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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

How To Hem Your Jeans Nicely



I wish I had slightly longer legs. About an inch or two or would be good, then this would eliminate my main denim woe - jeans which are too long for me. Even the shorter lengths can be too long ... like this pair of H&M jeans. This is the 30" length which is the shortest length they do. I don't mind an inch too long but these are actually 4" too long.

I can do wrinkly but not that wrinkly.


Years ago, I took a pair to be altered and I was really surprised when they asked me if I would like the original hem leaving on which I didn't know was possible. I said "yes please" of course. That's because most jeans (apart from the solid colour ones) have some kind of distressing along the hems which tends to get lost if you take them up the normal way. 

We need to keep this distressed hem. Honest we do.


And from having that one pair of jeans hemmed, I learnt to do my own (I learnt to make a roman blind as well from taking one apart but that's by the by). I do mine by hand as I am too lazy to get the machine out and thread it up but I'm sure it's quite easy to do by machine if you are a sewer (unlike me).

For all the short legged people out there or the long legged ones who do sometimes face the same problem of too-long jeans, here's how to hem your jeans nicely. 

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Start by looking at yourself in the mirror with the jeans on and decide on how long you want your jeans to be. I personally think it's important to get this visual. Don't go with the thought that you have a 28" inside leg and just measuring accordingly - it's important to get it right and pinned to where you want them to sit. You also need to do this with the shoes on that you want to wear your jeans predominantly with. Remember also that you will have an extra cm or thereabouts to be added on to this length which is the length of the hem which you will be "re-attaching".

See why you need to keep the distressed hem? Looks rubbish when just turned under.


Turn your jeans inside out. Measure the length that you will be shortening your jeans by ....

4" I tell you!!!


And repeat for the other leg.

Make sure they match!


And iron sharp creases in. Remember to take photo after ironing and not during or else you get a steamy photo (not that kind).

Doh!


Turn your jeans back to the right way. And tug the hem in to position ....


It's all falling in to place now isn't it?


Pin in to place ....

Make sure your side seams align.


Sew the hem down.

Sorry, I don't know what this stitch is called. I kind of just go with it.


When it's finished, it should look a bit like this but don't blame me if it doesn't.



And this is one leg done and one not done. You can now see why I would want to keep the original hem.

One hem done. One hem not done.


Now you will have some excess fabric on the inside. Depending on how much there is, you might want to cut away the excess and hem the raw edge.



I think that's blanket stitch.


Anyway repeat all steps for the other leg and then you're done. 

Ta dah!

Well that initial alteration cost me £7 about 7 years ago but I have probably saved myself £100 or more in learning this trick. Its also very easy by machine which my friend L prefers now she knows this trick. 

And one last thing. Just to prove that I don't really sew and all that gumph, here's my sewing case. It's not good is it? Would a real seamstress have a sewing case like this?

A little messy I know.


Who's dying to get their hands on this to sort it out?



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Last Note :

  • Sorry for the rubbish post title. I couldn't think of anything witty or clever :o(










53 comments:

  1. Thank you for this brilliant post!

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  2. Replies
    1. It looks it but is quite simple really. Honest.

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  3. This would come in handy if I even knew how to hold a needle. Alas, I don't. I'll still save this in my bookmarks...because...well...because you never know. I might one day decide to take up needlecraft. Or something. You never know, you never know...

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    1. Well I will do your jeans and you can do my photos. Agreed?

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  4. Thank you thank you thank you - I'm going to do this soon! To the many many jeans I have that need to be altered.

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    1. I thought you were tall! About 5ft 7" at least? You look it.

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  5. Brilliant! I don't need to to this but I have a couple of friends who do so I will be forwarding this on. Great Post xx

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    1. No, you looked quite tall when I bumped in to you but if it helps your friends - great. And thanks!

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  6. Looks very manageable - thanks for this post. Old stumpy legs here will definately use it!!

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    1. Ah - another member of the stumpy leg club - welcome :o)

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  7. Instead of lazily just folding inside the too long hem, I will try to replicate that process when I come up with extra long jeans. It looks easy but I'm not sure my couture skills will be up to the task though...

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    1. I have virtually no sewing skills to speak of and I was nearly thrown out of the sewing class at school for taking 3 weeks to lay a pattern on some fabric. And the domestic science class for making the worst pastry ever - so bad - the teacher grated it to make it look like a crumble topping on top of my supposed apple pie. I am no domestic goddess in any way shape or form so if I can thread a needle and do this hack - I bet you can.

