Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lengthening a Dress with Lace

My husband and I were invited to a wedding recently, so I perused my closet for something to wear.  I found several black dresses and a few dark colored skirt/top combos.  I love happy bright colors, I'm not exactly sure why I don't have a couple of happy bright dresses!

I headed out on my shopping quest.  I don't really enjoy clothes shopping, it usually ends in childish depression about how "nothing fits me".  In addition, I don't like to spend a lot on clothing, so price was my first turn off.  My second turn off was the tiny, short, barely there things they call clothes...sigh.  

Then I scored!  I was excited to find a pretty blue dress at Charlotte Russe on the clearance rack  for a whopping $12.00!!!!!  

Slight issue:  It was a wee bit too big (chest), and a wee bit too short.  I tried it on and realized since it tied at the waist I could make that area fit fine.  However, it needed taking in under the arms as it was "gaping", and it needed to be lengthened ... somehow.

I had to yet to lengthen a dress, so this was new to me.

I brought the dress home and headed to my sewing room.

To take in the underarm area, I tried on the dress and pinched the sides right under my arm.  I looked in the mirror and determined that I needed to take it in about 3/4 of in inch on each side. 

I turned the dress inside out and folded it over at the seam, pinning it in place.  I then determined where the waist was and made sure to make a straight line from my 3/4 in. underarm measurement toward the original seam at the waistline.  I pinned, then sewed in place (reversing my stitch a couple of times at each end to secure).  I did not do any type of fancy edge stitch, and I didn't even trim the seam, I just folded it toward the front and called it done.

Now that the dress fit fine on top, I needed to do something about the length.  It was a couple of inches above my knee and I'm not comfortable with that.  I went through my stash of off white lace and found a scalloped edge lace that complimented the scalloped hem of the dress..score! :)

I made sure I had enough lace by measuring the circumference of the bottom of my dress.  I wasn't sure how many layers of lace I would need to get the length I needed, so I made sure I had enough to do 3 or 4 rows of lace.

I added one row of lace at a time.  Using a zig-zag/stretch stitch, I attached the first piece of lace to the lining of the dress on the backside of the lining.

Since the lining is shorter than the dress, this piece of lace barely made a difference.  I then added a second row of lace, sewing it with a straight stitch.  I place my second row of lace on the backside of the first lace row, lining up the top edge of my lace with the center of the first lace row.  There is no turning involved, so make your lace face outward and stitch it straight onto the back of the first piece of lace.

I then decided I wanted to add a 3rd row of lace.  Following the same pattern, laying the lace right side facing out, on the back side of the second row of lace, I stitched the top edge of the lace to the center of the second row of lace.

Voila!  I now had a longer, well fitting dress to wear to our young friends wedding!  Yay!!

If you have any questions on how to do this, just ask!