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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lengthening a Skirt

Have you notice that skirts styles are getting shorter again? Have you ever had a little girl that is growing up but not out, and find that her skirt is too short, but the next size up is too wide? It is really easy to lengthen almost any kind of skirt or dress.

Here is a little girl's skirt that is too short. I found some matching material--you need less than 1/2 yard.

I cut off the bottom of the dress....

... leaving a raw edge.

My skirt needs to be lengthened by 3". I will cut a strip 7" tall. That means I can fold the fabric in half and avoid having to sew a hem, and also leave room for a 1/2 seam.
A good rule of thumb is that a ruffle needs to be 1 1/2 to 2 times the distance around the skirt you are sewing it to, plus an extra inch for a 1/2 seam. My skirt is 30" around the bottom, so I will need a 61" length of fabric (30" x 2" + 1" for the seam). This will take two strips of fabric, sewn together and trimmed to 61". You now have a strip of fabric 7" high by 61" long. Sew the fabric into a circle.
Now fold the circle in half and press. You now have a circle 60" around and 3 1/2" high.

Mark the halfway point between the two side seams with a pin.
You will use this pin marking to later center the ruffle on the front and back of your skirt.

Sew two strips of basting rows, one 1/2" from the edge, the other 1/4" .

Gather, distributing evenly around the circle.

Pin to the bottom of your skirt, making sure to match centers and side seams
and sew, using 1/2" seam.

Zigzag the edges of your fabric and skirt together to keep fraying in check and
to strengthen the seam.

Trim stray threads and press seam toward skirt.

I think the lengthened skirt is
cuter than the original, don't you?

You can also lengthen "big girl" skirts. This is my 16 year old's dress that I added a straight piece of fabric to. (It may look like a skirt and top, but it is a one piece dress.)
This strip adds 6", and as you can see it isn't gathered. I think the style of this dress looks better with an ungathered addition. I used the same method: cutting a strip 13" so I could fold it in half and have a seam allowance , and 44" long, the exact measurement of the bottom of the skirt plus 1 inch for seam allowance. A dress that was 6 inches too short is now a modest length, and once again, I like the look of the added fabric. It turned a plain dress into a more interesting dress.


  1. Believe it or not, I was googling ideas to lengthen a skirt and your blog popped up. It's a great site ladies.

    Joan Ostler

  2. awesome! I can't wait to lengthen mine!

  3. Thank you! My 13 year old is now 5'8 and trying to find a modest yet fashionable skirt is almost impossible. Thanks for your ideas! Launa