Not a Simple Hemming

Nordstrom has this dress:


Isn’t the lace roses hem lovely?

All this mother-of-the-bride wanted was the side seams taken in 1/2 inch and the hem shortened by 1 inch…not too much to ask is it?

After pinning, I thread trace the new side seam lines through the lace and lining layers as they are stitched together as one unit.Ā  Same goes for the hem, except we will lose the roses and scalloped edges. The mother is adamant about showing her knees more in this pencil skirt and does not care about the pretty original hem that matches the sleeves.



Let’s look inside …yes, she paid $368 for this Tadashi dress and the lace layer is a tight woven and we also find our old friend…knit lining…why?

The hem edge of the lining is understitched all around and is actually a dress within a dress joined at the side seams. Nothing like having 2 layers of knit lining…why?

Normally, there is an opening used during construction to turn the dress right side out but I can’t find one in all the seams…wait…check out the zipper…could that be the way in?

After snipping the hand stitches…the opening is revealed!


The double layer lining is pulled out through the opening to discover another lining dress within.

Here we have the lining dress and the thread tracings for the hem. The side seams end 2 inches above the hem line and are clipped and flipped.


The side seams show the thread tracings too and they get pinned.


This photo shows that the new hem line for the back lining sections will run into the lace sections at center back…great…that will have to be opened up and moved.


Another little feature is a second underlayer in stiff netting under the lace which is also attached along the seams. Like this dress is not bulky enough inside…yes, toss in some stiff netting layer! All this has to be released before working on the back hem.


What looks like a simple alteration from the outside can become tricky once you go searching.p1210420p1210421

Center back seams is resolved and the lace hem and netting is pinned and ready for hand sewing.


What was removed….one inch stripp1210426p1210428Ā  …the finished hem right side.

The new hem in the lining dress, all the excess will be cut off and pressed toward the back side for understitching.


Finally done with what should have been a 1.5 hour job…I lost track of time after so many steps. Lesson learned? Think twice before tackling a Tadashi!


After a monster project like this I needed a little retail therapy, so I decided to see if I could replace a favorite 40 year old Ultra-temp spatula that had been well used and loved. Good old eBay to the rescue…who knew that I could find such a wonderful replacement?spatula

No matter what your weather or projects, I wish you time to enjoy both this week. Today is 97F degrees in my back yard…who ordered up this heat in late Sept?

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20 Responses to Not a Simple Hemming

  1. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says:

    wow what a chore. It is slightly a shame to lose the interesting lace hem although looking at the photo it’s not that attractive – it looks like they just cut wherever they wanted. I hemmed a J. Crew bridesmaids dress a while ago and I was thinking I needed to raise the skirt at the waist to keep the scalloped lace hem edge – but on closer inspection found that it was just sewed on.
    Stay cool in this heat!

  2. mrsmole says:

    Oh Beth, it is great when a scalloped edge is just sewn on isn’t it? Lots of bridal gowns are this way with lace edges and it cuts down on labor charges for sure. I’m sure you know that what looks simple on the outside can be a nightmare on the inside. wish I could send some of this late summer heat down your way!

  3. Sharon says:

    Why the double lining ? The more to ride up and the more to sweat my dear ! From what I have heard from my customers, many ladies are now seeking the old fashioned cotton slips. Anyone remember those? They not only make a dress less ‘see-thru’ but also allows air to move, actually making wearing a dress a pleasant experience. They are hard to find and are going to be pricey, but well worth the purchase.

  4. mrsmole says:

    Who needs a double layer of polyester knit next to their skin? Certainly not the MOB who is hoping everything goes smoothly! Cotton slips…yes, they were required in Catholic school when we had to wear white blouses with our wool plaid pleated skirts. Once the girls started wearing bras and the boys could see through the white fabric, they had to be covered!!!

  5. How often does this happen? Things that should be straightforward…… Ah well, you made your usual fabulous job of it Mrs Mole. A bit of that heat wouldn’t go amiss here in Worcestershire – autumn has arrived with a vengeance.

  6. mrsmole says:

    May have to add Tadashi to my list of brands I hate to alter! Sorry about your weather! I remember living in Southport for 8 years and my father-in-law telling me we “might” have an Indian summer….it never showed up and went right into windy, wet and nasty. Time to put away all your shorts and sleeveless tops now. Kim!

  7. SJ Kurtz says:

    aaah vanity. I do recall spending more time altering my sister’s outfit for my wedding than I did on making mine.
    I have been enjoying the 60 – 70 degree days in Seattle, spending the time cleaning out and replumbing the rain barrels. Soon enough it’s sewing time again, but I do love all the power tools. Hoping your late summer is productive.

    • mrsmole says:

      Looking forward to some 60-70 days here too so I can clean up the garden and garage and sewing room. So many October brides…who knew this was the most busy month? The squash are still producing as long as the sun shines! Thanks for dropping by ErnieK!

      • CHERYL says:

        I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had 7 SEPT brides and EIGHT OCT brides.. AND MAIDS………… This is a FIRST…SO many brides:) OCTOBER also brings me HOMECOMING dresses. HC is a BIG DEAL in this area… GOOD FOR THE BRIDES šŸ™‚ FALL is EXCELLENT weather in Southeastern Ohio šŸ™‚

  8. prttynpnk says:

    Thru the zip? Who would have figured that? It’s like the tunnel in Shawshank!?

  9. sewruth says:

    Do you think Tadashi use the same pattern for the lining for many dresses but just add a different top layer? This might explain a stretch lining…..?
    Brilliant job as always.

  10. mrsmole says:

    It could be that all their dresses have the same lining pattern, you may be unto something, Ruth. Then pity the poor seamstresses who have to make “simple alterations!”

  11. Wow that’s a lot of fabric for a simple dress! So many layers! The lace and scalloped edge are pretty though!

  12. The sewing and alterations are fascinating as per usual, but I’m more curious about the spatula! Why does that design appeal to you?

    • mrsmole says:

      That brand of spatula came out years ago when plastics did not withstand high heat temps without melting. It also has a very fine flat surface at the top for slipping under eggs for flipping and a serrated edge for cutting in the pan. But after so many years, mine got chipped and ratty.

  13. Bonnie says:

    Just yesterday, my sister showed me her MOB dress that has non-stretch lace on top and a stretchy knit lining. She thinks the lining will give her enough body control that she won’t need Spanx. Perhaps this is the reason for the knit.

  14. Pingback: Dancing Dress | fit for a queen

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