I know sometimes taking in a dress or hemming pants can be a little bit frightening. So I wanted to share my project of the day with you. Both of my girls Irish Dance and recently the school Pender-Keady Academy made the decision to require the girls to purchase a beginner level dance dress. Once the girls reach a certain level, they will have the traditional Irish Dance Costumes, Wigs and whatnot but in the past we just wore either a black or navy skirt and a short sleeve peter pan collar shirt. Having the new dress for beginners is great, they all look the same and the struggle to find the right style & fit is no longer an issue. The only issue most of us had was not so much fit but length of this uniform dress. Most schools using these uniforms want the dresses to be at the knee which is much too long for Irish dance where you want to see their legs.
I was discussing with some other moms and my mom on how to hem their dresses to achieve the desired length. The dresses are a “boxish” shape and the front is narrower than the back. Another dilemma is that the skirt on this dress is short and pleated with a grosgrain ribbon on the seam. You don’t want to lose the pleated skirt, so it can not be hemmed at the bottom of the dress, so you would have to take the dress in somewhere else. The desired length for the dress is 2″ above the knee. You can only take 2″ at the top (1″ on either side). As I mentioned it was boxy at the top under the armpit because my girls are very thin. When kids come in all shapes and sizes, this is not surprising so don’t despair you can make this dress have a tailored fit. So I am sharing with you what I did, I hope it helps.
Here is the dress from the website “French Toast“
It has a scoop neckline and the dress on this girl does hit the knee but it needs to be a little bit shorter. Also with your arms down by your side, you don’t need a lot of room under the armpit. I found there was too much for my girls and it looked frumpy.
Put the dress on your daughter. See how much you can pinch both sides together at the top of the shoulder dress strap without pulling the neck up to far. Mark with a pin with both sides pulled together. You can measure from the pin to the end of the strap at the seam and this is what you’ll take in. For my girls it was 1-1.25″ measured on one side (so that equals 2+ inches total) Now turn the dress inside out and use that measurement and stitch using a straight stitch and make sure at the beginning and end you use a back stitch to secure it. You will be able to use a seam ripper and pull it all out, letting the dress back down if they have a growth spurt. Repeat on the second shoulder strap.
See if across the chest it is too bulky. If it is is, then do the same as the top of the dress, pinching it together and use a pin to mark it. Measure and turn it inside out, measure and stitch. Do this to both sides.
If the dress is still too long you can take it up at the top of the pleated skirt. You will fold it over by the number of inches that it needs to come up. In our case it was 2″ (1″ on either side of the fold) If you stitch right along the top of the ribbon, it is not bulky and it creates a nice seam that again be adjusted should she grown another inch over night.
This is the ribbon side of the dress turned inside out.
This is the underside of the dress folded and inside out.
When you turn it right side out, this is what the body of the dress and where the ribbon now meet. Looks just like it did before the hem!
So even though I did not cut this dress or use my seam ripper, the results are difficult to notice once the collar shirt is under the jumper. Here are some finished pics.
I hope this gives you comfort and encourages you to do this project yourself. There is no reason to have to cut this dress especially when you can resell it to a new comer next year or if your daughter wears it for more than a year to be able to adjust the dress rather than buying a new one.
Now the question came up should I have purchased a smaller size. I don’t think so and I will get more use out of them. It fits well through the legs, hips but just too long and boxy.
Thanks again and hope you enjoy the Feis. Good luck PKA!!
My best, Jen xoxo