Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sew you think you can hem...

I've always hemmed my pants using the traditional method of cutting off the original hem, and then creating a new one.
I recently discovered an EASY way to QUICKLY hem pants
keep the original hem.
As with any quality sewing project, your iron is your friend. It will ensure your garment doesn't end up looking "home made".

I'm embarrassed to admit that I hold a master's in "cooking and sewing" {as my father would say} and yet I walked around for two months with safety pins holding up the excess length in my maternity jeans.
Oh. dear.
About a month ago I decided I could take it no longer and wanted my last few weeks of maternity wear to be safety pin free!
So I let my hair hem down and got to work!
The first thing I did was iron out the crease that had formed in my pants, then I found thread to match the color of my jeans.
It is also necessary to use a "Jeans/Denim" needle when working with denim. It's generally a size 16 needle and perfect for heavy fabrics.
Here's the meat and potatoes:
Step 1: Determine how much length should be taken off and divide that number in half.
Step 2: Cuff your jeans. Use a seam gauge to measure the same distance from edge of original hem to crease. Pin and press as you make your way around the leg.
If you want to remove 4" from the length, you should measure 2" from edge of hem to crease.

Step 3: Place your needle just to the RIGHT of the original hem and stitch all the way around the cuff.

When you are finished you will have a fold on the INSIDE of your pants leg, like so:
You now have a few options:
#1: Press the fold up and leave as is.
#2: Press the fold up and adhere hem tape to keep it in place.
#3: Trim excess fabric and use a machine overcast technique to contain the raw edge.
#4: Trim excess fabric and serge around pants leg to contain the raw edge.
I chose to trim the fabric and serge.
If you think you would ever want to let the hem out, then you would want to go with option #1 or #2. Because these are maternity jeans I know I'll never wear them with heels, so I would never need them to be long again.
To be kind to my serger, I cut the seam in the excess fabric. I didn't want to risk breaking my needle.

Then I serged just to the RIGHT of my stitch line, all the way around the pants leg.

I would prefer to have serged with darker thread, but white is all I have and "beggars can't be choosers"! :)
When finished, turn hem down and press!!

Here is the finished product:
If you look closely, you can see the seam in the pants leg on top. Trust me, it is not noticeable if you're not looking for it. And I don't know many people that get on the ground to inspect other's hems so you should be safe! :) The pants leg on bottom {in above picture} shows the INSIDE of the pants leg after it has been stitched...before I serged it.
While I had the energy, I also hemmed my maternity jogging pants. I didn't use quite the same technique because of the difference in material. Instead, I cut off my excess fabric first. Saving an inch to fold up as a new hem.

Then I serged my raw edge:

Made a cuff...then measured, pinned, and pressed at 1".

I changed my needle to a "Jersey" needle and used a zig-zag stitch along the edge of my serge.

And finally, I pressed my finished product!
I LOVE this new method I've discovered and it's doubtful I'll ever return to the traditional method of hemming.

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