A young client came in last week hoping that I would change a silk chiffon maxi dress to one with a high/low hem for her Grade 8 graduation.  I try not to advertise that I actually do alterations..but I seem to be getting more and more referrals lately.  I’m not afraid to say no, but a quick few dollars to save towards a new Juki industrial always comes in handy!  And Silk Chiffon! I will pick sewing with that over poly chiffon any day! Not to mention that this family is so lovely!

I was certain that this alteration wouldn’t take too long.  I actually enjoy doing baby hems – and have a great way to do it that I promise I will post in the next day or so.  The high/low part I hadn’t done before, but I figured that doing it would add one more piece of knowledge to my resume of life!

The client tried on the dress and we decided on the length that she was happy with.  (the dress on my dress form looks pretty short.  Be assured that my client is a tiny little thing and the dress is a perfectly appropriate length for her!)


Follow these steps to achieve Just the Right High-Low Hem Look!

highlow 1

Lay the dress out pinning the side seams together. Make certain your hemlines, any side seams and center front and back match up.  I cut the lining and main fabric as one since trying to finagle the lining out of the way would have been a sure road to remorseville!  *Note what I do with the lining length later on.

Mark the center front and center back.

You may now be tempted to take a ruler and draw a straight line from Center Front to Center Back.  DON’T DO THAT!  You will  achieve lines that are not as attractive as the way I am going to suggest. Just put your scissors down and keep reading!





This is the line you want to draw.  Start at the Center Front and using ribbon lay it out so that you are making a sideways S curve. The side seam should be about the mid point heightwise between the High Hem and the Low Hem.  You want to ensure a gradual – almost flat- beginning and end to your curve.  By that I refer to the Center Front (beginning) and Center Back (end).  Pin the ribbon to the fabric imagining that the top of the ribbon is your exact hemline. Nudge the ribbon into the shape you are trying to achieve.


Remember to allow for seam allowance.  I am doing a baby hem on this fabric so the seam allowance will be less than 3/8 of an inch. Here is a hint- if you use ribbon that is the width of your seam allowance you can cut along the bottom of the ribbon and the seam allowance will be just right!  Take a deep breath and grab those scissors… Did you do it? There is no going back now!

Hem the “Fashion Fabric” using whatever hem you feel comfortable with.  Or wait until my next post for my Banroll baby hem Tutorial!  It will make you want to hem chiffon all day long!

Try the dress on and see how much too long the lining is.  Trim – remembering again about seam allowance, and hem.

Now all you need to do is dance the night away!b5

b 3

b 4

And a closeup of that lovely baby hem! b1


Some days are diamonds, some days are stones. Isn’t that the way the song goes?
You know how you can be striding along in life, feeling confident about your place in the universe, and how it only takes one glance in a mirror, or one unfortunate photo to send you wanting to crawl into a hole and hide that double chin, or that stomach that didn’t quite get back into fighting form after childbirth?
And then one day, for one magical moment it all comes together. You feel good, you are pretty sure you look good. And the picture that gets taken is Exactly Right. Like the stars have aligned themselves and maybe you really are on the right track. Like maybe you can be “That Girl”.

Well I’ve always wanted to be “That Girl who rocks a shirtdress”. They look so carefree, so easy, so confident. Like nothing could get in the way of success if you rocked that look!

Enter Burda 7658. It’s been around foreva’ and I seem to take it out every spring full of good intentions to become That Girl. Every year I re-read my favourite Pattern Review review  by Eve and think to myself “I need to sew That Dress.” And it never get sewn.

Burda 7658


Finally this spring was the season! What better reason to sew That Dress than to be spending some time with the person who wrote the review that started it all! The order was in  to finish That Dress by Pattern Review Weekend 2014 in Austin, Texas.

Pattern Review – Burda 7658


Why this dress? . It’s an easy going, “just threw it on, but don’t I look cool?” looking dress- and who doesn’t want to cool and chic?
I like the cutaway armholes, the pleats it the waist, and pockets.

How was the sizing? it comes in sizes 32 – 44. I cut a 42 in the bodice and graded to the 44 at the waist.

Burda7658 Photo Cred to Deepika!

Who should attempt this dress? You need to be confident with collars and buttonholes for this one. I would think that a very strong beginner could handle this. It’s a nice palate cleanser for an advanced sewist.

How long did it take you to finish? Sewing this took about 3 evenings. There is nothing tricky here, but pleats, pockets, collars and buttonholes do take a bit of time.

Fabric choice? Surprisingly this navy and bone Ikat is another Fabricland (Canada) choice. It is a cotton, although NOT a quilting cotton. Side note- I’m not a snob about many things, but I will never use quilting cotton for a garment. It may be just me, but I don’t think quilting cotton has the wearability of other fabrics.   This fabric  has good heft, but I would still not hesitate to wear this on a hot day. I originally bought it with a granddaughter in mind, so some scrimping of fabric was necessary.

Any construction hints? Not really. Check your markings – they are important. Well aren’t they always?!

You must have had a whoopsie or two! I had a 7 7 3 4 upside down of a time trying to fir all the patterns pieces on as I only bought 1.5 metres. I matched as well as I possibly could and ended up with only scraps left. As it was the under collar and the facing have some solid contrast..
The waist was a little snug. I was able to get a little room by releasing the pleats just a smidge.

Are you archiving the pattern or will you revisit it? Oh revisit for certain. Khaki. Cotton lace. A bright colour. Yup!  Im also thinking of doing a  shorter shirt tail hem in Khaki



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