How to Sew a Border on the Bottom or Hem of a Dress or Skirt

By Cyndee Kromminga

Sew a border to the bottom or hem of a dress or skirt, by recycling a vintage floral kitchen tablecloth. The borders on these tablecloths are often big and bold, but rarely damaged, making them useful as skirt borders. Stains and wear are usually in the center of the cloth, which you will not use. Transform and update a tired wardrobe with this simple sewing project, which you can complete in an hour.

Lay the garment flat on your sewing table. Measure 6 inches up from the skirt's bottom edge and mark with a disappearing ink pen. Cut off the marked 6 inches of the skirt. Use a seam ripper to open one seam of the cut-off piece to make one long strip. Measure the length of the strip, not including the opened seam. Divide this total by two and add 2 inches.

Lay the tablecloth on your sewing table. Measure 7 1/2 inches in on one edge of the tablecloth and mark with the disappearing ink pen. This is the width of the border. Using the length measurement of the skirt strip, measure the length of the tablecloth and cut out the border strip. Repeat and cut out another border strip.

Place the two border strips together with the right sides facing and matching the cut and uncut edges. Pin the short ends. Sew the pinned short ends using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. This will create a ring. Place the ring over the end of your ironing board, and iron the seams open.

Fold the uncut long edge of the ring 1/4 inch to the wrong side of the border. Press the fold all the way around the ring. Fold over 1/2 inch more and press. Pin the fold. Topstitch the pinned edge to hem the border.

Slip the border over the bottom of the skirt, with the right side of the border and the right side of the skirt together and the cut edges matching. Match the side seams and pin the cut edge of the border to the cut edge of the skirt. Sew the pinned edge together using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Turn the skirt or dress wrong side out. Place the bottom of the skirt over your ironing board and press the border seam up the skirt. Turn the skirt right side out. Topstitch on the skirt, 1/4 inch above the seam. This will give a professional finish to the outside of the skirt and secure the seams to the inside of the skirt.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.