Have you ever purchased a new pair of jeans to find that they are simply too long? This is a common problem and it can make finding a new pair of pants a real challenge. Today I’m sharing my tips on how to easily hem jeans along with an easy-to-follow video tutorial!
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How to Easily Hem Jeans
I first shared this post on my original blog, Designers Sweet Spot, years ago. It quickly became one of my most popular posts and was featured on many other blogs. Purchasing jeans that are slightly too long seems to be a very common problem. Luckily for you, it’s a quick fix! You’ll be wearing your new (properly fitting) jeans in no time.
1. Try on your jeans. Be sure to wash and dry them before any fitting or hemming as this will affect the fit. Fold up the hem to the desired end length.
2. Carefully change out of the jeans while being sure the rolled hem stays in place along the bottom edge. Measure the amount you rolled up. The rolled hem on my jeans was 2 1/2″.
3. Turn the jeans inside out while matching the leg seams and smoothing out the fabric. Because denim is so heavy, you will need to work with one leg at a time.
4. Calculate the amount of fabric to cut off by subtracting 1″ from your original measurement. This will compensate for the seam allowance needed for the hem. I needed to shorten my jeans 2 1/2″, so 2 1/2″-1″= 1 1/2″ for my total amount cut. You can now cut off the excess original hem.
5. Measure from the bottom of the pant leg and mark the cutting line with either a piece of tailor’s chalk or a lead pencil. Be sure your cutting line is parallel to the bottom of the pant leg, and cut off the excess fabric. You are now ready to hem the jeans.
6. While keeping the pant leg inside out, put the leg over the arm of the machine, turning back a 1/2 inch seam allowance. The presser foot is conveniently the same width. If you use it as a guide, you will not have to measure which will save time. Also, forget the straight pins. Pins ruin sewing machines, and you will be a much better sewer without them.
7. Finally, lower the presser foot and begin sewing. Do not start on the thick part of the side seam. Begin either slightly before or after the seam. Most machines will sew right through the thick seam without a problem as long as they have a running start. Center your needle in the seam allowance while continuing to sew around the entire pant leg. Once you reach the end, overlap the stitching slightly to lock it in place. Trim the excess threads, and remove the pant leg from the machine.
8. Repeat these steps for the second leg. Put on your freshly hemmed jeans and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for Denim
- Use a heavy duty denim needle for denim fabrics. I have broken more sewing machine needles than I can count by sewing jeans. Denim is by far the heaviest material I ever work with. I recently noticed you can buy packages of needles just for denim. Pick up a package or two to have on hand when you need them.
- Always use a new needle for each pair of jeans as needles get dull very quickly on fabrics like this. It will save you lots of headaches if you use a new, sharp needle each time you sew with denim. It may seem like overkill, but trust me, it’s worth it.
- Purchase 100% cotton thread when working on jeans. The thread that is designed for machine quilting works well as it’s strong enough to use when sewing on denim. I usually use black or navy for hemming. You don’t have to match the gold top stitching that most jeans have, in fact, I think it looks better if you don’t.
- Don’t bother pressing your jeans. After you have hemmed your jeans, wash and dry them as usual. They will look and also feel great. The new stitches will blend in with the fabric as if they were always there. Besides, pressed jeans are just weird.
Hemming Video Tutorial
I hope this post has answered all of your questions about how to easily hem jeans. It really is such a simple process. After the first pair, you will feel confident enough to hem your jeans while closing your eyes. (Although, I certainly wouldn’t recommend that.)
Looking for even more projects that include denim? Here are a few other posts you will certainly enjoy:
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