How To Hem A Dress

Learning how to hem a dress may save you a trip to a tailor or help you in an emergency. Once you know how to do a clean hem, you’ll be able to alter your dresses whenever you want. The hem is one of the things you look at to identify a quality garment so give your dress a professional finish with a hand sewn hem.

To hem a dress, you will need:

  • Straight ruler
  • Chalk
  • Hip curve ruler
  • Straight pins
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Pressing cloth
  1. Mark the dress hem. Ask a friend to help you mark the hem by holding a ruler vertically against the floor next to the dress. Once you decide on the length, have him lightly mark a dashed chalk line two inches below the desired hem length. The dashes should be two inches apart.
  2. Connect the dotted line with a curved ruler. You will have to move the hip curve ruler several times to connect the dashed line all the way around the dress. Use a light touch with the chalk for the connecting line because you’ll have to remove the chalk later.
  3. Pin the hem. Fold the hem allowance over ½ inch to give the inside of the garment a cleaner appearance. Use straight pins to pin the dress hem using a 1½ inch hem allowance.
  4. Fold at the marked dress hem and pin it. Use straight pins to hold the hem in place. The pins should be two inches apart.
  5. Hand stitch the dress hem. Use a slip stitch to sew the hem in place. Start at the middle back of the garment and work your way around the entire hem. Anchor the thread with a small knot.
  6. Remove the chalk and press the hem. Use a brush or a damp cloth to remove the chalk marks. Press the dress hem lightly with a pressing cloth. Don’t use too much pressure or the inside of the dress hem may show through to the outside.
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