I never have a problem of a skirt or dress going short on me – Don’t know why. Is it because I won’t grow anymore,and I am permanently short, like forever? Duh.
But the problem of skirts and dresses going shorter is a very often seen phenomenon in our home – due to the fact that I have two girls growing up. You cannot let beautiful skirts and dresses unworn just because they have rising hemlines. What do I have the sewing machine for?
Basically the solution is to add fabric below the hemlines. Checkout the 4 easy ways to lengthen the skirts/ dresses.
Wear a skirt extender slip underneath the dress or skirt
This is the best solution in my experience, especially for a fitting skirt or dress. Just make an extender slip, and you can wear it with any number of skirts and dresses.
Make slip – The skirt / dress extender slip is very easy to make. I have a tutorial to sew a half slip. Make this half slip.
Cut out lace fabric – Measure the length from your midthigh to the length you want the skirt hem to be at. This plus 1″ is the width of the lace you need for the skirt extender slip. Length – 2 * bottom hem of slip you have made
Make the half slip in a mid-thigh length, and then add a piece of gathered lace. Gather the lace piece to fit the bottom hem of the slip + 1″ (seam allowance). Start pinning this piece from the back of the slip. Then pin it all around the bottom edge and when you reach the starting again, overlap by 1/2 inch and pin. Unpin this area and join the lace pieces by stitching them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Stitch the lace to the skirt hem along the hemline.
This slip may not be useful with a flared skirt as it will look separate unless you make the slip also as flared.
Add a ruffled lace trim or fabric ruffles
For a gathered or flared skirt, adding a ruffled strip of fabric to the hem of the skirt or dress is the best solution.
Checkout the post on adding trims to your clothes for more details on how to attach the trims. Also on how to gather fabric
This is the easiest way to lengthen a dress or skirt
Add a band with the same fabric or a contrasting fabric
This refers to a folded band which is attached to the hem. It is attached the same way that we attach bias binding.
To make this band, you will need a piece of fabric that has a width double the extra length you need for the skirt/dress + 1″ seam allowance. Fold the fabric so that one side is 1/4 inch wider, just as we fold bias tape. First, attach the top edge, fold the piece and bring the other edge to the back. Top stitch ( ditch stitch) from the top so that you catch the other edge in the back.
This can be done in a single layer if you do not have enough fabric for a double fold. Though I feel double fold looks better than the single-layered band, if you make it in a complimenting color it can add to the beauty of a dress/ skirt.
Fabric band attached above hem
Sometimes you have a great hem, like a scalloped or embroidered one, that you do not want to sew on or cut off, but still, you can add length to this dress/ skirt.
The easy solution is to cut the garment some 4 inch up from the hem ( or however much is needed to preserve the hem intact) and add the extra piece of width is 1 inch + whatever extra length you need (which is sewn into a band by joining the short edges together) in between the cut edges, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. I would think a lace fabric would look excellent when sewn like this.
Checkout the 4 lace insertion techniques for adding lace strip in between fabric here.
Updated on January 4, 2023 by Sarina Tariq
Hi, great post. I go to the Kingdom Hall an wear dresses two to three times a week. You are correct, store bought dresses are getting shorter or way too long. I have added a 4” ruffle with trim. And I have used satin blanket binding. Your dress extender is something I will try next. Thankyou.
Really nice info