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  8. Ah I have so many pairs without the original hems! Like you it's usually about 4 inches off and I usually get MIL to do it! Great post! Sadly my sewing kit is a little travel one OH won in an Xmas raffle at work years ago! x

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    1. At least you have a MIL to do it. My MIL cooks and bakes but alas, she cannot sew.

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  9. You really are an absolute treasure Sue!! Brilliant 'how to' post. Will be trying out your step by step guide on a pair of Mango jeans that have been aggravating me with their wrinkly-ness for a while now. Have also got my mum checking out your blog as she has just bought a pair of jeans in M&S in a short length which aren't short enough!! So I'm in the good books with my mum too! Thank you :0)

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    1. Oh it's such a pain honestly when you buy something which technically is designed for short legs like me and then you find that they are still not short enough. It's like "really, am I such a midget?"""

      If you do your jeans, let's see the result.

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  10. Hi my dear!! A really good tutorial which shows how easy and effective this is. Because I'm tall I haven't needed to do this but it's still good to know xx

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    1. You might need it one day ... designer denim is notoriously long and I'm sure you will come across some of those on your travels.

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  11. Oh my goodness. You are a genius!

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  12. Ok - I am seriously impressed!! So simple too. I need to do this on a pairs of Xanders jeans. Thank you:)

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    1. Glad to have been of help. I bet there are loads of us out there who have a pair of jeans too long for us. Some I can get away with just rolling up as turn ups but sometimes I like to wear them as normal length jeans and this is such an easy way to do them. It means jeans don't phase me at all when I buy them too long.

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  13. You make it look so easy, Sue but knowing me, I'll botch it up. I think I'll just stick to cooking.

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    1. You stick to cooking and photography Marlene. And go to Uniqlo for your jeans because they do a free alteration service there don't they? But I don't know if they keep the original hems.

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  14. Great instructions Sue - I've turned up a few hems in my time - being a 'small one' myself. I'd have to use the sewing machine though, am lazy like that! Would you believe I actually used to sew quite a lot in my (distant) youth - made allsorts - suits, dresses the lot - I had the time in those days! My sewing box is a mess too - it'll stay like that forever!

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    1. I'm rubbish with a machine and can never set it right with stitch length or tension and it nearly always gets stuck and I end up with chewed up seams so when I can, I just go with a needle and thread. Cowards way.

      I clear my sewing box out once every few years - when it just gets a bit too much. It's still okay for now ;o)

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  15. Great tutorial thank you,I would have to sort that sewing box out, mine does get like that every now and then and it is so frustrating whern you can't find anything, also dangerous, how many times have you pricked your finger, I know I have. x Dawn

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    1. That's reason enough I know for sorting it out but sometimes I just take a look at something and think "tomorrow".

      Lazy I am.

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  16. Ok I have to ask about your ballet flats. (Yes I also loved the tutorial, but having a seamstress who lives RIGHT next door makes me soooo lazy to do by myself plus we do trades, my baking for her sewing!) Anyhow, love your flats because they have NO toe cleavage. Can you tell me what brand? thanks! Beca

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    1. Back to basics - nothing like a bit of trading going on. So much cheaper.

      Right, the ballet flats. These are Massimo Dutti ones which I picked up in the sale this summer for about £17. They are navy leather and they were believe it or not from the childrens section. I took one look at them and thought, that vamp looks high enough to cover all toe cleavage and I was right. Toe cleavage is the bane of my life when shopping for ballet pumps and most shoes in general. I have to admit I was pretty chuffed and they didn't look childish at all when they arrived. Some children's shoes do still retain that childish look even when they are made in bigger sizes but they have more styles in MD this season but I'm not sure the vamp is cut quite as high.

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  17. I know you say anyone can do this, but truly I can't. I'm the person who takes the husbands' shirts to the tailor to have buttons sewn on if they fall out. Sewing just scares me ... I'm unbelievably useless at it. So I'll continue to subsidise my tailor's income and remain in awe that you can take up your own jeans!

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    1. That's okay, I don't mind if you want to bow down and worship at my awesomeness :o) Anytime.

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  18. Great post Sue, I'll definitely be referring to this in the future x

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    1. Surely not Jane - you look like you have no problems with your jeans!

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  19. Great tutorial Sue but I am useless at sewing, so I doubt mine would turn out like yours!
    ~Anne

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    1. Anne - you surprise me. I had you down as an all singing all dancing, baking, decorating and sewing goddess. My illusions have been shattered.

