Alterations can change the entire look of a garment. Knowing how to do simple alterations can save you a lot of money by avoiding professional tailors and their high prices. Altering a lined dress can be a bit challenging, due to the extra layer of fabric. Some people prefer to remove the lining altogether, but this can change how the dress fits and lays against the body. Avoid that approach, because lining is an important aspect to dresses.
Put on the dress to mark where you would like the new hem length to be. To mark the dress, you can use garment chalk, safety pins or a needle. Fold and pin or mark the new length on either the front or sides of the dress. To get an accurate mark, enlist the help of a friend to mark the dress.
Remove the dress. Be careful to not mess up the markings or tear the dress by pulling at the pins.
Press the hem in place with a steam iron. This will help secure the alternation. Avoid ironing the pins.
Separate the lining of the dress. The easiest way to do this is by turning the dress inside out. The lining should be secured on the sides of the dress by thread. Snip theses pieces of thread with scissors.
Mark where these threads are on the garment so you know the proper place to re-sew the lining when the alteration is completed.
Cut excessive fabric by leaving 1 1/2 inches of fabric. Do the same for the lining of the dress.
Rip the seam of the dress with a seam ripper and hand-sew the stitching. The best stitching technique to use when altering a dress is the catch stitch.
Bring the lining even with the new seam of the dress. Using your thread guides, reattach the lining to the dress.
When trying on the dress to mark where the alternation should be, put the dress on with a pair of shoes you will wear most often with the dress.