contrasting hem dress tutorial

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It’s 85 in Denver today- sheer fabulousness in my book. However, I am sure that our gorgeous sunny days are numbered. Which means that our chances to wear strapless dresses are dwindling as well! So before winter is upon us, I wanted to share this little Blue Dress Add On with you.

When I was getting ready for the Blue Dress Sew Along earlier this summer, I made a couple more blue dresses. If you know me very well (or even incidentally), you know I’m a bit of a perfectionist; I just wanted to be certain that following the tutorial directions would produce a wearable dress, you know, in case the first one was a fluke.

So I set to work. I made an aqua, linen version for our little sis, Kedron. And I made myself a royal blue dress with a contrasting hem (the blue fabric is Kona cotton). I added the hem just for looks. Turns out, however, that it is functional as well (gotta love that!). The slit in the hem makes walking (and sitting) in the dress a little easier. Who knew.

Ready to try this Add-On out? To add a contrasting hem to your blue dress, you’ll need:
-the blue dress tutorial (or the sew along directions, which I prefer, actually)
-a long thin rectangle of fabric that coordinates with your main dress fabric
-sewing supplies

1. Follow the tutorial or sew along directions to make your blue dress. However, shorten the length of your dress by three inches, and skip any steps involving the bottom hem.

2. To make the contrasting hem, take your dress width measurement and add three inches (since mine was 37 inches wide, my hem width measurement was 40 inches). Cut out a rectangle of fabric YOUR MEASUREMENT + 3 inches wide x 3.5 inches tall. Double roll and iron the entire bottom edge and sew in place.

3. Also, double roll and iron each vertical edge and sew in place. You should now have a lo-ong, thin rectangle of fabric with three finished edges and one raw, top edge.

4. With your dress right side in, begin pinning the hem rectangle to the bottom edge of the dress. To ensure that the finished sides show, turn the hem fabric over with the right side touching the front (the right side) of the dress. Pin the raw edge of the hem rectangle to the raw bottom edge of the dress. *Note- As you’re pinning, you’ll position the placement of your slit. Mine is approximately four inches from the left hand edge. The extra three inches of fabric means that you’ll have to overlap your fabric (which, as a bonus, makes it so the slit doesn’t show any more leg than the original Blue Dress). Once everything is lined up and pinned, sew the two pieces together. Finish off the raw edge with pinking shears or a serger.

5. Press your seam open. Add a belt in the same fabric (just a long tube, turned right side in and with the edges finished off) and your Blue Dress {with a contrasting hem} is ready for wear!

6. Bribe your uber-talented photographer sis to take some pictures of you, wearing the dress, in an alley… and know that, even though you feel absolutely ridiculous, this is way better than having your husband take said pictures! 🙂

ps- How’s the weather where you are? Is is still warm-ish in your neck of the woods?

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  1. I wonder if I can do this with a dress I purchased. It was already a little shorter than ideal when I bought it, but I swear it shrinks a little every time I wear it. The skirt is a little more A-line, fuller than your dress. Would it work the same?

  2. Ha! Warmish? Its still in the 100s in Texas! Sad! But right now we are in Colorado – your neckish of the woods. Breckenridge. 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh! Pleeeeease tell me where you got the fabric for the contrasting hem or who the designer is.. Love it!! All of My favorite colors

    1. Hey Kaley- I think the fabric is by Anna Maria Horner, one of the older lines… I don’t have any more, or I’d look it up for you. Hopefully that points you in the right direction, though!

  4. Thank you so much!! The collection is called garden, the fabric is called fanfare. They have it in different colors but it’s not really available anywhere. I ordered a yard of it off of eBay that I think is the exact fabric. I love it!

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