How to Hem a Bridesmaid Dress

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How I Hemmed a Bridesmaid Dress Made of  Satin and Sheer Polyester

How to Hem a Bridesmaid Dress

NOTE:  The color of the dress is blush, but does appear darker in some photos due to lighting differences.  I promise, every picture is in fact of the same dress.

This is not the post  I had planned for this week.  But, life is filled with the unexpected, interruptions, and delays.  This has been especially true for me the past two weeks. After being down with a pulled muscle for nearly a week, it was fast approaching my step-daughter, Alex’s, wedding day, and I was already behind schedule.   When I was finally back on my feet and just starting to get back on track, there was a big bump in the road.  My other step-daughter, Dakota’s, bridesmaid dress was almost a foot too long!  Yes, the dress had been ordered in her size and fit nicely everywhere else, but, you see, all of my step-daughters were blessed with petite frames.  However, as well as being petite, Dakota has the added challenge of being… uh…. I’ll say “vertically challenged”.  She stands only 4’10” tall.

So, it’s a week before the wedding when I get a call from Alex asking me to hem Dakota’s dress.  Now, for those of you who’ve been following along, you know that I am not a professional seamstress.  The idea of hemming a bridesmaid’s dress, especially in such a short period, was definitely above my pay grade.  But, there were no other options as the professional seamstress claimed she couldn’t do it in a week’s time!  I warned both Alex & Dakota that it would not be a perfect job, but I would do my best.  Then I fell ill for the next four days.  This left only two days to hem the dress before the big day.  Life really knows how to throw you some curve balls!  LOL.

Even though I was still not feeling up to par, the Thursday before the wedding, I tackled the dress.  It had two layers.  The bottom or inner layer, made of satin, was simple enough to do.

Step 1.

The night before I had determined that I needed to take nearly 9-1/2 inches off the inner layer, so the first thing I did was

Step 2.

Using a fabric pen, I marked the bottom edge and the sides of the inner layer where I wanted to make the cut.  The marks fade and ultimately disappear from 30-minutes to several hours, depending on the type of fabric.

Step 3.

I used a large ruler to draw a line from each marked edge all the way across the fabric.


Step 4.

I used a ruler and a rotary blade to slice along the marked line.



Step 5.

The top or outer layer was sheer polyester and there was a TON of it.  I found the easiest thing to do was to lay the front part of the outer layer over the newly cut satin layer and repeat steps 3-4.  I cut the sheer layer about 3-inches longer than the satin layer.

Clearance on Sewing Supplies

Click image for Everyday Clearance on Sewing Supplies from Craftsy

Step 6.

I laid the cut portions of the dress on top of the back part of the sheer polyester layer that still needed cutting and repeated steps 3-4.  I cut the back part of the sheer layer right along where I made the cut for the front part of the sheer layer so that both the front and back portions would be exactly the same length.

Close-up of back part of sheer polyester layer beneath the two previously cut layers.


Here is the dress after all three layers, the inner satin, and the two outer sheer polyester layers, have been completely cut.


It’s lookin’ good, right? But, of course, it’s not finished.  The newly cut edges had to be sewn so they would not fray.

Step 7.

I double folded the edges of the dress.  All the way around, both the satin and the sheer polyester layers.  I started with the satin layer, but only took pictures of the sheer layer.  The process was exactly the same.

Forming the first fold of both the satin inner and sheer polyester outer layers (sheer layer shown).

Forming the second fold of both the satin inner and sheer polyester outer layers (sheer layer shown).

Step 8.

As I folded, I pinned the folds down with straight pins.

Pinned Satin Inner Layer

Pinned Sheer Polyester Outer Layer


Step 9.

I used a zig-zag stitch on both the satin and polyester layers to keep the edges from fraying.  Since I was on a time crunch, I wasn’t able to run to the store to get matching thread so I decided to use clear nylon thread instead.  It worked out just fine.

Sewing the satin edge. Shows that pins were removed while sewing.

Sewing the sheer polyester edge. Pins were removed as it was sewn, but are pictured here.

Zig zag stitch on the satin inner layer.

The dress is complete!  It took three hours just to fold and pin the sheer polyester layer and an entire day to finish the project.

Dakota’s face when I told her these pictures where going on the blog. LOL.

Close-up of the edge of the hemmed bridesmaid dress.


You can see that the hemmed edge is not perfect, but also not bad for my second sewing project ever.  I wanted to correct my errors, but Dakota steadfastly told me, “No way.  You’re done.  They give the dress character.” LOL.  What she lacks in height, Dakota makes up for in attitude!

Until next time…  Happy sewing!

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2 thoughts on “How to Hem a Bridesmaid Dress

    • Thanks so much! It’s wonderful to hear from an experienced sewer that I did a good job. For most of my life I owned only a needle & thread. I was able to patch tiny holes or sew buttons on by hand. Then I mentioned to my fiancĂ© that I would love to learn how to quilt. He bought me a fancy Husqvarna Viking that does way more than I will probably ever need! I’ve been so intimidated by it that it sat in my house for a year, until a few months ago when Alex asked me to sew her a Wendy Darling costume, which was my first sewing project. You can read all about it on the blog if you like. 🙂

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