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Shorten Your Clothes WIthout Hemming!

Updated on November 24, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Hate To Hem? Shorten Your Clothes The Easy Way With Ruching!

I bought a very pretty sundress in my favorite color this Spring. I couldn't wait to wear it, but alas when I tried it on, it was a floor-duster! I'm quite short, just 5'2" and a lot of things I buy are way too long for me.

Add to that the fact that I hate hemming with a passion. Trouble is I'm a perfectionist and I'm never satisfied with how my own hems come out. Now I wasn't about to return this perfect dress, so what was I going to do? It hung on the back of my bedroom door for weeks, waiting on inspiration to come out of the air.

While I was fooling with looking at window valances one day, the idea finally arrived! Why couldn't I do a series of gather lines to pull up the hemline?

So I found some pretty gold metallic thread and figured out how to do it. It was SO easy, required no measuring tapes, pins or other sewing paraphernalia... just a needle and thread. Once I got started, the entire dress was finished in less than an hour. With my arthritic hands, it would have taken me hours to hem this dress the traditional way.

Within another couple of hours, I had shortened two other items that were in my to-hem basket!

I don't know why this never occurred to me before, because I've added several items with ruching to my wardrobe over the last year. Well, I guarantee you it will be my first go-to method from now on. Maybe it will help you clear out that hemming basket too!

What You Will Need

Chosen color of Kreinik or other pretty but strong thread

Sewing needle

How I Did It

I admit it, I'm a lazy seamstress. I hate measuring, pinning, basting... I just want to get right to it. (m'I bad?)

The dress featured in this lens was about 5 inches too long with a very full flowing hemline.

I decided I wanted the dress to have five scallops in front, including the side seams, and for the back to look the same. I began by experimenting with the side seams first. I knew I wanted to gather it but not too tightly, and that I needed five inches shortened. I decided to go with a 10-inch ruche. I tacked the thread 10" from the hem and ran a hand basted line straight into the side seam, with stitches about 1/4" apart. Pulled the thread to gather, tacked down in place, and DONE. It looked perfect!

After doing the other side seam, I was going to have to do straight ruche lines across the front and back of the dress. Without a T-Square, pins, marking pencils, or any other objects, I figured out a way to do perfect consistent ruche lines where I needed them. How? By using the one measuring tool that wouldn't slip or change... my hand and wrist!

I noticed there was a straight line where my watchband laid across my wrist. If I put my hand against the fabric, with the watchband aligned straight with the hem, the tip of my middle finger landed about as long as I wanted the ruche line to be! So I'd line it all up, do a tack where my finger landed, and begin sewing my line down toward the hem.

Now of course it would be no big deal at that point to do some pencil dot guidelines on the fabric if you wish. I didn't, but you sure could!

The lines sewed up in no time, and I added a few gold thread embroidery accents at the upper end of the dress to add consistency and make my thread choice make sense. Tried it on, and the length was exactly where I needed it to be!

What Do You Think Of This Idea? - Come On, You Can Tell Me!

Would you try adding ruching to shorten a hemline?

See results

Look at it this way... if you don't like the way it turns out, it's so fast and easy to change it or remove the line of thread that you won't be worried about trying!

Pretty Sundress Chiffon Cover-Ups On eBay! - I Own Several Of These!

It's a great seller, overseas so delivery does take a few weeks... but very reliable. These scarves are absolutely gorgeous and feel incredible! Just toss on over your head and go! Hand wash, hang dry, and you're good to go. LOVE these!!! I get a compliment every time I wear one!

Please Sew Your Name In My Guestbook! - Kidding, Just Signing Is Fine!

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    • SheilaSchnauzies profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @anonymous: Thanks so much, I'm thrilled you like them!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You have some fun lens. I like to look through a group of them at a time; you don't have to answer individually but I got hooked on many of your lens today.


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