This little technique has saved me hundreds of dollars! I'm not even kidding. My alterations place charges $25 for a jean hem using the original hem. Ouch! I'm only 5'2 so you can imagine the dent this can make in my wallet. I have tried the whole fold the jean over and stitch as close to the seam trick and, to be honest, I hate it! While inspecting a friend's jeans who had just had them altered, I figured out the trick. This may look daunting, but, believe me, it's not. It's really quite simple once you get the hang of it. The five most important tools needed to accomplish this task are:
a seam ripper
a ruler of some sort to measure. My favorite, by far, is the sewing guage. A must!
Jean thread. I get my thread from JoAnn's. The only thread I ever buy from there is Gutermann's. They have three different colors of Jean thread. I have all three and I wish they had even more of a selection. Oh I wish they had really light blue. A pair of scissors and, lastly, you will need to pull out that trusted sewing machine!
Measuring is the MOST important part of this project. Please, please make sure you measure right. You will need to try on your jeans with the tallest shoes you will wear them with. Fold them up where you want them and remove them to do the pencil marking. With this sort of hemming, you will cut your jeans off at exactly the length you wish them to be. If you are unsure, always go a bit longer. Once you cut, you cannot add more length. Be careful!! The best way to mark your jeans is to figure out, in inches, the amount you would like cuttoff. I then measure all of the way around from the bottom of the jeans.
This is how it looks once you have marked completely around the jeans. I do not draw a line, but you can if you want.
Pick up your scissors and make a tiny slit right on one of your markings.
This is about how big I make my slit.
Slide your scissors into the slit and cut around the jeans, kind of like dot to dot, but slit to slit.
Once you've completed cutting around the jeans, pick up the cut off part and cut down the jean, I usually do this by the seam. Cut down until you are about a half inch away from the top of the original hem, as pictured.
I then cut all of the way around the jean, 1/2 inch away from the top of the hem.
This is how the hem now looks and it's almost ready to reattach.
Before we can reattach, we must rip out the original stitching. Do this by sliding your seam ripper under the stitch and sliding it up and out until the thread snaps.
This is how the hem will now look after all of the stitches have been removed. This can kind of be a bugger sometimes. Especially on the two, thick seams on the sides. The above picture is of the piece right side out.
You now need to flip the hem inside out, as pictured.
Take your jeans and the orginal hem and lay the jeans on your lap.
I then cut two slits on either side of the thick seam. Just slit it and stop at the top of the fold. The reason I do this is because when I fold the jeans over again, as I will show you in the next picture, I don't want to have to stitch through that thick area of the jean.
Now take your hem and fold the cut side over to match up to the bottom of the other fold.
You will then take your jeans and lay it on top of the piece you just folded over, matching it up at the crease of the bottom of the hem. I really hope this makes sense.
This is the jean layed on top of the fold and then you will fold the piece that is under my thumb over the top of the jean. This sandwiches the jean in the middle of the hem. Pin this is place.
Do this all of the way around the leg, making sure you have the right seams matched up at the sides.
This is how it will look from the outside.
And this is how it looks from the inside.
Once you have pinned completely around, you are ready to sew into place.
I have to have my machine on the highest tension and make sure you have an extremely thick needle or it will not be able to make it through the thick seams. I usually begin right before the thickest piece. Begin stitching and make sure you back stitch before you continue on. As you stitch through the very thick seam, go very slowly. I have to go stitch by stitch. I cannot just press on my pedal, but I tap one stitch at a time, just through that really thick part.
Make sure that you are stitching close to the edge of the hem. I line my jeans up with the inside edge of the first, slender tab on my foot, as pictured above. This places the stitches in the perfect position. Just play around with it until you figure it out. Remember, if you mess up on this part, you can always take it out and start over. You will probably have to too. I did, but once I had done it once or twice, I can do it no problem!
Stitch completely around the leg, back stitching at the end, and this is the end result.
A professional hem that you did all on your own!
Please excuse the ugly cushion. I really do plan on recovering them in the future. Please let me know if something doesn't make sense. This is very hard to explain. Easy to do, but hard to explain.