the dress pinned up to the length I want, then tack some of the tulle or whatever to it and see what it looks like...but then I guess I'd have to give the dress a "waist"...in order to have somewhere to attach the crenilin....hmmmmm.  Maybe not!!  hahaa  my brain's in overdrive about this thing...the more I think about it, the more I totally change the dress in my mind...I'd better stop.  Don't quite have the skills to go with all of the ideas....hahaha. Tongue
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LRS
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2005 06:57:01 AM »

Glad I could help. I have another suggestion.

You don't have to attach your crinoline to the dress.  Make it up like a half slip, with an elastic waist. Easiest is to buy a half slip - or use one that you have, maybe that's too short.  Attach the tulle ruffle from about mid thigh.  For a moderate "poof", make it about half again as wide as the bottom width of the dress.  If you make the whole thing, make the waist to mid thigh section from a poly/stretch fabric - like slips are made from. 

LRS
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