Having a dress that’s too long can be frustrating, especially if you need a quick fix for an event tonight. Luckily, there are some easy ways to temporarily shorten a dress when you’re in a time crunch.
If you need a fast solution, here are a few tricks: use fashion tape or pins to create a folded hem, tuck the extra length under or into a belt, or tie a knot at the waist or hip. Read on to learn these tips and more for temporarily taking up the length of a dress.
This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to temporarily shorten a long dress when you don’t have time to get it professionally altered. We’ll go over simple no-sew solutions using items you likely have at home, as well as quick sewing tricks that can help take in the length.
No-Sew Solutions for Temporary Hemming
Use Fashion Tape to Create a Folded Hem
For a quick and easy solution to temporarily shorten a long dress, fashion tape can be your best friend. Simply fold up the excess fabric to create the desired length and use fashion tape to secure the fold in place.
Fashion tape is a double-sided adhesive tape that is commonly used in the fashion industry to keep clothing in place. It is skin-safe and can easily be removed without damaging the fabric. This method is especially useful when you need to adjust the length of a dress on the go, such as for a special event or a night out.
Secure with Pins for a Quick Fix
If you don’t have fashion tape on hand, don’t worry! Another no-sew solution is to use pins to temporarily hem your dress. Start by folding up the excess fabric to the desired length and use small safety pins to secure the fold in place.
Be sure to use enough pins to keep the hem secure and prevent it from coming undone. This method works well for dresses made of lightweight fabrics, as the pins can easily hold the fabric in place without causing any damage.
Tuck in Extra Fabric with a Belt
If you want to add a stylish touch to your temporarily shortened dress, consider using a belt to tuck in the extra fabric. This works particularly well for dresses that have a bit of volume or a loose fit. Simply fold up the excess fabric and cinch it in with a belt around your waist.
This not only shortens the length of the dress but also creates a flattering silhouette. It’s a great way to transform a long dress into a more tailored and chic look.
Tie a Knot to Cinch Excess Length
If you’re looking for a more casual and playful way to temporarily shorten a long dress, try tying a knot at the bottom. This method works best for dresses that have a flowy or loose design. Start by gathering the excess fabric together and tie a knot at the desired length.
This creates a cute and trendy look while also making the dress more manageable for activities like walking or dancing. Just make sure to adjust the knot to a comfortable height that allows you to move freely.
Quick Sewing Tips for Taking Up a Dress Hem
When you find yourself with a long dress that needs to be temporarily shortened for a particular occasion, there are several quick and easy sewing techniques you can use. Whether you prefer hand sewing or using a sewing machine, these tips will help you achieve a perfectly temporary shortened hem.
Hand Sew a Basting Stitch
One of the simplest ways to temporarily shorten a long dress is by hand sewing a basting stitch. Start by trying on the dress and deciding how much you want to shorten it. Then, turn the dress inside out and fold up the excess fabric to the desired length.
To secure the fold, use a needle and thread to sew a basting stitch along the new hemline. This stitch will temporarily hold the fold in place, allowing you to easily remove it later if needed.
Use a Sewing Machine for a Straight Stitch Hem
If you have access to a sewing machine and want a more secure temporary hem, consider using a straight stitch. Similar to the hand-sewn basting stitch, try on the dress and determine the desired length.
Then, fold up the excess fabric and use the sewing machine to sew a straight stitch along the new hemline. This stitch will provide a stronger hold compared to hand sewing and is perfect for dresses with heavier fabrics or those that will undergo more movement.
Sew on Snaps, Buttons, or Hooks to Roll Up the Fabric
For a creative and versatile way to temporarily shorten a long dress, consider sewing on snaps, buttons, or hooks. Start by folding up the excess fabric to the desired length. Then, sew on the chosen fasteners along the new hemline.
This method allows you to easily roll up the fabric and secure it in place whenever you want a shorter dress. It’s a great option if you anticipate needing to adjust the length multiple times throughout the day or evening.
Add Ribbon Ties to Cinch and Hide Extra Length
If you want to not only temporarily shorten a long dress but also add a decorative touch, try adding ribbon ties. Start by folding up the excess fabric to the desired length. Then, sew on ribbon ties at strategic points along the new hemline.
These ties can be used to cinch the fabric and create a gathered effect, while also providing a way to secure the shortened length. Additionally, the ribbon ties can add a lovely detail to the dress, making it perfect for special occasions or events.
Remember, these sewing tips are meant to be temporary solutions for shortening a long dress. If you want a permanent alteration, it’s best to consult a professional tailor. However, with these quick sewing techniques, you can easily adjust the length of your dress to suit your needs for a specific occasion without any permanent changes.
Other Clever Tricks for Shortening a Dress
Aside from hemming, there are other clever tricks you can try to temporarily shorten a long dress and give it a fresh new look. These tricks can be especially helpful if you don’t want to permanently alter the length of your dress or if you’re in a hurry and need a quick fix.
Layer with Cropped Jackets or Boleros
One easy way to shorten a long dress is to layer it with a cropped jacket or bolero. This not only adds a stylish twist to your outfit but also helps to visually shorten the length of the dress. You can opt for a cropped denim jacket for a casual look or a bolero with lace detailing for a more elegant touch.
By strategically choosing the right jacket or bolero, you can create the illusion of a shorter dress without compromising its overall style.
Wear with High Heels
Another simple trick to temporarily shorten a long dress is to pair it with high heels. By wearing heels, you instantly elevate your height and create a longer leg line, which can make the dress appear shorter.
Opt for heels in a color that complements your dress and choose a style that you feel comfortable in. Not only will this trick give your dress a shorter appearance, but it will also add a touch of sophistication to your overall look.
Hem with Decorative Trims
If you’re feeling crafty, you can try hemming your dress with decorative trims to create a temporary shorter look. Choose a trim that complements the style and color of your dress, such as lace, ribbon, or fringe.
Simply measure and cut the trim to your desired length, and then sew it onto the bottom of the dress. This not only shortens the dress but also adds a unique and personalized touch. It’s a great way to showcase your creativity and give your dress a fresh new look.
Remember, these tricks are meant to be temporary solutions for shortening a long dress. If you want a more permanent alteration, it’s best to consult a professional tailor who can help you achieve the desired length without compromising the overall look and fit of the dress.
Taking up the hem of a too-long dress doesn’t require special skills or much time. With fashion tape, pins, belts, knots, quick sewing, and clever styling tricks, you can temporarily shorten a dress in a pinch. Experiment with these techniques to make any long dress the perfect length for an event.
And check with your local tailor if you decide you want to permanently alter the dress to a better fit.