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How to Hem a Dress: a Step-by-Step Guide (2024)

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Hemming a dress can seem like an intimidating task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a simple and rewarding DIY project. Whether you’re shortening a dress that’s too long or fixing a hem that’s come undone, this guide will walk you through the process of hemming a dress by hand.

Tools You’ll Need

how to hem a dress
Before you get started, make sure you have the following tools:

Step 1: Determine the Desired Length

The first step in hemming your dress is to determine how much you want to shorten it. Try on the dress and use the measuring tape to measure the distance from the bottom of the dress to where you want the new hemline to be. Mark this spot with a pin so you don’t forget it.

Step 2: Mark the Hemline

Step 2: Mark the Hemline
Once you know how much you want to shorten the dress, it’s time to mark the hemline. Use the measuring tape and pins to mark the new hemline all the way around the dress. Make sure the pins are evenly spaced and that the hemline is straight.

Step 3: Cut the Excess Fabric

Now that you have the new hemline marked, it’s time to cut off the excess fabric. Use the fabric scissors to carefully cut along the hemline, making sure to stay as close to the pins as possible.

Step 4: Iron the Hemline

Step 4: Iron the Hemline
After you’ve cut off the excess fabric, use the iron to press the new hemline into place. Fold the bottom of the dress up to the new hemline and press it with the iron. This will help the fabric stay in place and make it easier to sew.

Step 5: Sew the Hemline

Finally, it’s time to sew the hemline. Thread your needle with the thread that matches your dress and tie a knot at the end of the thread. Starting at one side of the dress, insert the needle into the folded fabric and pull it through to the other side. Continue sewing all the way around the dress, making sure to stay as close to the edge of the folded fabric as possible. When you reach the end, tie a knot and trim the excess thread.

Tips for Success

Tips for Success

  • Take your time and be patient. Hemming a dress by hand can be a time-consuming process, but the results are worth it.
  • Make sure your stitches are even and straight. This will give your dress a professional-looking finish.
  • If you’re working with a delicate fabric, use a smaller needle and be extra careful when sewing.
  • If you’re hemming a dress that has a lining, make sure to hem the lining as well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I hem a dress without sewing it by hand?

While it’s possible to hem a dress using a sewing machine, hand-sewing is the preferred method for most people. This is because hand-sewing allows for more control and precision, which is especially important when working with delicate fabrics.

How long does it take to hem a dress by hand?

The amount of time it takes to hem a dress by hand will depend on a variety of factors, including the length of the dress and your sewing experience. On average, it can take anywhere from 1-3 hours to hem a dress by hand.

What kind of thread should I use to hem a dress?

When hemming a dress, it’s important to use thread that matches the color of the dress as closely as possible. This will help ensure that the stitches are not visible.

Can I hem a dress that has a slit?

Yes, you can hem a dress that has a slit. Simply measure the length of the dress from the bottom of the slit to where you want the new hemline to be, and mark the hemline accordingly.

How do I know if I’ve hemmed the dress to the right length?

Before you start sewing, try the dress on and make sure the new length is what you want. You can also have a friend or family member help you double-check the length.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.