It’s time. Time to finally put out a tutorial on one of the most needed alterations out there.
I’ve kind of put off this tutorial because, well, I hate hemming pants. I like living fast and fancy-free with my sewing, and hemming requires a little bit more preparation and a slower pace to get right. On the plus side, it’s not terribly hard. So, because I love you guys, let’s get to hemming pants.
Note: For this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to do a normal hem. This is the type of hem you will do for pants like chinos. That means you will see the stitches when you are done. Therefore, I don’t suggest you do these on your trousers like your suit pants. For those, you’ll want to either just use hem tape (which can be problematic but super fast and easy) or do a blind hem.
Also, I don’t suggest doing these for jeans, since you’ll lose that unique stitching at the bottom. This also goes for chinos with that distressed look at the bottom. To save those, you’ll have to go with another technique, which I’ll try to get to soon.
If you’re going to be super anal, you’ll want to go out and get thread that closely matches your pants. If not, decide whether or not black/white thread works best.
Our first step is determining just how long you want your pants to be. For these, I’ll crop them so they have just the tiniest of breaks. Once you have an idea of where you want them to be, fold the excess material into the pant leg and pin at the ideal length.
Once you have them pinned, take them off and iron the new crease. Check and make sure the legs are even. At this point, you’ll want to decide how big of a hem you want. I’ll stick with the original 1” hem for these pants. After you figure that out, flip your pants inside out and measure to where you’ll put your hem. You have two options:
1) If your new hem line doesn’t reach your old hem line, and you still have about 1/4-1/2” of fabric left over, you can just straight cut the excess material off now.
2) If you don’t meet those requirements, you’ll have to unstitch the old hem, then fold out the excess material. Once again, trim off the extra, leaving about 1/4-1/2”.
The arrow is pointing to where I’m going to put my new hem. As you can see, there’s about 1/4” of excess fabric before I get to the old hem. Therefore, I’m going to cut just underneath the old hem.
You’ll want to fold the excess material into itself and iron that down.
Now, on my machine, there are ruler markings listed out:
I don’t know if all machines have this, although I would assume so. If your machine doesn’t, you’ll want to probably use a ruler and carefully trace out a straight line where you are going to put the hem. At the very least, use something like the side of the plate to use as a visual reference so you can keep your line straight.
Put the pant leg into the machine at the correct hem length and start sewing. Make absolutely sure that you only have one part of the leg and the excess fabric in. You don’t want to sew the leg shut. And now you start sewing. Slowly.
Seriously, you want to go slow. If you don’t, you’ll get a crazy jagged line that looks awful. As you go along, you’ll have to rotate the pants, making sure you are still maintaining the proper height for the hem line. When you get to the seams, you may have a little trouble going over the excess so be prepared for that. Once you get back to your starting spot, clip the threads. Start on the next leg.
Here’s the finished product. Like I said, it goes kind of slow but it’s a fairly easy procedure. For Friday, I’ll post an article about how to take in the waist of your pants.
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- wiwtwg said: Probably should note the blind hem stitch is the most commonly accepted dress pants hem. A little more difficult, the thread color matters and you have to make good friends with your machine, but professional results.
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