Hemming jeans: how NOT to break needles!

Ever tried to sew the hem on a pair of readywear jeans after you just shortened them ? Chances are you broke a couple of needles trying to do it. I have . The hem won’t match the original stitching and looks out of place as well.  I found this shortcut, which gives a better looking result, on the Internet some years ago. Finally got to try it out on my dad’s new jeans .

This is how it works. A tuck (the width of your excess trouser length) is made just above the hem, facing the wrong side. The excess fabric is then trimmed off and neatened according to one’s preference . This preserves the original hem. The tuck line is inconspicuous and no one is going to be inspecting your jeans hem that closely anyway!

Here are some pictures showing how I did this.

mark excess length , fold at mark and pin. Sew down the middle of this fold

I marked the finished length I wanted on the inside of the leg, then folded the fabric to the outside along this line. I then pinned it in place and sewed down the centre of the fabric to make a tuck half the width of the folded fabric.

images rim excess fabric and neaten edge with serger , overlock or  zigzag stitch

Press well, all done ! The tuck line is hardly visible.

I don’t have a serger, so I simply zigzagged next to my first line of stitching and then cut off the excess fabric. A good press and the hem looks good from the outside , and the jeans are the right length now !

This method worked because the amount I needed to take off was only about 5 cm . If a longer length needed to be reduced , then this might not work because of the way the leg tapers down to the hem. And again stitching down the middle of the fold might leave the tuck line higher up and hence more visible. So in that case one would have to do some more calculations and work out the correct position and width of the tuck.


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