How To Make A Long Dress Shorter Temporarily

Most people wouldn’t think to know this but a dress is one of the most versatile (expandable) pieces of clothing out there, especially if it has a longer hem. But oftentimes you may want the look and feel of a long dress but also want it a little shorter. Whether to improve how you’ll move when wearing the dress or look the part of the occasion you will be attending. It is not farfetched then to look for a variety of ways to shorten your long dress for the specific occasion you would want it for. Today we’ll be looking at some of those ways.

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So Why Would You Want To Shorten Your Long Dress

Well an obvious reason is that some dresses can be so long in length that their hems rub against the ground, this can cause significant damage to the hem of the dress. Sometimes you may want to shorten your dress because you do not want to spend any more money on a new shorter dress. You already have a long one in the first place and all you need to do is to adjust/ alter it to make it shorter. Either way the reasons go back to comfortability, whether because of the occasion or general movability. You may also just want to look good or show off your gym-molded legs which a shorter dress can do without fail. Short dresses have become quite the popular trend of dresses because they’re also really easy to wear as opposed to long dresses. But the advantage with long dresses is that they can be tailored to suit the specific needs of the wearer.

Ways Of Shortening A Long Dress Temporarily

  • Using A Belt – This method of shortening your long dress is especially effective on flowy or loose fitting dresses. You tie a belt at your natural waist area and pull the fabric of the dress up a couple of inches over the waist (where the belt will now be.) This is not only time-saving, it also keeps the long dress temporarily shortened for as long as you would like.
  • Use Safety Pins – What you do when you shorten a long dress temporarily is moving the hem (or border of the article of the long dress that is doubled back stitched such that there’s an edge to prevent the clothing from unraveling) to a higher level and hold it at that level. Safety pins are very good at doing that. But be sure that the pins do not show on the outside of the dress by hiding them in the waistband of the dress or the seams on the side of the dress. Place them in such a way that they do not injure or pierce you.
  • Tie The Long Dress – This method of shortening your long dress temporarily is not only effective, it can make you look more fashionable as well. You tie a knot at the hem or waist of the long dress, you can choose to make the length of the dress as short as you would like. Then simply untie the knot when you’re done.
  • Hem Tape – This is a semi-permanent solution to shortening your long dress, because this kind of tape is very strong. Simply pull the hem of the dress from the inside and them use the hem tape to keep it in place. Double-sided removable fabric tape can also achieve the same result. No other method of shortening your long dress is as seamless and good-looking as when you use hem tape. When you’re done using the shortened dress, you can simply remove the tape to make it long again.
  • Sewing – That’s right. You can temporarily shorten your long dress using a seemingly permanent solution. Here’s how; you do some stitch work that remains in place on the raised hem (which shortens the long dress) of the long dress in such a way that you can remove it later. You have to hand sew the stitch work to make sure you do not have a strong stitch tension that a sewing machine would have (which would be a permanent way of shortening your long dress.)

More On Shortening Your Long Dress

  • There are different types of long dresses with different types of hems (or edges at the bottom part of the dress.) But the methods of shortening listed above more or less cater to every single kind of long dress.
  • Regular sticky tape or duct tape will not work as well in shortening your long dress because regular sticky tape is not strong enough to hold the fabric in place. Whilst duct tape is very strong and may damage your dress as a result. It also wouldn’t look as good as hem tape at all.
  • When using sewing (hand sewing) to shorten your long dress, you should make sure that the thread matches the color of the dress to avoid any mismatching of colors that will make you look unwell.
  • To make sure that you use the above methods accurately, use measuring tape to mark where you would like to shorten the dress to and from. That is at what length you want to adjust the hem to.
  • When you’ve used tape (hem tape) to shorten your dress temporarily, you can wash it as well and the tape would not come off. That is how effective hem tape can be in keeping your long dress shortened.
  • Be sure to iron your dress after using the safety pin, sewing and hem tape methods of shortening your dress before you take it out or wear it. This will help make the dress look like it is a short dress to begin with and keep the hem in place.


Sometimes you just want to shorten your long dress to feel comfortable in it, or to just attain a certain type of look and you can absolutely do that with the above listed methods. Although they’re temporary solutions, most of them can be permanent as well, it just depends on your preference. In any case who wouldn’t want to look good in a gorgeous shortened dress.