Thursday, February 23, 2012

Need to hem your jeans? Check out this tutorial!

I'm short. I tell people I'm 5'1 1/2" - like the 1/2inch makes a whole bunch of difference. I use to wear heels a lot so I could pass for 5'4" on a good day. I wear flats WAY more than I like to admit and in turn need to hem every.single.pair.ofjeansIown. I had to do this when I wore heels - well, should have - but now it's more of a necessity than a "oh, I can just roll those up, no biggie..." now. I recently hemmed about 3 pair of jeans and thought "I should take some really crappy cell phone pictures of this to post on my blog in case anyone else feels the urge to do this!" So here it is: my attempt at a tutorial.

You will need the following:
* 1 pair of really long jeans (if this your first attempt, you might practice on a cheap pair)
* 1 pair of pinking sheers (or scissors - the pinking sheers will help prevent fraying though)
* a sewing machine
* a few straight pens
* ruler or tape measure
* glass of wine (optional - but recommended)

Step 1 - Try your jeans on and roll one leg up to the desired length. Place a straight pen in the SEAM of that fold - that will allow you to unroll the leg but still have the length marked. Lay the jeans out on a flat surface and cut one leg to the desired length. Cut ABOVE the pin just slightly - if you cut below the pin, your jeans may turn out a bit longer than you'd hoped (which is fine if this is your first rodeo). I cut above the pin as you'll be adding a bit of length back in a following step. Cut the second leg using the first legs cut as a guide.

Step 2 - Cut the excess material about 1/2 inch above the factory hem. This will allow you to keep that factory hem so you don't look like a second graders whose mom just turned the jeans under and sewed because it was good enough....I speak from experience. Doing this will keep the professional hem and no one will be able to tell you shortened them on your own!

See - cut 1/2 inch above the factory hem. 
 Step 3 - Turn the small piece of jean circle INSIDE OUT. This is very importante - you always want to sew right sides together in order to get this right - right?

Have a drink of wine. You're going to need it for this next step.
Step 4 - Now FLIP the piece around. This part is kind of hard to explain. Essentially the side that was on the right will now be on the left and the side that was on the left will now be on the right. Then wrap the smaller section AROUND the jean leg and match the cut edges like so:

Have some more wine if you can't figure this out. Then call me. 

Here's a close up of that step. Put a pin near the side seam - this will ensure that those match up when you sew. If the seams do not match up, everyone will know you did this on your own. You don't want people to know that until AFTER they compliment you. If they say it looks dumb, you do not take credit for it. If they say it looks great, by all means, tell them you did it!

Step 5 - Sew the two pieces (meaning the jean leg and the piece you cut, flipped around and pinned) together. I like to keep my sewing foot right about 1/4 inch from the factory hem. When you're sewing, you'll want to make sure you're not pulling or stretching too much or else you'll end up with too much jean on one side. I start by sewing over one side seam and holding out the other side seam and sewing. That will give you some control over the stretch factor.

Step 6 - You are almost done! How's the glass of wine? Now's a good time to work on that too. This is what your leg will look like after you've finished sewing. Pat yourself on the back if yours even closely resembles this.

Step 7 - Plug your iron in and heat that up to the appropriate setting - cotton unless your pants have way more elastic than cotton. Iron the seam open. You don't really have to do this but it just makes for a nice finished product and will make the new hem lay properly. If you're in a rush, use a hair straighter to do this - those work fantastically on this type of seam!

Step 8 - slam the rest of the wine because you are FINISHED! Trim extra frays (I should have taken my own advice huh?) and viola - your jeans are hemmed to your perfect length and are ready to wear!

If you find that you were too generous with the length and need them shorter, just take out the seam and cut the leg a little bit shorter and then sew back together again. If you find that you've cut them too short, make them into jorts. Everyone loves a good pair of jorts, no? (Jorts = Jeans + Shorts)  Or you could make them capris. Or just drop them off at the local Goodwill, run inside and grab yourself a new pair to practice on and try again before attempting on your expensive jeans.

I've done this so many times and if I don't f* it up in the first couple steps, I can be start to finish in about 15 minutes. Did you know you would have to pay someone between $15-$20 to do this for you? Look at all the money I'm saving you! But if you can't figure it out, I'll do it for $10.

I hope that you find this tutorial easy to follow - if not, please tell me. I have a way of over explaining things. Did you like this tutorial? Would you like to see more? Leave some feedback in the comments below!

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