Happy Tuesday! I recently made a quick alteration to a dress I made last fall. This is my charcoal linen washi dress (pattern by Made by Rae). I noticed I wasn’t wearing it all that often, and knew it was because the lack of drape in the linen blend (cotton + linen) was causing the fullness of the skirt to hang a bit strangely, making me feel self-conscious. I know how funny (and kind of ridiculous) that sounds, but you know when you have something hanging in your closet that just doesn’t feel like you…so you just don’t wear it? This was my second washi dress, and I have no issues with the first version, so I knew it was every bit the fabric’s lack of drape and not the pattern at all.
The most obvious change I made was curving the hem, but I also took out 6 inches of fullness at the bottom (tapered to nothing at the bodice) and removed the inseam pockets. I tried taking things in and leaving the pockets, but they were adding too much bulk and weight and essentially causing the side seams to collapse inward. RIP pockets. I’ll miss you.
The difference is extremely noticeable from the back. If you look at the before photo, you can see where things stood out straight from my hips rather than falling evenly all the way around. Now it’s not so tent-like.
To make this change, I took the original hem out, then evened things back up (they got a little weird when I took the sides in). Using my french curve, I drew in with chalk a couple of different curves until I found one I liked, then cut along the line.
Fortunately, I had just enough scrap fabric left to make facings. This is the best way to get a clean finish on a curved hem like this, so I was grateful I save all of my scraps! I pinned them right sides together, then stitched my planned 1-inch seam allowance along the curve.
I love using my pinking shears to trim seam allowances around curves–it both trims and notches at the same time. After trimming, I understitched the seam allowance to the facing. (I’ll have to do a proper understitching tutorial sometime because this was definitely not the right fabric/thread combo to be showing you stitch lines. ;)) Understitching causes the facing to roll inward so that it’s not visible at all from the outside. (The same is true for understitching linings.)
I turned the facing inward, pressed well, placed little bar tacks at the tops of the curves, and then stitched straight across the tops of the facings to secure. I knew this would be barely visible on this fabric, but on another fabric, you might want to do a blind hem instead.
I’m so much more comfortable in this one because it feels like me now. Plus, I love how the hem echoes the curves of the peter pan collar now (and wasn’t I just talking about how I love feng shui in a garment?).
P.S. I did edit the original bodice when I made this dress. I added a faux “pleat” in the center, which covers up an invisible zipper, making it nursing-friendly! (Which I was doing when I made this dress.)
Have a great week!