Category Archives: Sewing

How to Alter a Formal Dress


In October of 2013, I had the privilege of standing as a bridesmaid in my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. We ordered the bridesmaid dresses from an online company using our measurements. Unfortunately, when my dress arrived, it had several issues. The waist was too snug and I couldn’t take a deep breath. The lining of the dress was too small and caused the overlay to bunch up. We did not have time to reorder the dress so I headed for my seam ripper.


To make the waist measurement larger, I began by finding the largest amount of seam allowance. Usually it will be in the side seams or along the zipper. I had a large seam allowance by my zipper.


Carefully begin ripping the stitches out on both sides of your zipper. The material of formal dresses can be delicate so take your time. I stopped ripping just past the ruched waistband.


Look at all that extra fabric. It was like finding gold! [grin] Next, I started reinstalling the invisible zipper. Here’s my favorite tutorial on installing invisible zippers. Sew the zipper to the bodice first.


Hand sew the lining to the zipper using a whipstitch. Hand sewing the lining in fixed my problem of the bunched overlay.

Repeat the entire process on the other side. Carefully steam the dress.


The finished product–you can see where I let it out. After I steamed it, it looked much better.


This is the best picture I could find of the back of my dress while it was on me.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Formal pictures (the 1st and last) courtesy of JN Photography.

Emergency Repair | Taped Hem

Have you ever been rushing out of the house and discovered at the last minute that your hem had come out? Leaving for church yesterday, I noticed that about seven inches of my hem had come out. I didn’t have time to pull out a sewing machine or to hand-sew it.


Enter: tape. I grabbed a couple of pieces of regular adhesive tape (sorry, no fabric tape on hand) and carefully applied them to the hem. While I certainly do not recommend that you try hemming an entire skirt this way, it works great for a quick fix. 🙂 And, it held all day.

Do you have any quick repairs you’d like to share? Comment or contact me and perhaps I will feature your quick fix.

How to Sew a Maxi Skirt

As promised, here is the tutorial for a maxi skirt. It’s super simple and you should be able to complete it in just a couple of hours.

I bought my material from Girl Charlee. It was my first time ordering from the company and I was pleased with their selection of fabric.

I bought three yards of each fabric. I needed enough for the final length plus seam allowances plus enough for a wide yoga waistband.

To draft your skirt, you will need to measure your waist and hips and your waist-hip. You will also need the desired length of your skirt. Be slightly generous with your waist and hip measurements. You want room for seam allowances but when sewing with knits you have negative ease. I’ll use the measurements of a girl who has a 28″ waist, 40″ hips, waist-hip measurement of 8″, and a 40″ length.

Lay fabric out. Take 1/4 of your waist measurement (7″) and 1/4 of your hip measurement (10″). Mark 7″ from the fold, measure down 8″ (your waist-hip measurement), and mark 10″ from the fold. Mark desired length of skirt (40″) with chalk or pins.

Use a yardstick to align the waist and hip measurements. This will give you a final A-line shape. Mark with chalk or pins to the desired length.

Cut along chalk marks or pins. You now have the front of your skirt cut out. Use the piece as a pattern (if you’re using a fabric that is striped, match stripes) and cut out the back of your skirt.

Pin right sides together and sew side seams.

Now you are ready to cut out your yoga waistband. You need to cut a rectangle 12″ tall by your waist measurement minus 2″. So for our example we need a rectangle that is 12″ tall and 26″ wide. Once you’ve cut your rectangle, sew the short sides together.

Fold your sewn rectangle with long sides together. Pin.

Now, pin your waistband to to the top of your skirt, raw edges together. You will have three layers of fabric.

Sew the three layers together, easing the waistband. Try it on and take in as needed. Once it fits okay, you can hem it to your desired length.

Repeat as desired. 🙂

I’ve made two maxi skirts and love them. Here’s the black chevron. If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact me.