Monday, April 11, 2011

getting the perfect fit: hemming your jeans

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Since it's now a well established fact that I'm "close to the ground," it goes without saying that I've hemmed a LOT of pants in my day.  There are few things in life that I'm really anal about, but hemming my jeans is one of them.  All it takes is a 1/4" inch in either direction, and I just can't take it.

There's lots of methods here, I'm sure.  This just happens to be the way that I do it.

STEP 1:  Remove the original hem

This one's pretty self-explanatory.  Grab a seam-ripper and start picking out those stitches.

Now, this step isn't always necessary.  If your jeans are long enough, you can just start with the second step and cut off any excess fabric, including the original hem.  Because I really like these jeans, and I know that Gap jeans tend to shrink in length over many washings, I chose to keep as much fabric in the hem as possible, so that I can adjust them if need be.

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STEP 2:  Pin to your desired length

Now that the original hem it out, you can see how crazy long these things were!  Since I know that I will only be wearing these jeans with my wedges, I made sure to pin them with the shoes on.  It's easier to have someone do this for you, but it's also very easy to do on your own.  Basically, just stand in front of the mirror, turn the pants under and pin at your desired length.  I only do this to one pant leg and just make the other to match.

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STEP 3:  Measure the hem and pin for sewing

Once you have everything pinned at the right length, take the pants off (did I really have to mention that step?), grab a measuring device, and measure how much you turned the hem up.  It will usually be different in the front and the back, but in my experience, the front measurement is the one you'll want to go with.  Once you decide on an exact measurement for the new hem, measure and pin both pant legs (turning the raw edge into the hem as you go).  Now, do yourself a favor ... go try the jeans on.  I skipped this step, and they were about 1/4" too long.  So, I ended up redoing them.  No fun.

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STEP 4:  Stitch it in

Now, you tried them on, right?  Everything where you want them?  Okay.

Throw those suckers in your sewing machine and stitch away.  If you don't have a sewing machine, you can do this my hand.  That's how I hemmed all of my jeans my freshman year of college.  Takes a little more time, but works just the same.

Once you're done sewing, remove the pins, cut the extra thread off and hit the new hem with an iron.  The ironing is key to keeping them looking like you did it yourself ... even though you just did.

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Tada!  That's it!  All there is to it!  Easy peasy!

Like I said, since I didn't follow my own instructions, I ended up taking this up just a hair.  I also chose to stitch the new hem with dark blue thread instead of yellow.  It's a really minor detail, but in my mind, it was less intrusive to the leg line.  Hey, when your legs are this short, you'll do anything!

Hope this helps you find a perfect fit with your denim.
Feel free to email or comment with any questions.  xoxo

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