My friend Jen bought a beautiful dress to wear to a wedding on Halloween. It is stunning! One problem though - it is 2.5 inches too long. Actually it's probably about 4 inches too long, but we tried it on with the shoes she wants to wear which makes it about 2.5 inches too long.
She enlisted my help with the shortening process. Normally I would measure and then just hand stitch the entire hem up. But this dress is heavily pleated. To hand stitch it would take hours and it wouldn't hang as lovely. The pleats wouldn't press out as nice with a handstitched hem. It's to delicate to even do a decent machine blind hem.
I'm sure for the more experience sewist - those who went to design school or those who read all the sewing books - this would be no problem at all. But I'm a "learn as you go" kinda girl, so I'll show you a new technique that I tried today. Scallop Hem. I actually learned of this method from my Brother Sewing Machine Manual. That thing is a wealth of information!
**Note: I'm sure Jen won't mind a couple photographs of her dress in the interest of art, but just in case, I only photographed the bottom of said dress.***
First I measured all the way around and chalked it at 2.5 inches. The bottom of this dress is insanely long. Chalk is always easy to wipe away and makes it so that you have a nice line to follow when you're stitching.
Next I selected the proper stitch (scallop stitch is number 13 on the Brother CS6000) foot, needle and thread colour for this project. Then I used this decorative stitch to sew along the chalk line. It took me 50 minutes to do this! Yeah- that was a lot of fabric along the bottom of this dress. Good thing I didn't have to hem it by hand. ;)
Then I carefully trimmed the excess fabric away. Tonight I will sit and do a bit of a closer trim while I watch TV, but I didn't want to lay out the dress with my messy kids playing in the same room. That would have been a disaster!
Be careful not to trim the thread.
Now that is a delicate and very beautiful hem!
Jen told me that this wedding is outside, so she's going to have to wear a coat over her dress - at least for the ceremony. So I took the excess fabric from the bottom of her dress and made her a pretty corsage flower to pin on her coat. At least then she'll have a part of her dress on the outside to admire :)