How to Make a Skirt Shorter: Pleated, Circle, from Waist & More

Skirts are one of the most fashionable items of clothing to ever exist. They are fun, flirty, and versatile! However, if you have ever bought a skirt and later realized that it is too long for you, you need to know how to make a skirt shorter. Learning to make a skirt or dress shorter at home not only saves money but is a great life hack that you will be thankful for! I love to handpick skirts from thrift stores and shorten them when needed! 

Do you have a particular question about making a skirt shorter? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

How to hem a skirt without cutting the bottom?

If you do not have much experience with sewing, you might want to hem a skirt without cutting it off. This is quite a temporary solution, but one that will help you for the time being. The best way to do this is with some hemming tape. The first thing you need to do is measure the length according to your preference. Here’s how I use hemming tape:

Mark the length where you want to put the hemming tape and fold the dress neatly until you reach the mark. This works best if you have little to fold; otherwise, you can end up making your clothing look baggy. 

  • Iron the folds to make them appear clean. 
  • Now put the hem tape parallel to the crease of your ironed hem. 
  • Now with your excess fabric, simply put it over the tape. 
  • Iron again over the folded edges to activate the tape, and you’re all done! 

How to shorten a skirt from the waist?

If your skirt has some special feature at the bottom or around the hem, you cannot simply cut it across the hem. In this case, you need to shorten your skirt from the waist. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Wear the skirt and neatly make rolls from the top until you reach your desired length. Make sure that the tools are even and neat. 
  • If you have a sewing machine, bring the folded skirt to it. Place it with the rolled fabric and the waistband on either side of the needle. 
  • Place zigzag stitches around the whole thing, as close to the waistband as possible. You can also do this by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine. 
  • Now, you can cut the extra fabric off, and you’re all done! 

How to hem a skirt by hand?

If you do not have a sewing machine and need to hem by hand, here’s my full-proof way of how to hem a skirt:

  1. Measure and mark the length of the skirt to the point you want to shorten it. 
  2. Mark another line just two inches below the desired length and cut off the access fabric. 
  3. Take half an inch of the fabric from the bottom inside out and iron the fold. You can also place pins if the material is heat-sensitive. 
  4. From the new fold, measure around one and a half inches. 
  5. Now you have to fold the fabric again on the inside out, ensuring it is neat and even. Try to iron or put sewing needles on this fold, if you can. 
  6. You will need around 18 inches of matching thread. Thread it through your needle and make a note at the end. 
  7. While there are many stitches that you can choose from, I use a slip stitch as it is easy and effective. For this, you have to start stitching from the inside and carefully slip the needle onto the top of the folded hem. 
  8. Now put the tip of the needle at least over two threads in the fabric surface and push it back down. 
  9. Keep doing this inside the hem and with tiny stitches outside the hem. 
  10. Continue this process, and once you go through the circle, you are all done with hemming a skirt! 

How to make a skirt shorter without sewing?

Whether it is a school skirt you want to make temporarily shorter or a fancy one, there are many ways of doing it without sewing. One way is to use a hemming tape that you can easily find online or offline on sewing, craft, or general stores. I have already mentioned how you can shorten a skirt with hemming tape above. Here are some more ways of making a skirt shorter without sewing: 

  • You can use fabric glue to keep the length secure for about 24 hours. Follow the same steps needed when using hemming tape and simply use the glue in place of tape. 
  • You can use a belt on your waist and fold the fabric over it as well. 
  • Even a safety pin can get the job done if you are in a serious hurry. Just make sure to place them neatly. 

How to shorten a pleated skirt?

When it comes to a pleated skirt, it can be a little tricky to shorten it from the hem. For doing so, here are the steps to be followed:

  • First, take the skirt, open the pleats if you can, and flatten them. Iron over the flattened piece to make it nice and even. Do this for all the sections and open up the skirt around the whole length. 
  • Now that you have a flat surface, hem it by hand or use a sewing machine. It is best to use a blind hem stitch in this regard. 
  • Once the skirt is shortened, pin the pleats back to the place and iron them back again. Now you are all done! 

How to shorten a circle skirt?

For a flared or circle skirt that has been so famous all around history, here’s what you need to do:

  • Fold the skirt in half lengthwise, ensuring that the hem aligns with itself.
  • Fold again lengthwise, lining up the hemline. 
  • Mark the length until which you want to remove excess fabric from two inches below the mark. Make sure to keep the hemline straight when doing this. 
  • Now fold the last two inches and see the new hemline as discussed before. 

By following these simple methods, you will give your skirts a new look. With some practice, hemming will soon become second nature! 

Credits: photos by Canva

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