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  • Writer's pictureLarissa Klinger

Starting your Reworking Journey- a step by step guide to shortening a hemline

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

For those of you who follow me on TikTok and Instagram, you know that I love reworking vintage articles of clothing.

This was a skill I started perfecting in junior high school. Growing up, all of my clothing was secondhand. Do to the fact that I was one of nine kids and my parents were always trying to save a buck, getting something “new” meant hunting at garage sales, thrift stores, or sorting through hand-me-downs from other families. When I entered my teenage years I started getting self-conscious about not being “in style.” I took to the sewing machine to try to alter or adapt the secondhand clothing I found to update it or give it more trendy appeal.

Don't be intimidated to give this a try. I never really learned to sew properly or sew using a pattern. I always let me creativity guide me. Now, many years later, reworking and using my sewing machine to help rescue clothing from the landfill is something that fills me with a lot of joy.

If you are interested in learning to rework clothing, a great place to start is changing a hemline on an article. It is a quick way to give new life to an old piece. In this video, I walk you through the steps of turning capris into shorts.

Here is a how to shorten a hemline:

Try on the article to get an idea of where you would like to new hemline to sit.

Place a safety pin in the fabric to mark the desired hemline.

Lay the article flat and use a tape measure to add in your hem allowance. Hem allowance=the distance between the cutting line (raw hem) and the finished hemline after you sew in place.

To ensure you cut a straight even line, mark your cutting line by measuring from the existing hem to new hemline all the way across garment. Double check by measuring from top of garment down side seams as well. Use chalk or a water soluble sewing pencil.

Cut your new hemline.

For a quick hem, fold fabric under on the inside (wrong side) of the garment to the desired hem length and stitch.

For a finished hem fold the raw hem half of the distance to the desired hemline and over on itself one more time. Pin to hold in place. Stitch along the top of the rolled hem.

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