How to Shorten a Dress With a Curved Hem

Dresses with a curved hem usually offer a classy look. Different styles and lengths of dresses with a curved hem are there, and it may necessitate you to change the length to fit you well.

You may also feel the need to renovate an old dress is by making it short. The process is relatively easy, and you can do it by yourself. You need to ensure that you take the correct measurements and adjust them well.

However, not all curved hems are easy to navigate through. They will need a professional to come up with something elegant.

A curved hem can either be concave, which turns outwards, or convex, which moves inside. You want to sew them so that the edges do not wrinkle up and are neat.

For the process, you can follow various techniques. Your option depends on the type of curve you are dealing with, the finish you want, and your sewing techniques.

Are you wondering how to do it? This section got you covered. Read on!

How to Shorten a Dress With a Curved Hem?

how to shorten a dress with a curved hem

Put on the clothes you are looking toward shortening. Decide and measure the length you wish to remove and subtract 1/2 inch from it. This inch will cater to the new hem you will create.

Once you remove the dress, fold the lower part for the hem to line up with itself. Keep folding until you get a triangle shape on the lower side.

Measure the lengths you want to remove and mark them. Ensure that the hemline is still intact. Cut the bottom following the markings you have.

Fold the new hemline twice and pin it in place and sew by hand or a sewing machine.

Steps to Shorten a Dress With a Curved Hem

As mentioned above, the procedure is straightforward. It will work well if you know what you are doing and you take the correct measurements.

Otherwise, you may end up getting a rumpled hemline. Below is a step-by-step, detailed procedure on how you will achieve a neat hemline even after shortening it.

Step 1: Decide on Where You Want the New Hem to Be

decide on where you want the new hem to be

Of course, you cannot be operating without a goal. That’s why you need first to know how short you want the hemline to be.

For this reason, put on the dress and mark the point where you want the new hemline to reach.

You can also use another dress whose length is already at the point you want to measure the length easily. So, this will ensure you get a good result.

Step 2: Measure the Length

measure the length

After you know the length you want, measure the length of the whole dress. You need to keep the dress upright when measuring it, or you can place it on a flat surface to get its correct length.

Step 3: Measure and Mark the Length of the New Hem

Knowing how long the dress is will give you an idea of the length you need for the new hemline. Measure the length right from your waist to where you want the hem to be.

Mark this point with a pencil or a piece of chalk. Repeat the measurement all around the dress.

It would be best to have a friend to help you through since It’s hard to get the correct measurement when you have the dress on.

Step 4: Decide on the Hemline

Upon measuring, you now need to trace the new hemline of the dress. If you had the dress on when measuring, connect the marks you were making. So, this will be your new hemline.

If you were using another dress to measure, place it on top of your target dress and trace the short dress hemline. For the latter, ensure the two dresses are in line at the shoulders. The new hem will be of the same length as that of the shorter dress.

Step 5: Measure the Seam Allowance

Even though you have the new hemline, you need to cut the new hem an inch or a half lower than the actual measurement.

The reason being, you have to cover the raw edges. To perform this, you will need to overlap the fabric up.

Therefore, measure 1 inch from the chalk marking and make a new marking from the earlier one. It will be your seam allowance.

Step 6: Cut On the Second Chalk Marking

cut on the second chalk marking

Now, you should make the seam allowance to eliminate the excess fabric. Ensure you are careful since you need an even line. The cut should go onward the line you have.

Step 7: Fold the Fabric

Then fold the edge to the first line. Secure the fabric with pins. Fold about 1/2 inch of the fabric below, ensuring that the raw edges align with the first chalk marking.

Step 8: Sew the New Hem

Once the edges are secure, sew around the edges of the hem. Perform a straight stitch along the fold to keep the hem intact. Sew both fabric layers to ensure that the raw edge is secure to the dress lower side.

Do not forget to lift the pins while you sew. Sew all around and cut the excess thread. There you have your short dress!

How to Finish a Curved Hem of a Shortened Dress?

You can achieve this in several ways.

1. Serging

Here, you cross the raw end through a serger. You may opt to leave the edges that way after one hem. You can also fold it again and pass it through the serger again.

2. Make a Narrow Zigzag Hem

make a narrow zigzag hem

Fold the edge and make zigzag stitches to cover the fold. Trim the excess fabric once you finish going around the fabric.

3. Use Tape

You will cover the wrong side of the fabric and sew the raw edges.

4. Leave It That Way

If the fabric of your dress allows, you may leave it that way without finishing the raw edges. It may work well with polyester, leather, or mesh fabrics.

Tips to Ensure You Get the Best Results

How Easy Is It to Shorten a Dress?

how easy is it to shorten a dress

Shortening a curved hem may be a straightforward thing to some, and it’s quite tricky. Hemming may prove easy, especially when you are dealing with a dress that has a simple design.

The designs of some dresses may be hard to make a neat hem by yourself. A dress that comprises exquisite fabrics may be hard to shorten.

Even those that have beads or those that quickly flare out are hard to them. For such, you need a professional to do the work for you.

Iron the Hem Before Sewing

It will be best to iron the hem before sewing for a neat, flat, and straight hem. To do this, first, secure it with pins and remove a few pins as you iron the sections. Put the pins back once you finish ironing each section.

Ask for Assistance When Measuring

To get the measurements correct, you should ask for help from a friend. It is in the case where you need to put the dress on.

If you have a dress to refer to for the measurements, you align it with the long dress and get the measurements.

Can You Finish Sewing the Shortened Edge by Hand?

Yes! If the kind of fabric on the dress allows, you can opt to sew by hand. Hand sewing will produce a better finishing.

However, this option will consume much of your time. The whole process is still the same as sewing by a machine.

The sewing process is the only point where you incorporate your hands from measuring the fabric to cutting. It will help if you stay careful when you choose to use your hands to finish the edges.

Which Stitch Should You Use When Finishing?

An overlocker will work well for this. If you lack such, use the zigzag stitch to do away with the fraying on the edges. When using the zigzag stitch, fold the edge once, iron press it, and make a topstitch.

Where the curve gets steeper, you can narrow the hem. At such a point, the fabric may not bend the corner.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *