Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lengthening a Dress with Lace // DIY

I have been off of work the past two days and I got to enjoy a quick little road trip up to Indianapolis with my parents. It was short, but still very fun and it was great to see them again. It was sad to see them go! 

You may have noticed (or you may not), but I have made a few more cosmetic changes to the blog! I'm pretty excited about it.

My mom and I hit some antique malls on the drive up to Indy, which is always exciting. It's rare to find cheap old clothing at antique stores, but I ended up snagging a dress for a refashion project at a good price! I'll be sure to post that tutorial another time. But as for today, we have another awesome project!

Finally, you guys get to look at a new face! 

This is my friend Lauren; isn't she beautiful?

So here's the story: Lauren had a dress that she loved, but after shrinking in the laundry a few too many times, it became too short. She told me the problem and I knew that together we could create a great solution!

We headed out to Hobby Lobby and found this really pretty lace trim that would make the dress a better length. After sewing it on the bottom, we had our finished product and she was thrilled with her new dress! It's amazing what a little lace and sewing can accomplish.

There are tons of pictures for this tutorial since I had a helper! Read on for instructions!

Here's what you'll need:
-Dress or skirt to be lengthened (you could also do shorts!)
-Lace trim (many different kinds available at various crafting stores - ours was from Hobby Lobby)
-sewing machine/thread/pins/tailor's chalk, etc.

Here's what you do:

*I'll be referring to the bottom half of the dress that we'll be working on as the skirt of the dress.

1. Lay the skirt part of the dress out as flat as you can. This one was gathered so make sure you lay it out so that it is completely flat. We had gotten a yard and a half of the lace trim but since the material was gathered at the waist so much, we didn't have enough. To solve this problem, we took in the sides of the bottom half of the dress; details below.

(Steps 2-3 involve taking in the skirt's circumference to adjust for insufficient lace; skip if you don't have this problem)
2. Lay the lace (folded in half) at the bottom of the skirt part where you'll be attaching it. Mark with tailor's chalk where you need to take the skirt in so that the lace will fit all the way around. Make a mark that tapers up to the waistline so that you aren't taking in any of the waistline which should already fit. (It should be a diagonal line to the edge of the skirt).

3. Once you have it marked, pin all the way up to the waist and sew. Try it on to make sure that it isn't too tight and then cut away the excess material (but not too close to the seam).

4. Now is the time for sewing on the lace! Line the ends of the folded over lace with one of the seams on the side of the skirt. Then, pin in place and sew.

Like my ring? It's made out of a quarter! Check it out here if you missed it.

5. Once you have sewn the lace all the way around the bottom of the skirt, cut off the excess and pin the two edges together. Then, sew.

And you're done! Look at how nicely it turned out:

The only cost of this project was the lace since Lauren already had the dress.

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"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11
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  1. So I just found your blog via Grits and Moxie and I'm in love!

    I love the craftiness ('cause I try and most of the time don't succeed) and the fact that you're a Chem major!!

    I'm an Environmental Science major and love seeing women in science!!

    And this dress is super cute. I always hate how dresses are so short now-a-day's, it's so offputting. So definitely cute idea and so simple to do. =D

    1. I agree, it's awesome to see other women in science!

      I'm so glad you stopped by to check out my blog. It's always nice to hear some positive feedback. :)

  2. Yes Lauren is a beauty! Oh to be young again!


    I am trying to do he same thing to a couple of tops form my mother. But they are Knit fabric. How do you add it to stretch knit fabric. Has me stumped and I have tried finding an answer on Goggle. No luck yet. Hope you can help.

    Donna Rae

    1. The dress that we added this lace to is actually a stretchy knit! As long as you don't need the knit to stretch anymore (aka the width of the shirt is fine and you don't need it to stretch to get it on) then you should be fine by just using a straight stitch and doing what I did here. If you want it to have a little bit more of a stretch, a zig zag stitch allows a little give when working with knit, but only if you have two knits that you are sewing together. If you are adding something like lace, then you would have to ruffle the lace with elastic and add that to the end (see the technique of ruffling with elastic in my High-Low skirt tutorial) otherwise it won't stretch, but doing that can add bulk. I probably just gave you a lot more information than you needed, but let me know if that helps or if you need any more clarification!

    2. Oh you are awesome. You did not give me much more then I needed. It is great to know it all. I may have to do the elastic on the lace. The top is not for me so am not sure yet. But you sure did answer my question and now I know even more for the future! Thanks Bunches!

    3. I'm so glad I could help! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any more questions and hopefully I'll know the answers! Be sure to let me know how the top turns out, too :)

  3. What a cute dress! The lace actually makes it more charming than before you made the alteration.
    I have definitely had to do this more than once but not necessarily in a way that enhaces the overall look of the dress, but just to maintain my modesty. Forever 21, for example, has really cute dresses, but a lot of times they are way too short for anyone over the age of 25.
    This is a great and easy solution! Thanks for posting it!

    1. Hi Sara! I agree - I think it looks even better than before. I also agree that Forever 21 dresses are always too short. It keeps me from buying so many of them, which is unfortunate. I'm so glad you liked the idea! Thanks for stopping by.


  4. I definitely want to try this out! I am always sad by how short dresses and skirts seem to be these days and would like a little modestly lace to finish them off! Thanks for the idea!

    1. No problem, Kate! I'm glad you enjoyed the idea. Thanks for stopping by!


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I put the top of the lace underneath the bottom of the dress and made a straight stitch all along, so that would be the right side of the lace facing up with the wrong side of the dress facing down. You could also technically do wrong side to wrong side, but then I think it might lay kind of funny.

      Let me know if you need any more clarification! Sometimes it's hard to explain through text.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  6. What a cute dress! The lace actually makes it more charming than before you made the alteration.
    This is a great and easy solution! Thanks for posting it!


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