How to Cut a Dress Into a Tunic

Shorten a dress to make it a tunic.

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If your style leans more toward pants than dresses, or if you simply want to give a fave dress fresh life, you can transform that dress into a tunic. Since Roman times, fashionable gals have rocked the tunic look. Tunics give you a long, lean look that’s edgier than your average top. So raid your closet for a dress you can take from ho-hum to hot, by cutting it into a tunic. Wear your tunic with leggings or slim jeans for a fashion-forward style.

Length

Tunics may be almost any length, from long and flowing to barely covering your bottom. The right length is the one you think looks best on you, but a safe bet is to go with a tunic that falls to about mid-thigh. You can wear this length belted or unbelted, If your dress is short enough, you may not have to cut it at all to make it into a tunic. If you don't feel like showing so much leg in a short mini dress, slip on a pair of jeans or leggings and wear the dress as a tunic. But you'll need to trim longer dresses to make them short enough to serve as tunics.

Slits

A billowing, flowing tunic doesn’t need slits, but it you are cutting a narrow dress or sheath into a tunic, you should add side slits to allow you to move more freely. If the dress has side seams, you can simply open the seams 5 or 6 inches on either side. If your dress is a knit dress without seams, you'll need to cut slits on either side.

Finishing

You can hem your tunic on the sewing machine or, for a more finished look, press under the edge and sew the hem by hand. If you cut slits in your tunic, you'll need to face them to keep them from raveling and finish the look. If you created the slits by opening the side seams, the seam allowances will serve as facings. Simply stitch them down. If you cut slips in garment without side seams, attach hem tape to serve as a facing for the slits.

Other Considerations

Not every dress will convert to an attractive tunic. A dropped-waist garment can lose its sense of proportion if you cut off much of the hem. A dress made of many layers of ruffles also may not look right if shorten it to a tunic. That sequined mini-dress could come unraveled if you try to shorten it. If you want a tunic that doesn't scream "made over dress" choose a simple style. To get an idea of what your tunic will look like, pin up the dress and try it on in front of a mirror. When you like what you see, get your scissors and sewing machine ready and cut without fear.

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