Monday, March 17, 2014

Hemming jeans

Hemming a pair of jeans/pants is a type of alteration that isn't difficult, but procrastination usually sets in. I bought these pre-Christmas, so yeah, 3 months sitting on the mending pile qualifies as loafing.

These jeans (Kut brand: Nicole--high rise bootcut) are 77% polyester, 21% cotton, and 2% spandex--that little spandex provides plenty of stretch to accommodate the waistline and also hugs the legs just right.

First, I took out the original hem by removing all the stitches. I measured it and saw the fabric edge was turned up 1/2", folded another 1/2" and sewn. That equals 1" of fabric in the hem. I pressed the fabric flat to remove the fold lines and tried them on. I put on my highest-rise shoes, which are my Dankso clogs, and used a safety pin to mark the desired length. I pinned up about 2 inches, so I needed to trim 1" off the fabric edge before folding & sewing a new hem.

When altering, I err on the side of a longer length. For example, if my measurements vary from 2" - 2-1/4" or 2-1/2", I will go with the 2" and start from there. In this case, it was perfect. If I went any shorter, the length would be too short. Better a bit long than a bit short. I find this is true with other alterations. Start with a slight taking-in and increase it as you go, if necessary. Leave yourself a little room to work with.

I used a white chalk marker to draw a line 1/2" from the bottom edge of the right side of the fabric. I turned the edge to the wrong side of the fabric and pressed in place. Then I folded 1/2" again and pressed in place. The spandex provides a nice crease so pinning might not be necessary. Just hold carefully as you sew because the spandex also stretches along the fabric here. Don't pull as you sew or the hem will look wonky.

I used a 90/14 topstitch needle (a size 100 would be better) to accommodate the Dual Duty XP Heavy style thread. I set the stitch length to the longest setting (on my Bernina that is 5.0). The long stitch helps ease in the stretch and also mimics the original stitch design on the jeans. All the stitching is triple stitched so I stitched around the hem 3 times. In these photos, the thread looks more purple than it actually is.The photo above (taken without flash), shows a more accurate match--it does blend well with the dark denim.

Use the cut off piece to test thread tension. Generally, the bobbin needs to be a bit looser and the top thread slightly tighter than normal, but you might find the exact opposite is true using your own machine, needle, and thread. Test it and then you'll know how to make adjustments.

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

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