The Best Way to Shorten a Blouse That's Too Long

Shortening a blouse can be done in a few simple steps.

Photo: Hemera Technologies/ Images

So you've finally found the perfect blouse. Its drool-worthy pattern and adorable details make it something you absolutely need in your wardrobe. The only problem is that it doesn't really fit; it's too long. Sure, you can take your blouse to a tailor and have her fix it up for under $40, but did you know it's also easy to hem your own blouse? If you don't want to drop cash on getting your new favorite shirt fixed, you can sew it up entirely at home.

Prepare Your Garment

To hem your blouse, you'll need to wash and dry it first. This prevents the fabric from shrinking after hemming, which creates wrinkles and darts in the part of the fabric you've altered. Even preshrunk cotton can shrink a little bit in the wash, so don't forget this step. Next, you'll need a serger machine (or overlock sewing machine), thread that matches the color of the thread the manufacturer used on the shirt, measuring tape, scissors and pins.

Choose Your Needle

According to Ann Steeves, one of's contributors, choosing a sewing needle is a crucial step in hemming your blouse, especially if the fabric is a knit. "There are two types that I use for knits: ballpoint (also called jersey) and stretch," she writes. "Ballpoint needles are best used for sweater-type and loosely woven knits." If your blouse is made of a stretchy, tightly knit fabric like a Lycra, cotton blend or polyester, use a stretch needle so the fabric doesn't get caught or tear.

Measure and Cut

Try your shirt on and measure it carefully to figure out what length you want it to be. If you're unsure after measuring, you can take a blouse that fits you well and line it up with your too-long shirt. Mark where that shirt that fits falls on the shirt you want to alter, and that's your length. Add 1 1/4 inches to the length and mark a straight line; that's the end of your hem. Cut across that line to remove the excess fabric.

Hem Your Blouse

Once you cut the excess fabric from your blouse, use a serger machine to sew an overlock stitch across the part of the shirt you just cut. This protects the ends of the shirt and ensures they don't roll up after washing. Fold the end of the shirt to the desired length to create a new hem, then pin it in place. Iron the seam to make sure it's flat, then carefully sew the seam in place using your sewing machine.

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