Adding length to a skirt tutorial

There are many ways to add length to a skirt and this tutorial describes one of the ones that  I love – adding a fabric band and rick-rack/lace. Whether the skirt was originally the correct length and then the child suddenly grew (they tend to do that I find!), or it was always a bit too short, adding length to the bottom can give the item a longer lease of life!

This tutorial works for any skirt, or dress, that has parallel sides (rather than circle or A-line skirts with curved hems). If you made the original clothing yourself, you may still have some of the fabric lying around that you could use (this is what I have used in the tutorial) or alternatively you could select a coordinating fabric. You will need enough fabric and trim to go all the way around the bottom of the skirt, plus a bit extra for the seam allowances.

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1. Try on the skirt and measure how much longer you would like it to be. I decided here that I wanted an extra 3″.

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2. Grab a piece of paper and draw a horizontal line for the bottom of the skirt. Measure down the length you want to add and then draw another horizontal line.

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3. Lay the trim that you wish to use across the skirt line so that just the top of the trim (where you want to sew) overlaps the line.

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4. Draw a line just under the bottom of the trim to show where the top of the extra fabric will start. The trim will overlap where it will be stitched.

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5. Measure the height of the extra fabric. Here it is 2 1/2″. This fabric will need hemming at the top and bottom. The original skirt used 3/4″ for the hems so I kept these hems the same. I added 2 x 3/4″ (for the top and bottom hem) to the 2 1/2″ to get 4″.

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6. Measure the bottom of the skirt. The skirt I used has one back seam. I layed it flat, measured across and doubled the amount. This skirt only has one seam so I added 3/4″ (3/8″ for each end). If the original skirt has a seam on each side you will need two strips of fabric rather than one continuous band and add extra for all the seam allowances.

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7. Cut a strip of fabric the height calculated in step 5 and the width in step 6 (or two strips if needing 2 seams).

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8. Join the pieces together to make a circular band, using the same seam allowances as the original skirt. Finish the edges using the same method as the skirt (here I zig-zagged them).

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9. Stitch a hem at the top of the band (use the allowance calculated in step 5).

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10. Repeat for the bottom of the band.

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11. Press (iron) the hems etc.

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12. Place the rick-rack so that 1″ is to the left of the seam and pin about 1 1/2″ to the right of the seam.

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13. Stitch the rick-rack to band, starting at the pin. Stitch near the edge of the fabric so that just the end curves of the rick-rack are attached.

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14. Continue stitching, stopping about 1 1/2″ before the seam.

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15. Trim the ends of the rick-rack so that they overlap by about 1″.

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16. Lay the rick-rack ends where they would be attached to the band and pin together (do not pin to the band).

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17. Carefully pull the pinned rick-rack away from the band and put under the sewing machine foot. Lower the foot and remove the pin. Zig-zag stitch over the join several times to secure the pieces together.

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18. Trim off the excess rick-rack from each end, taking care not to cut the stitching.

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19. Stitch down the rest of the rick-rack onto the band.

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20 . Stitch the other side of the rick-rack onto the bottom of the skirt, lining up the seams. It is easier to start stitching a little way away from the join.

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21. It is finished!

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adding length to a skirt by Bishy Barnababes





2 thoughts on “Adding length to a skirt tutorial

  1. Colette Aarons says:

    Hope your busy life is going well. I miss the updates on your podcast. Did you get your house sold? Has school started for your little one.
    I am a quilter/ dental hygienist/ mom / grandma.
    Just wanted you to know that I miss hearing you .

    • Vicki says:

      Thank you for your kind comments. Unfortunately our house has still not sold, although the viewings are picking up now that September is here – the downside to this is that I have to keep my sewing room tidy all the time! It has been so hard to find time to podcast with a littlie at home all the time over the summer. Hopefully I’ll be able to get another one done soon as I miss it too!

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