I hope to write a series of jeans alteration tutorials. The first will focusing on hemming while preserving the original hem, almost invisibly. This is an easy technique once you know how and gives very nice results.
I will be demonstrating this technique with brown corduroys. I have also hemmed some jeans and they turn out even better.
The first step is to try on the jeans to be hemmed. Fold up the extra fabric and pin at center front so they are the desired length. Repeat at center back. Remove the jeans and measure the amount to be removed. In the jeans I'm demonstrating 7/8" or 2.2cm was removed. Divide the amount to remove in half, fold up the bottom edge by that measurement, and pin. The side seams are slightly shorter than the rest of the hem: keep the original hem straight and don't worry how much you've folded up at the seams. Try on the pinned jeans before sewing to double check the length.
|Amount to remove--7/8" or 2.2cm
|Fold up and pin 1.1cm or 7/16" (fun with fractions!)
|The hem is straight but the folded amount isn't even at side seams. This is what you want.
Alternately, you can measure the inseam of a well-fitting pair of jeans and pin the hem in the same way to achieve that length. Make sure you try them on, though, to double check the length. Many jeans have legs that are uneven in length so measuring up from the existing hem may give disappointing results.
Take off the jeans and, if you like, measure the inseam for future reference. Turn the jeans inside out and press the hem well with steam to flatten the layers. This will make sewing a little easier.
To sew the hem use a zipper foot and sew just next to the existing hem. I use all purpose poly thread and a stitch length of 2.25mm: short enough to be sturdy but long enough to pick out if necessary. Press from the inside with the tuck facing upward to flatten your new seam. Try on the jeans and congratulate yourself on a job well done!
The hem will look even better as you wash and wear the jeans. In the next tutorial I'll show more advanced hemming techniques.
|Use a zipper foot and sew just next to the existing hem.
|After sewing the new hem
|The new hem seam from the inside.
Top: Original hem, Bottom: New hem