How To Hem a Wedding Dress

As any bride-to-be knows, ensuring the perfect fit for a wedding dress is one of the most important parts of planning the wedding.

Just about all wedding dresses will need at least some alterations to fit the bride perfectly. Hemming a wedding dress is one of the most common types of alterations.

Whether you’re looking to hem your own wedding dress to save money, or an aspiring seamstress looking to boost your skills, here’s what you need to know about how to hem a wedding dress.

Try the Dress On and Evaluate the Fit

The first step to hemming a wedding dress is trying it on and getting an idea of the changes you’ll need to make. You’ll need some assistance with this, so have a friend or a wedding dress professional help you.

Make sure to wear your wedding shoes for this process to see how the dress will fit with your specific shoes. You’ll also need a full-length mirror. Try on the dress in front of the mirror. Take note of places where the fabric needs to be altered.

Mark and Remove Excess Fabric

Have your assistant use pins to mark the areas of the dress with excess fabric. Next, you’ll need to remove the gown and cut any extra fabric you find. Pay special attention to the bottom of the dress and make sure it stays even.

Make Fabric Folds and Try the Dress on Again

Now you’ll need to take an iron and make some folds in your wedding dress.

Take the bottom edge of the fabric and fold it ¼ to ½ inch in the direction of the inside of the dress. Check which iron temperature is appropriate for your gown’s fabric and press the fold flat.

Fold the same edge ¼ to 1 ¾ inches (depending on how much you’re altering the dress) and use a pin to keep the fold in place.

Now try the dress on again and determine if you need to make any additional adjustments. Ask your assistant to adjust the pins in the hem if you need to make the hem broader or more narrow.

Stitch the Dress

Finally, you’re just about ready to start sewing.

Remove the dress again and press the hem flat. If you have a lined wedding dress, press the lower edge of the lining just like you did the exterior, except a little bit shorter.

Next, you’ll need to stitch the top portion of the fold to the dress’s fabric. Be careful and make sure to just barely poke the needle through the material so the stitches don’t show.

Is It Better To Hem a Wedding Dress by Hand or Machine?

You can hem a wedding dress either by hand or with a machine. However, it’s better to do the hemming by hand.

Hemming a wedding dress by hand makes the stitching less visible and gives the bottom of the dress a smoother look.

If you need to hem the dress by machine for some reason, use a fine-tipped needle since these are better for delicate fabrics. Additionally, be careful not to make the dress too tight.