How to Make a Dress Shorter in a Just a Few Quick & Simple Steps

Nurit Sig
by Nurit Sig
5 Materials
20 Minutes

I had a few really gorgeous dresses but they were just a little too long for me. Rather than take a trip to the tailor and pay, I decided to shorten the dresses on my own. The alterations were so simple and easy and totally made all the difference!

If you want to learn how to make a dress shorter (or even a skirt), my tutorial is exactly what you need. Follow my simple, step-by-step guide and learn the ins and out of shortening your own clothes.

Tools and materials:

  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Dress
Pinning the dress to a new length

1. Pin the dress

The first step to shortening this stunning maxi dress was to mark the point I wanted to cut. I pinned the point by my knee, taking seam allowance into consideration. 

Pinning a dress at the bust

Another one of the dresses I would be altering was a bit too revealing, I pinned the chest so that I could sew it closed later. 

Pinning a dress by the knee

I also pinned the fabric by the knee so that I would know exactly what length I would shorten it to. 

Shortening a maxi dress to knee length

I repeated the same for the next dress making sure to take seam allowance into consideration when pinning. 

How to cut a dress shorter with scissors

2. Cut the fabric

Finally, it was time to start making the changes. I started with the first dress. I cut along my pinned line to make it shorter. 

Measuring the new length

For the next dress, I folded and measured to make sure when I cut, it would be along a straight pinned line. 

How to make a long dress shorter by cutting

Before I could get to cutting the next dress, I made sure to remove the label on the inside. I measured, as I had done on the previous dress, and cut along my pinned line.

Serging the bottom of the dresses

3. Sew the dresses

Once I had cut all my dresses, I moved to my serger and serged the bottom of every dress to make sure they would not fray. I then hemmed the bottoms to give the pieces a nice, clean finish.

If the dress had a corner at the bottom, I folded it on both sides to make sure it would be hemmed as a perfect corner. 

Sewing the bust closed

I made sure to also sew closed the bust of the revealing dress. I sewed to where I had pinned it so that I would feel comfortable wearing the dress. 

How to make a dress shorter

How to make a dress shorter

Totally love all my newly shortened dresses! What do you think of this tutorial on how to make a dress shorter? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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Join the conversation
3 of 4 comments
  • Linda Premo Linda Premo on Nov 26, 2020

    Great. Thanks for sharing❣️ They look good on you at the shorter length.

  • Tommye Jo Smith Coleman Tommye Jo Smith Coleman on Jan 30, 2021

    I have a dress that needs to be updated by cutting it shorter and I have hesitated to do it. Now I’m inspired by your results and ready to make it happen!