How to Hem a Dress by Adding a Banded Hem

For my Little Miss' Easter dress I decided to add a band at the bottom of the dress instead of doing a regular hem.  Why you might ask? First, because this way I don't have to "hem" the bottom in the traditional way.  Second, it gives the dress more character (in my opinion) when you add a contrasting fabric to the design.  I thought I'd share how to hem a dress by adding a banded hem.A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length

Adding a band to a dress is not only a great way to hem a dress but it is also a great way to add length to a dress.  You can cut out a band the width of the bottom of your dress and cut a length that you like and add the band.  You can see exactly how I added length to a dress for my own daughter's too short dress if you check out my Instagram Stories here.

How to hem a dress by adding a banded hem and some contrasting fabric.  This is also a great method to add length to a dress that might be too short.

Today I'll walk you through a super simple tutorial on how to hem a dress with a band.  You'll want to make sure you have the pattern or dress you are doing to add the band to.  You'll also want a measuring tape and some good sewing scissors to cut your fabric with.

How to Hem a Dress by Adding a Banded Hem

Step 1
First you'll want to measure and cut your skirt pieces.  Decide how thick of a band you want and minus that amount from your skirt pattern piece.  Otherwise, your dress may be way longer then you expected.  Now, stitch down the sides of your skirt pieces.
Sewing fabric together to make a skirt


Step 2
Cut 2 band pieces.  Both the same width as your skirt and DOUBLE the length that you want to add to the skirt.  So if you want to add 3", you'll cut the band 6" in length.  

You can cut just one long band, but I find cutting two is easier for me when measuring and sewing.
A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length


Step 3
Stitch the two bands together down the short side seams.  You don't need to finish those side seams if you don't want since they will be enclosed in your band after you fold it.
A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length

Step 4
Fold the band in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Press it well.  You should now have a long side with both raw edges and one that is folded.  Like the photo below.  Make sure you press it well so it does shift on your when you sew.


A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length

Step 5
With Right Sides Together (RST), place your band over the bottom edge of the skirt.  Match the raw edges of the band to the raw edges of the skirt.  Match the side seams of the band to the side seams of the skirt.  Pin in place about ever 2-3 inches.  Stitch the bottom edge of the skirt and band together.  


A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length

Step 6
Finally, turn your band down and press well.  Then topstitch around the skirt to keep the raw edges of the band in place. You can skip the topstitching if you want.  I don't typically topstitch on knit fabrics, but I will on wovens.

A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length

Voila!!  Your skirt now has a fun contrasting band.  This is a really great way to add color, character and just fun to your dress or tunic.  Plus, you didn't have to do a traditional hem to the skirt which can be a bonus.  Now you know how to hem a dress in a new and easy way.


A banded hem sewn to bottom of dress for length


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How to hem a dress by adding a banded hem and some contrasting fabric.  This is also a great method to add length to a dress that might be too short.