Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm obsessed with jeans!

So I guess this would be considered a "not fun tutorial". This is not fun sewing per se, rather sewing that needs to be done. I have a stack of 3 pairs of jeans I've gotten for super good deals but can't wear them because they haven't been hemmed.

I thought everyone deserved to know how to hem their pants without loosing the original decorative hem. I use this technique on jeans because I am obsessed with nice well fitting jeans. But I am sure you could use it on any pants you want hemmed or even shorts that are too long. OR pants that are too short that you wanted to make into capris or bermuda shorts. Since I am only about 5'3 I have to hem everything. I can't stand stepping on the backs of my jeans! For the longest time I would just cut off the bottom and make a double fold and stitch down. While this was easy it never gave me the same look that the original hem had. And to be honest that kind of bugged me!

Then one day my hubby bought an expensive pair of jeans at the highly coveted store Buckle and had their seamstress hem them for him. I guess when you spend a small fortune on jeans they hem them for you for free! (I get my jeans at Buffalo Exchange for a fraction of the cost! ha!) At first I was a little hurt about it. I mean come on I can hem a pair of jeans! Then he told me she was going to leave the original hem on them. I was intrigued! I thought how on earth can you cut a chunk out of the length of a pair of jeans, use the original hem AND make them look nice?! Well she did it! And now I've got his to look at and figure out exactly how she did it.

This is what I came up with. I am by no means a professional seamstress and I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants when I sew but it works for me! And I know it'll work for you too as long as you keep these simple guidelines in mind.

1. Measure twice cut once!

2. Try them on before you cut more off!

Just ignore my unpolished toe nails! I seriously need a pedicure...

Start by trying on your jeans. I cuff mine up at where I would like them to hit.

Then take them off and measure the amount you cuffed upward. Be sure to include the original hem in this measurement! I needed to take 4 3/4 inches off. Take that number and divide it by 2.

So I needed to make it about 2 2/3. You do this because your fabric is doubled over therefore doubling whatever measurement. So yes you are sewing at 2 2/3  but there is another 2 2/3 on the back so there is your 4 3/4 inches.Only measure up to the original hem line. Do NOT include the hem in your measurement. You dont want to take any of that off!

Pin your cuff and stitch down. I usually iron the cuff so that it stays put nicely and only pin at the side seams being sure that the lines match up!

Be careful and use the inside hem as a guideline. I used a zipper foot so that I could get right up to that hem line.

See that bright blue line? That is my stitching. The closer the better but not actually on the hem!

Press your seams down and try them on! Are they the right length?

YES! Then we can serge or zig zag stitch the excess off. If not then rip the seam and try again taking them up a touch more.

Now lets get rid of that little serged tail! If you just cut it off it will eventually unravel...not fun!

Take a yarn needle or a needle with a large eye and push it through your serge.

Now stick your tail through the eye of the needle.

Finally pull the tail through the serge and trim the excess. I try to pull it through at least an inch sometimes more. It just depends on how tight the serge is!

After you have serged or zig zaged and cut the excess off then you have a couple choices. My husbands pants were topstitched back down using a thread that matched his jean color. This is probably the most secure way of finishing these.

See! Barely noticeable from a distance! I mean yes up close you can see that they have been hemmed. Honestly who is looking at your hems all day? Your kids and they really don't care!

You could also lay a strip of 1/2 inch stitch witchery between the excess serged edge (folded upward) and the jeans. Then iron down really well!

OR I suppose you could just leave it the way it is and push the excess up into the jean when you lay them out to dry. But you might have to iron them every time you washed them and that might get kind of irritating!

I used two pairs of jeans to take pictures of while doing this tutorial. The first pair was a really dark wash and you could barely see the stitching in any of the pictures. So I just used the best pictures for each of the steps. All in all it took about half an hour to hem 2 pairs of jeans!

Ok! Now go hem all of your jeans in preparation for fall! Even though I wear them year round in 100+ Arizona heat!

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Christina said...

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing, I have a couple pairs of pants in dire need of hemming!

Melissa said...

Awesome!! I saved this one!! Thanks for sharing it!!

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

I'm the same height as you, and also have to hem everything! This was a great tutorial. I've never left the original hem on! Yay, cannot wait to try it!

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

P.S. I'm your newest follower! I'm loving your blog!

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

It is so helpful to know how to hem jeans!
I like to get creative with mine sometimes, and give them new types of hems if it looks good... trouser, skinny, etc. when I get to hemming them!

calicodaisy said...

Good info just in time!

Emily said...

Oh my goodness! Never thought of that. I always am self conscious when I hem my pants and my thread doesn't match the original - this solves that! As long as I'm not worried about that line, now!

Chris said...

Thanks for the reminder that I need to do these to my jeans! Maybe I'll get to it today.

Tracie and Jessica said...

Emily the line seriously from a distance it un-noticeable! Just make sure the thread matches your jeans really well and iron it down tight! Maybe even spritz it with some water and iron before you top stitch! I've hemmed so many jeans like this now I've got an array of "jean colored" thread that I pull from whenever we get new jeans! And much prefer this method to the creating a new hem with thread that doesn't match and is never nearly as thick as the original hem!

Hope you guys try it!

Love and Hugs, Jess

erin said...

i have been wondering what people meant when they said to keep the original cuff!...

i love this!...

i am a 35" inseam but sometimes have to buy a 36" or 37" cause that's what the tall stores carry for the really tall gals...now i can fix half the pairs in my drawer! yay!

(so i can wear them year round in guam where it's 85-88 degrees with 2000% humidity!)

hipchic~cynde said...

Awesome....definitely having a...well why didn't I think of this moment!

love your blog...I am now following
have a great weekend!

~ Kim ~ said...

I just found your tutorial through another blog. How awesome! Thanks for sharing. Now I can do lots of jeans this way.

Julie Deuvall said...

Purely genius... I love this and thank you so much for sharing. I just bought some jeans that are 4 inches too long, but love the finished cuff and wanted to keep that original look. I am beyond thrilled:) Thanks!

Amanda said...

I am 5'3" as well and super duper grateful for this post! I am so doing this the next time I get jeans. Thanks for sharing!!!

Natalie said...

I have always wanted to know how they do this. :) Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to try it.

Wife and Mother. said...

Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial with pictures!! My hubby is inbetween length sizes. One length is too short. The next size up is too long and he ends up cuffing them up. I'm excited to try this hemming technique on a pair of his jeans!