It can be expensive and exhausting to have to replace older clothes and throw them out after several uses because they don’t look as good, or have gone out of style.
Likewise, if you need a short dress for a special occasion but you don’t have any to hand, then you could find yourself getting frustrated.
That’s why it’s not a bad idea to consider making alterations to your dresses to keep them trendy and keep you wanting to wear them. One such way you can do that is by making a long dress short temporarily. That way you can turn your favorite long dress into a short one for any occasion, or for when the weather is hotter out.
After all, what better way to freshen up the wardrobe and create a new look without splashing out on a new dress?
So how do you make a long dress short temporarily? The best way you can make a long dress short temporarily is by using some fashion or hem tape or getting the thread and needle out, and you can create a short-term solution that won’t alter the dress permanently.
The Best Ways To Shorten A Long Dress Temporarily
Below are my preferred ways to shorten a long dress temporarily. There are pros and cons to each, so make sure you read it thoroughly to choose the best option for you.
This method is by far the easiest way to fix up a dress temporarily and is perfect for those emergency situations when you need to shorten your dress in time for a rapidly approaching event or occasion.
All you have to do is flip the dress inside out, then grab a safety pin and secure the bottom of the hem to the waist. Then do the same with the other side seam, and you’re ready to go!
This process will save you a lot of time and give you the freedom to go out into the world in your new, shorter dress in no time. If you don’t have time or sewing equipment, then this is definitely the right option for you.
This method is the second easiest way to shorten a dress temporarily, and it’s so quick you can be wearing your new, shorter dress the same night.
To get an idea of what kind of tape you should be using, take a look at this product by Hollywood Fashion Tape.
This hem tape is especially designed to be invisible and to make a temporary hem which is as easy to reverse as it is to do in the first place. It’s a double-sided tape that works for anything from pants, to dresses, and you can carry them around with you wherever you go.
What’s great about this tape is that no sewing skills or tailor are required. This is an efficient solution available to everyone and can come in handy for use on other clothes too.
So, to use hem tape to shorten a long dress temporarily, all you’ll need to do is put on your dress with the shoes you’re likely to wear with it. Then, place pins at the point where you’re wanting the new hem of the dress to be.
Take off the dress and turn it inside out, then peel off one side of the tape and attach it to the fabric of the dress. Remove the other side of the tape and finish the job, securing the new hem into place.
Once you are ready to return the dress to its original form and hemline, remove the tape as delicately as possible and you’re done.
One thing to bear in mind with this method though is that you should try to avoid washing the dress once you’ve applied the tape. So that means you’re likely going to want to use it for a single-use purpose. Though the product that I suggested comes with 18 strips at a very reasonable price, so this should be more than enough to keep you going.
Also, if you don’t have hem tape around and you’re thinking of using some ordinary double-sided tape for the job, don’t. Using normal tape can damage your dress and will be very difficult to remove without affecting the fabric.
As with any clothing fix or adjustment, there is also a sewing solution to temporarily shortening your dress.
This fix is based on the idea of doing some stitch work that will remain in place, and raise the hem of your dress until you decide to remove it at a later stage.
It’s also super simple to do, so you don’t have to worry about spending all day with a thread and needle, or sewing machine.
For this fix a sewing machine is recommended, to make life slightly easier and less of a hassle. You will also need your dress, of course, some thread which matches the color of it, a pair of scissors, an iron, and some pins to hold it in place while you get to work.
Like with any adjustment, first, you’re going to need to take some measurements, to assess how much you want to take off the dress.
This process is exactly the same as it would be if you were using hem tape, simply put on the dress with shoes on, then mark with a couple of pins the point at which you want to make the new hemline.
Unlike the tape fix though, this method is a little more involved. You will first have to sew a stitch along the line where you placed your pins. Make sure you make the stitch nice and long, so that way, when you need to revert the dress back to its original form, you can do so easily by removing the stitches.
Ok, now you’re going to flip the lining from the waist down, over the top of the dress. Take your iron and smoothen out any extra lining or fabric to seal it to the inside of the dress.
Then, take some more pins and make a nice top stitch to hide the excess, and conceal the new short-term seam.
Now you’re ready to go out into the world with your new, temporarily shortened dress.
This fix is great if you have the sewing know-how, since it will look stylish and feel more permanent than attaching hem tape.
Plus, you have the added bonus of being able to wash your newly shortened dress, so you can get as much use out of it as you want. That makes this method best for those situations where you don’t just need the shorter dress for one day or night.
In order to remove the stitches when you decide you want your long dress back, you can use some small scissors or a seam ripper. The most important thing to keep in mind as you do this is not to go too fast or tear too hard at the stitches.
The last thing you want is to accidentally rip the dress due to excess force. This is another factor to consider if you’re going to want to wear the long version of your dress soon after the adjustment since in that case hem tape might be the easier option.
How do you shorten a dress permanently?
First things first, if you’ve decided to go with this method of permanently shortening your dress, you’re going to want to put on your long dress and the shoes you want to wear with it so that we can take some measurements.
Fold up the hem of your dress to the point you want it to be.
Then, taking some stick pins, secure the hem in place so we can see what we’re working with. Make sure you place a pin on each side of the hem.
Now you’ll have to take a tape measure or ruler and measure the gap between the pins you placed in the hem, and the end of the dress. This is the fabric that you’re going to fold up to make the dress shorter.
Once you have this measurement, remove the stick pins. Say the number is 8 inches, you should take around 1 and a half inches away (6 and a half), in order to have space for the new hem.
Now cut off the fabric that you have marked out, making sure you go slowly, so as not to create any imperfections in the hem.
Fold a new raw edge (it should be around half an inch) at the bottom of the dress, and then going over it with an iron. Make sure you go over the whole edge, on both sides.
Then repeat the process (another half an inch) to create a nice rolled hem at the bottom of your newly shortened dress.
Using hem tape, place a strip under the folded hem of the dress to keep it in place. Then go over it with an iron (assuming it is heat-sealed) and you will have a nice strong bond.
Up Next: The Best Fabric For Lining Dresses