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How to Hem a Skirt Shorter


Women come in all shapes and sizes, which is why it can be hard to find a skirt that fits exactly right. Some skirts are too long, while others don’t fit around your curves right and look longer in the front or back. If you're in love with a skirt, but find that the hem is just too long in some places, you can still buy the skirt and hem it shorter at home. While you might think that sewing is relegated to only the most talented tailors and seamstresses, hemming your skirt is a simple task that can easily be done by beginners and pros alike.


Choosing the appropriate length

When you get home with your new skirt, put it on and take a few measurements so that you can hem it in exactly the right location. As you hem your skirt shorter, keep in mind some of the basic rules about hemming skirts:


  • First, hems should fall at the ankles or just above or below the knee.


  • You should never hem your skirt to mid-calf or mid-thigh since it will look awkward and may make your legs appear shorter. This could mean that you will have to remove several inches from your skirt, but at least you will hem it to an appropriate length.


Next, grab a yardstick and mark your new hem line all the way around. It helps to make several markings in the front, back and on the sides of your skirt. You can mark your new hem using tailor’s chalk, a marking pencil or even a few straight pins.


Fold and press

Now, remove the skirt and lay it out on your table. You will need to fold and press your hem all the way around. Don’t be surprised if your hem is longer or shorter in the front than it is in the back. Often, the natural figure of a woman means that the length of a skirt or dress won’t be exactly the same in the front as it is in the back. If you need to, rip out and unroll the existing hem to help give the new hem the proper shape. If you're shortening the hem by several inches, you may even wish to cut off some of the excess material. Just remember to leave plenty of material to roll your hem twice before stitching it down.


Stitch it securely

Once you have your hem measured and pressed, it's time to stitch it in place. Your hem should be stitched evenly all the way around the bottom of your skirt, even if the skirt itself is a different length in the front and the back. To ensure a straight hem, enlist the help of a seam gauge to make sure that you rolled your new hem to the same width all the way around. Then, use the seam guides on your sewing machine to help you get the stitching perfect on your entire skirt. Keep the right side out facing you, so that you can keep an eye on the topstitching as you work your way around, catching any errors quickly. If you measured your hem right, the stitching should catch all of the fabric underneath with ease.



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