Finding the perfect pair of jeans can be a challenge. The joy of laying your hands on a pair that fits perfectly at the waist, has exactly the right amount of stretch, and makes you look perky in all of the right places is often dampened by overly long jean legs. Some jeans have what looks and feels like masses of material pooling around your ankles, drowning your feet, and making a smart pair of jeans look slouchy and untidy. This does not mean that you cannot buy these jeans. Long jeans can be hemmed easily so that they are the perfect length for you.
Learning how to hem jeans is not as much trouble as it seems. It can be done with or without a sewing machine, so you do not even need to know how to sew. The secret lies in measuring the jeans and preparing them properly. Jeans can be hemmed with a sewing machine, by hand, or with iron-on hemming tape. The results should be evaluated before any excess material is cut away. Sewing supplies are available from craft and sewing shops, and from sites such as eBay.
Measure Jeans to Find the Right Length
This version of hemming the jeans results in the original hem, with any decorative stitching, still being on display at the end of the process. Wash new jeans before hemming them to allow the fabric to settle. Bear in mind that different heel heights require different jean lengths. Some women will buy two pairs of the same jeans, if they find a style that they really like, and hem one pair for flats and one for heels. So, it is best to measure the jeans while wearing the shoes that you will wear with them most often.
Put on the jeans while wearing the shoes and fold the hem up to where you would like the jeans to sit. Take the jeans off and measure from the bottom of the fold to the bottom of the original hem. Divide this measurement by two. For example, if the measurement is 3 inches, divide by 2 to get 1.5 inches. Do not include the original hem in your measurements because this will still be on display when you finish hemming the jeans. Unfold the legs of the jeans so that they are at their full length again.
Prepare Jeans for Hemming
Fold each leg as far as the results obtained in the previous section. In other words, pin the legs with the fold 1.5 inches from the bottom of the original hem, always remembering that the original hem will be on show at the end of the process. Make sure that the distance is the same all the way around the leg by measuring carefully before each pin is inserted. The pins should be placed an inch or so apart. Once both legs have been pinned the trousers are ready for hemming.
Hem Jeans with a Sewing Machine
Use thread that matches the colour of the denim. Make sure that the sewing machine has a zip foot attached. Allow the zip foot to run as close as possible to the original hem without stitching into it. Stitch all the way around the leg. Once both legs have been sewn, turn the folded end the right way out. The original hems are intact, but the jeans have been shortened by the desired amount. Iron the hems in place for a perfect finish.
How to Hem Jeans by Hand
Although hemming by hand can take some time, the difficult work is done once the jean legs have been pinned as in the previous steps. Use thread that is the same colour as the denim and sew along the edge of the original hem, taking care not to stitch through both layers of the legs or to stitch the jeans to whatever you are wearing. Once both hems are complete, fold the legs down and iron the hem. As with the machine hemming method, the original hem remains intact.
Hem Jeans Without Sewing
Fusible web tape, also known as hemming tape, can be used to hem jeans. Simply fold the jeans as before, place the tape between the two surfaces that must be joined together, and follow the ironing instructions included with the tape. If the jeans have been cut to shorten them, place the tape as close as possible to the frayed edge of the fabric. Once the hem has cooled, gently pull on the fabric to see whether it needs to be ironed for a longer time to make the tape stick.
Hem Jeans with Flared Legs
Jeans with flared legs may not hem as neatly as those with straight legs using the methods described above. Fold and pin the jeans to see if they can be hemmed neatly. If not, then a different method may be required to hem the jeans. The easiest method is to cut the jeans shorter and create a new hem. Remember to leave an inch or two for the hem when cutting the jeans. If the jeans have an extra wide hem, it is wise to unpick it before cutting so that you do can avoid cutting through two layers of fabric.
If the hem is quite decorative, then cut the original hem off, give the jeans a new hem, then reattach the old hem using a sewing machine. It may be necessary to open the side seam to finish off the look and to make the bottom of the jeans look neat. These methods are generally only needed when hemming jeans with a very wide flare. Bootleg and straight jeans can usually be hemmed without removing the original hem.
Evaluating Hemmed Jeans
Once the jeans have been hemmed, try them on to see whether they are the right length. If they are not, it may be necessary to unpick the hem and start all over again, because it can sometimes take more than one try to make the jeans perfect. Remember to try them on with shoes. If the hem is in the right place, consider trimming off any excess fabric to reduce the bulk, especially if the jeans have been shortened by more than two inches. However, when hemming children’s jeans consider keeping the excess fabric so that the jeans can be lengthened as the child grows. If you do not want to trim off excess fabric, consider adding a few stitches in strategic places to keep the hem in place on the inside of the jeans.
Buying Sewing Supplies on eBay
Sewing supplies, from thread to sewing machines, are available from eBay sellers. Simply type a keyword or phrase, such as "Singer sewing machine", into the search bar located on every page to find exactly what you are looking for. Refine your search results by choosing the most appropriate category and characteristics. If you would like more control over your search, use the advanced search function for additional options.
Before You Buy on eBay
Learn all that you can about the item and the seller before you buy on eBay. You can find all of the information that you need to do this on the item listing page. Click on an individual listing to see information about the item along with some photographs. The listing should also include the postage and packaging costs, the seller’s accepted payment methods, the possibility of local collection, the seller’s returns policy, and the seller’s feedback. Click on the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller if you have any questions.
The seller feedback and detailed seller ratings features are designed to let you learn about the seller. Seller feedback gives basic information from other buyers about a specific seller’s products and customer service. Detailed seller ratings include information about the seller’s communication, the accuracy of the item description in the listing, whether the postage and packaging fees were reasonable, and how long the seller took to dispatch the item. Click on the number next to the seller’s username to view this information.
Finding the perfect pair of jeans is often marred by jean legs that are too long, especially for shorter women. However, this does not have to put you off buying the jeans. Hemming a pair of jeans is simple and can be done with a sewing machine, by hand, or with fusible hemming tape without removing or losing the original hem and altering the look of the jeans. The most important part of hemming jeans is measuring correctly. This includes measuring while wearing the shoes that the jeans will be worn with most frequently, and pinning the right amount of fabric in place before putting the hem up.
The hem should be sewn along the old hem, but not into it. Those who are hesitant about trimming excess fabric can secure the extra fabric in place with a few well placed stitches. If jeans have been shortened by more than two inches it is usually a good idea to trim the excess fabric to remove any bulk from the hem. If the hem curls up after washing, simply iron it back in place. Remember to iron the jeans for the best effect. eBay sellers offer a range of sewing supplies, from the basics required for hand sewing to more advanced sewing equipment.