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Sometimes the best solution to shorten a skirt is to do it at the waist instead of the hem. This is usually because there is some kind of embellishment on the hem, or it may have an edge that you want to leave intact: a pleated skirt, a knitted skirt, some hems even have a slit cut the heat sealed kind.

Usually, when I have to do this type of alterations it is on a pleated skirt with an elastic waist band. Something that may seem simple but in fact it really isn’t. Let me show you how I worked this skirt.

How to shorten a skirt from the waist

Start by carefully unstitching the waist elastic band with a seam ripper, I used this one.

Then place chalk or pencil marks around the new hem length at the top and sew a row of stitching around the garment BEFORE cutting.  This is important to do, the fabric may unravel.  The row of stitching should stop any laddering.

Now, cut what you want to discard and start reassembling the elastic waistband to the skirt using pins. Spread out the fabric evenly along the waist band, use a ruler if you want to be precise.  Sew the elastic on.

Tip: Take a picture of the original seam used to assemble the waist band to the skirt. In this case it was a flat-felled seam.

More sewing tips:

Sewing tip #2: Smocked Sleeves – pattern 119, Burda 20/2020

Tip #1: Adjustable waist belt

One thought on “Shortening a skirt from waist because you don’t want to mess with the hem

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