Sometimes, simply hemming a skirt even all the way around does not produce an even hem when worn. Sometimes, shaped waistbands, pleating, gathering and other sewing elements can effect the hem. Sometimes, body shape is the factor that changes the hang of the skirt. For me, on my Caramel Mocha Skirt, it is both. My skirt has box pleats and I have a very uneven hips, thanks to figure skating. So I always, ALWAYS Balance my Hems to make sure they will be even.
It is a very easy, quick process. All you need is a good ruler, a tape measurer, a dress form or a friend to help you and some pins. If your skirt is going over a petticoat, make sure you have that too.
Set or pad out your dress form to match your body. I use legwarmers and scrap fabric to pad out my forms.
- Put your petticoat and skirt onto the dress form. You can see here why I need to balance my hem so bad. So uneven! (side shot)
- Find the balance point. There are two factors for this. One is the shortest spot on the skirt hem. You – obviously – can not make the skirt any longer than that measurement. To do this, use your ruler. Set it with 1″ on the ground, counting upwards vertically to the hem. The lowest number – in my case, 12.5″ – is the shortest point. Second, is to figure out your ideal skirt length (in the front!). This step uses a measuring tape. Since I am adding a ruffle to my hem, I want my skirt length to be 19″.
Mark your skirt length with a pin and use your ruler to measure the distance from this pin to the ground. For me it was 14″. It’s possible! Since this number is higher than 12.5″ – and therefore further from the ground – it is able to go all the way around the hem, allowing me to have 1.5″ seam allowance for my hem. Perfect!
My balance point, then, is 14″
- Using the ruler method from before, pin your balance point all the way around the skirt. The distance between pins shouldn’t be more than 3″ or 4″ apart for accuracy. Be sure to get in between pleats and to not contort the skirt too much.
- Take your skirt off of the dress form carefully so none of the pins fall out and place flat.
- You may trace each pin and then connect the dots with smooth curves if you wish. Or, you can skip that step and simply mark the edge of your seam allowance. My seam allowance is going to be 1.5″, so I will mark 1.5″ down from each pin.
- Cut away the excess fabric.
- Now your skirt is ready for a hem! Which is guaranteed to be balanced and even all the way around!
I know this can be a little bit confusing, so if you have any questions, be sure to comment below!