Friday, October 7, 2016

Sewing DIY: How to Hem Your Jeans Like a Pro

Short girl problem #1 - finding a pair of jeans that not only fit, but are just the right length.

Unless they make a store called "Short and Sassy" I will forever be doomed to roam the petites section of every clothing store hunting for that perfect pair of jeans. My inseam in 29 inches on a good day, but with shoes on, I prefer a nice round 30. It seems the pants that are supposed to be my size always run about 32" at the shortest. That's a cool length if I was still stomping around in platform heels, but I have to run after toddlers. I need my pants to work with my new 'get-up-and-go' lifestyle and frayed, dog-chewed hemlines are just not my thing.

Recently, I purchased a pair of jeans from a fancy-shmancy store that shall remain nameless. They fit like a dream! Nice high waist, cute flared style, moody dark wash ... but long as ever ... from the petites! And I had been waiting for flares to come back in style for a loooooong time. Having been mistaken for a boy on multiple occasions growing up, flares gave me real confidence through those angst-ridden, soul-searching teenage years...and now they're back! I love the way they cover most of my shoe, but are still fitted enough to give my body an actual shape. Imagine a five-foot, three inch graham cracker...then poof, I'm a lady! Magic, right?

Unfortunately, when I asked the shopkeeper, "Hey, do you guys offer hemming services?"
he answered my question with a raised eyebrow and an enthusiastic "No!" I left the shop disgruntled and disappointed. No hemming, no alterations, nothing. I was on my own. As soon as I came home, I frantically searched for a pair of pants that I remembered having taken to the dry cleaners. I flipped them inside out and decoded their secret method for hemming that keeps the original hem intact. Lucky you for finding this post! Now go grab all the pants that drag and let's take back our wardrobes! Who needs a tailor? We got this.

What is your inseam? Take a measurement from your most-perfect fitting pair of pants. Start at the crotch seam and measure to the hem. Now measure the pants that don't fit. How many inches do you need to shave off? For me, it was 2, so I folded the bottom edge of my pants upwards and marked 2 inches with a pencil, then half that number. The markings will serve as your guidelines.

Fold along the first row of pencil markings. Use straight pins to hold the fabric in place.

Iron on the inside using the appropriate setting for your material. Denim can take a lot of heat and a good spritz of water will help get the edges nice and sharp.

Sew as close as humanly possible to the inside edge of the existing cuff. It's okay if you veer off to the right a little, just try not to sew on top of the hem that is already there. (If this happens, use a seam ripper to undo the stitches and start over.) The color of the thread doesn't really matter. I used an amber color, but black or blue works just fine.

Here are my sewing machine settings for reference. I used a straight stitch with a length of about 3.

You're almost done! Once you have completed sewing both pant legs, flip up the sewn hem and give it another round of intense ironing. The longer you iron the better. You want your jeans to look fresh out the dry cleaners!

For extra security, tack down the selvedged edge of the new cuff.

Yes! Now you're ready to show off your sewing skills! Let me know how your project turned out in the comments section!

xoxo jamillah

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