making a short dress more modest

I’ve been wanting to do this post for quite some time, but for some reason or another it was not high on my priority list.  But when I was coming up with post ideas for February I knew this one had to make it in.

I’m going to share a super easy tutorial for adding some decorative length to a dress or skirt that may be a bit too short for you.  I have used this technique on three different dresses of mine and can now where them comfortably without being concerned about a rising hemline.

how to make a short dress more modest

This tutorial requires the most basic of sewing skills and can be done either by hand or machine. I don’t have photos of the steps but hopefully they are pretty self explanatory. Let’s dive in!


  • fabric
  • chalk or other tool for marking fabric
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • needle and thread or sewing machine


  1. Determine how much length you want added to your hemline and add about 1 inch for hemming.
  2. Measure the dress all around the bottom where you will be adding the hemline and add about 1 inch extra.
  3. Mark out these measurements on your fabric and cut it out.
  4. Turn the dress and fabric inside out and start attaching the fabric strip to the hemline using straight pins (safety pins work well too).  Make sure the fabric is even as you pin.
  5. Carefully try the dress on to ensure the new hemline is pinned evenly and the length is suitable. Turn the dress inside out before sewing.
  6. If you are sewing by hand, make small and straight stitches around the inside of the fabric to attach it to the dress.
  7. If sewing by machine, use whichever stitch you are comfortable with; my preference for this is a straight stitch.
  8. Once the new hemline is sewn on, you can either leave the edge raw or make a small hem and stitch it up.

I actually used an old bed sheet to add the length on the orange dress above.  Since the bed sheet had a finished edge I used that as my bottom hem, which eliminated the need for finishing it off.

On another dress, I used some red lacy fabric, which also eliminated the need for hemming.


Recently, I added some white fabric AND cute eyelet trim to the hemline of another dress.  The process was the same as above, but instead of finishing off the raw edge I just pinned and sewed the trim to it (and in case someone mentions it in the comments: yes, I realize that a dress like this may be immodest on top but I wear a tank and cardigan with it).

how to make a short dress more modest

I attached the trim to the outside of the white fabric and I LOVE the look!

how to make a short dress more modest how to make a short dress more modest

I used a zig zag stitch for this part to make it more durable.

how to make a short dress more modest

This project took very little time, was super inexpensive, and is a great way to extend (literally!) the life of my dresses!  I’d love to see photos if you decide to use this tutorial!

PS: I invite you ladies to join my Modest Young Women Facebook group!  It’s for women in their 20s and 30s to share outfit photos, get inspiration and more!

note: I’m not the best seamstress, my skills are limited, I probably should have taken more photos of the steps, and there are countless other tutorials that are way better than mine.  BUT, I’m still sharing this with you because I want to show that it’s possible and easy to alter your clothing.

About Christina

20-something; rural dwelling; wife to David; homeowner; pretty good cook; wearer of skirts; friend to all cats.

10 comments on “making a short dress more modest

  1. Great idea! I have bypassed some dresses in the past when I was not comfortable with their length. My sewing skills are VERY basic but I think I could handle this.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m glad you enjoy the post! I know there are extender slips and such that can be bought but that seems like an unnecessary layer especially in summer! Be sure to let me know how your attempt turns out:)

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