Hijab Friday: How to Lengthen a Dress

Salaam, and happy Friday! For today’s Hijab Friday post I want to give you all a little tip that has saved me tons of trouble over the years (OK, that makes it sound like I have actually been wearing hijab since adolescence…it’s only been two years.): how to lengthen a dress that is just a bit too short.

I am 5’9”, or for my non-American readers around 176 centimetres. This is great and all, and it wasn’t all that much of an issue where clothing was concerned back in the day, but now that I am very conscious of how my clothes fit me, and in turn how they cover me, the height thing has become a slight issue.

Then, I wore mainly short skirts anyhow, and as long as my bum wasn’t visible, I was totally OK with that. Now, I prefer my skirts to just brush the top of my feet, or at the very least cover my ankles, and I cover my feet either with socks or opaque tights.

The problem is, most skirts in my size that are advertised as “maxi” or “full length” hit me at mid-shin and fall disappointingly short. Some go a little further, but most do not even make it all the way to my ankles. 

Even when I buy an abaya, if I buy it in the right length it tends to be three times too wide, and if I buy it in the right size it will almost always be too short.

So, what to do? For a long time I had a stockpile of dresses in my closet, waiting to get an extra panel put in to lengthen the hemline whenever I am in possession of my sewing machine again.

But then one day, I was out of dresses and needed to go out. I put on one that I knew was going to be too short; I tried it with tights, I tried it with leggings, I tried tall boots, but I just didn’t feel comfortable. With my husband impatiently waiting for me and urging me to just figure something out, I finally just grabbed a skirt that I knew was long enough for me, in a colour that complemented the dress, and threw it on underneath like a slip.

And that was it! The answer to all my issues, the saviour of all those dresses doomed to the back shelf because I didn’t feel comfortable with the length.

So here is how you do it: put on that dress you love but that you know is too short (or even too transparent in the skirt area). Then, go rummage in your closet for that one skirt that you just love because it fits you perfectly and is so comfy, and slip it on under the dress. And there you have it.

I love this because not only does it add length and volume to the bottom of a dress and add opacity if a dress is more see-through to make it more modest, but if done with complementary colours, can actually be a very pretty little accent.

For example: the dress I was wearing that day was navy blue, with brown and gold leaves and flowers on it, and the skirt underneath was tan, so the bit you could see on the bottom looked like it belonged specifically with this dress.

It is also a very versatile style: you can use it under a dress that is just a bit too short, and it will look like a cute peek of petticoat underneath (does anyone actually know what a petticoat is any more or is it just because I’m a bit old school that I like that style?). You could also use a skirt under a shorter dress, whether shin, knee, or even above, for an interesting layered look.

I have a black skirt that I used to love to wear under a knee length, powder blue, shirt dress for a more professional look, and I used the same tan skirt under a just-below-the-knee “maxi” burgundy dress for a super comfy, casual layered look.

Plus, you can use whatever kind of skirt you want. I prefer to use mine in lighter fabrics, so that way I am not feeling bogged down in fabric, or overheated in the summer. And you can use any colours that strike your fancy; I prefer neutrals that will match with a lot of things like black or brown.

So, I hope this has given you some inspiration on what to do with those old dresses that you think you can’t wear any more now that you wear hijab, and I would love to hear any other tips some more seasoned “hijabis” out there have on what to do with short skirts!



10 thoughts on “Hijab Friday: How to Lengthen a Dress

  1. I moved to this 🙂 Great for those dresses that are a bit tunic like too in length. I discovered this after I realised that most things are too short/not right fit to hide shape with trousers but here these things are easier to find! I find that trousers are only useful with a long “maxi” dress that skims ankles or the rare long past calf length dress. Skirts under are great 🙂


    1. ashleybounoura

      Yes definitely! I have a black skirt that is really comfy jersey material, kinda like yoga pants in skirt form haha but it is super snug in the bum area so it makes a perfect slip!


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