Friday, January 25, 2008

Hemming Jeans, A Tutorial

I can't even begin to tell you how many needles I've broken while trying to hem jeans. At one point I was going to don safety glasses to protect my eyes from flying needles! But no more! I thought there has to be a better way and today I will show you just what I do. I consider this my 12 Step Program to Hemming Jeans.

Start out by measuring from the inner crotch to how many inches long the legs need to be. Hubby has short legs (shhh don't tell him I said that). He needs his pants to be 27 inches. I need one inch to fold up so I mark 28 inches with a Sharpie.

Mark straight across with a ruler.

Cut and save the piece.

Use it to measure the second leg, mark and cut it.

If the only reason I bought my serger was to hem jeans then it was money well spent! Serge all the way around, just barely trimming. Yes I know it's white thread, and I know I should change it to blue, but I hate changing it and besides who's going to see the inside of Hubby's pants? If you don't have a serger I'm sure you could do a zig-zag stitch using your sewing machine. We just want to stop the fray.

Remember that extra inch when you measured? Fold the jeans up one inch and pin.

Make sure the seams lay flat.

Pin all the way around.

Use your sewing machine, and with blue thread, stitch all the way around. I like to follow the serger line.

Iron everything flat.

This step is purely optional but it will look more professional if you do it. Change your thread to gold and, using your sewing machine, sew around about a 1/2 inch from the edge.

Because the hem is only doubled over you can even backstitch over the seams, something I could never do if I had them folded up twice without risking a broken/bent/flying needle.


The inside doesn't look so hot but when Hubby starts wearing his pants inside out then I'll worry about it. I'm sure there are a zillion different ways to hem jeans but this is what works for me. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial :)

Update: This tutorial featured on:
DIY Life
Creative Mom Cafe
Thank you!


Little Old Liz said...

From the wife of someone who's hubby is wider than tall, too, your tutorial is on the money! Pray tell, what will you do with the denim scraps?

Kansas A said...

Most likely use them for patches, you wouldn't believe how hard Hubby is on jeans! And I swear he thinks I'm some sort of miracle worker when it comes to mending them. LOL

Anonymous said...

My hubby has a smaller inseam than I do and he is a bit taller than I am. Luckily he can get jeans with a 30" inseam so I don't have to hem them. I did like the tutorial however. I have a serger and like my crafting, sewing has gone by the wayside due to lack of space. Oh, thanks for the warning on the Technical post. I skipped it because I have Sirdar to take care of those things and we have a Mac (and a PC).

DaviMack said...

Also helpful: denim needles. They're sharper than heck, and they're also stronger than usual. I've not broken one yet, even though the seams give me a bit of trouble (I have to use the hand-wheel instead of the pedal, going over those seams). I wish I'd thought of using the zig-zag to overcast the edges, though, 'cause I've got quite a few jeans shorts which are starting to unravel.

When jeans get too short (why do they shrink that way, over time?) I'll amputate the legs to make shorts & use the fabric to make pillows. :)

Anonymous said...

It's also a good idea to change needles frequently as well as use a needle specifically for jeans. My Husqvarna sewing machine came with a plastic tool to wedge under the foot as you go over the lump of seam. You use it on the other side too; keeping the foot flat helps prevent needle breakage.

Anonymous said...

Excellent tutorial on how to hem jeans Kansas. The pictures were great and the step by step instructions were just what I needed. I don't have a serger (wish I did) I will try the zig zag stitch. Thanks for posting this. I love your blog site, it always has interesting things to read and stuff that us ordinary folk can really use.

The Knit Chick said...

Thank you very much. I checked out several methods, and this has worked the best. The hem is clean, and the over-stitching with the gold thread works well. Over time, with washing and wear, the "original hem" look should settle in.

Good photos and clear instruction.


Kansas A said...

Thanks Knit Chick :) I should grab a pair of hubby's worn out pants and add a pic to the end of the post to show how much they look like the original hem now.

Anonymous said...

I use this technique to turn old jeans and old pants into shorts of my preferred length.

juhn-et. (viet-hang le truong) said...

AMAZING!!! &to think people won't just learn to this themselves rather than pay 40$ to get it hemmed! the only REAL difference is the thread color for certain jeans! thanks so much i'm so inspired to go home and cut up all my jeans!

Brenda Jeans said...

Wow, I didn't know about this - thnx for your great post! I've added your blog to my favourites, keep up the good work!

Aiping Wang said...

Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

tcohoe said...

Thanks. I was brave enough to hem two pairs of pants that I've had in the closet for 6 weeks now, waiting to get up the nerve. They turned out great thanks to your tutorial. Awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks!!! This tutorial was great - took me about 20 minutes to hem a pair of jeans perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your succinct presentation with "spot on" photography. Kudos!

Gloria said...

Great tuorial! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

EXACTLY what I was looking for. I found some jeans that I like on E-bay that are unfortunately no longer made. But, they're too long, so I need to chop off 2 inches to make them 30" length. I haven't even gotten the new sewing machine out of the box yet. It's been her for 2 months. Trying to get up the nerve to do it. I might practice on some old jeans though, just to see if I can do it.

Thanks for the GREAT tutorial.

Frank in Texas

learningnewtricks said...

Out of jeans needles, but I will try out your techniques hopefully really soon! Thanks for the great tutorial and pictures. My daughter is short, and always needs her pants hemmed at least 4 inches.