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  20. I found your blog through another blog. Thanks for the instructions! Especially like how you did it w/o a sewing machine, I just need to google 'blanket stitch'. I've had some jeans hemmed this way and I only briefly wondered how this was done, it does seem simple as you suggest. I'll try this with my nxt pair of jeans, which sadly won't be anytime soon as I think I'm at 25+ pairs, yikes!

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    1. Hi Vicky. 25+ pairs. Hmm. Impressive. I wouldn't like to have to hem 25 pairs of jeans.

      But blanket stitch is easy - well it is if you're not particularly meticulous like me (no one's going to see what it looks like inside your jeans anyway) :o)

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  21. Oh my, that's useful! I have the same problem as you, even the shortest length of jeans could still need an extra few cm chopped off. I managed to sometimes get around it by buying supposedly ankle (or 7/8) length pants that end up just the right length for me (like the GAP skinny minis, that I just love and bought in 3 different colours haha).

    Anyway I'm way too busy to spend some time doing that, I'll rather spend 8€ having a seamstress take care of it, but thanks for the tips, I'll still do the measurements and ask to keep the original seam ;)

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    1. I love the Gap skinny minis! They have been worth their weight in salt this summer when jeans were just a bit too much to wear with the warm temperatures we've had. I usually get round a lot of jeans and chino type pants by doing normal turn ups but every now and then, I like to have normal length jeans.

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  22. You are such a handy genius! I always have original hems done when I get my jeans altered, but usually I am too lazy to actually go to the tailor, so I end up with too-long jeans (always a problem I think, no matter how tall you are). Why oh why did I just assume original hems were something too complicated to attempt on my own? Especially when I see that you're doing it, so beautiful, BY HAND?! My mind is blown. I bow down. And I'm totally trying this myself this weekend. And I will totally blame you if I mess up my jeans. Just kidding. Kind of ;)

    www.nomadicd.com

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    1. I think I'm one of those daft people who likes a bit of a challenge. And this is one of the few bits of sewing I can actually do. I'd love to make a proper dress which is fitted to me and have a working zip and all that but that's just too much for my skills. I sew in one straight line and that's it. I don't turn corners and I don't do any fancy stuff on the machine. That's a tad too scary.

      If you have a spare pair of jeans, it's worth trying out for fun if nothing else. I challenge you :o)

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    2. Ok. You are on. I accept the challenge. Give me a few weeks though, no time to take it on right now. But I will do this. On and by the way, turning corners? Crazy easy. Fitted dress? Probably way harder ;)

      www.nomadicd.com

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  23. Great post Sue!! I' rarely have to hem jeans but have a bargain pair in a 34" leg that I want to wear with flats so might just give this a go, even though I'm not much of a sewer. My mums brilliant so I've never has to learn!! X

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    1. My sister's were sewers and knitters and I kind of learnt bits from them. I even used to crochet in the dinner queue in primary school - weird child that I was. You kind of pick bits up but I am a rather makeshift kind of crafty person. Just don't look too closely.

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  24. I always wondered how to do that! I have the other problem in that I struggle to get trousers long enough sometimes - I wonder if there is a reverse method to add a few inches on! My sewing basket was a right mess, but I took it into school and got two keen 10 year old girls to sort it out for me! ( we were doing sewing - it was jeans for genes day!)

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    1. Well I don't feel sorry for you at all you long legged monster. I would be celebrating if I had such an awful problem as long legs.

      And I will sort my basket out ... some time. I have a bathroom to paint first ... there are always more interesting things I can find to do. I am rather good at procrastinating.

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  25. It's a brilliant post Sue.....I normally do my own but was too lazy recently, cost me £15! I'll be doing it myself again . All I would add is always wash your jeans before altering, sometimes they do shrink a teeny bit, but that's me being picky!

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    1. Good one Claire. Yep a preliminary wash doesn't go amiss to eliminate shrinkage but I think I've been lucky so far.

      And £15 for a hem round your parts! Teach you to live in the posh part of Yorkshire.

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  26. Oh I've actually wondered how they kept the original hem! Saw this at an alteration place once. So clever! I have a pair of 34" Acne jeans that were sold out in my length and I've been putting up with wrinkly for a long time now. Might give this a go when I have some free time. I need to find an iron now. I replaced mine with a steamer, haha. Thanks for this Sue!

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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  27. wow...You're good at this. I'm too stupid and lazy to do my own hemming. *head hangs low in shame*

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