How to Make Short Dresses Longer

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So often children outgrow their clothes before the clothes have totally worn out. Usually those too-small clothes get boxed up and sent off to the thrift shop. But you can dig out the little dresses from the donate pile and transform them from "too short" to "too cute" by simply adding some length to the bottom. This also works for women's dresses.

Add length to a too-short dress.
Add length to a too-short dress. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Things You'll Need

  • Coordinating T-shirt
  • Measuring tape
  • Washable marking pen
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with a medium ball-point needle

Tip: Make sure you choose a T-shirt with a hem that is as wide or wider than the hem of the dress.

Gather your supplies.
Gather your supplies. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 1

Determine how much length you'd like to add to your dress and add 1/2 inch to that measurement. Use this figure to measure and mark from the bottom hem of the T-shirt with a washable marking pen. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut across this line. The existing hem of the T-shirt will become the new hem of your dress.

Cut off the bottom of the T-shirt.
Cut off the bottom of the T-shirt. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

Lay the hem of the dress directly above the raw edge of the T-shirt piece. Position one side seam of the T-shirt piece directly under one side seam of the dress. Add 1/2 inch to the other side of the T-shirt piece for a side seam and cut off the rest of the T-shirt piece.

Cut to match the bottom of the dress.
Cut to match the bottom of the dress. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 3

Place the right sides of the T-shirt piece together and pin the new side seam.

Pin the new side seam.
Pin the new side seam. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 4

Use a medium-length stitch and a ball-point needle to sew a 1/2-inch side seam on the T-shirt piece.

Sew the new side seam.
Sew the new side seam. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 5

Turn the T-shirt piece right-side out. Place the raw edge of the T-shirt piece under the existing hem of the dress so that 1/2 inch of it overlaps with the dress. Match the side seams and pin it in place.

Pin the new hem in place.
Pin the new hem in place. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 6

Sew along the existing hem stitches and remove the pins as you sew.

Sew the new hem.
Sew the new hem. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Finished Dress

Now, both little girls and women alike can enjoy wearing their favorite and not too-short dresses once again.

Before and after
Before and after (Image: Beth Huntington)

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