More jeans, hems and waists

I was speaking to someone last week who was looking for a specific length of jeans. Most shops offer jeans in different lengths, usually giving inside leg measurements: petite 28″, short 30″, regular 32″ (this is the most popularly supplied inside leg measurement) and long 34″. If I like a particular pair of jeans, and they’re only available in the regular length, I will still buy them, but that’s because I can redo the hem myself.

To create a good jeans hem try using Guttermann threads as they offer a slightly heavier weight of thread which is a good match for the thread jeans are manufactured with. Or I sometimes use a decorative stitch on my sewing machine, using the normal weight of thread, but the stitch moves over itself and gives the impression of a heavy thread. The more difficult thing to duplicate on a new hem is the worn look. Normal wear and washing will help but after I’ve sewn the new hem (always double turned regardless of the depth) I press them using a combination of steam and dry with a very hot iron. If it works then at least it gives you the impression of the hem showing through.

If you make the mistake of buying jeans that are too short, and this is always worse for boot cut and flared jeans because it makes them feel like they’re flapping round your ankles. These can be fixed by unpicking the stitching of the hems. This will give you a good extra inch onto the length of them. You should lightly press these flat. I’ve noticed several jeans with the hems treated like this in the shops already! I spend my non- working life in jeans so I’ve become very particular about them. I’ve spent time and effort, past and present on making my jeans fit properly. In fact I’ve removed entire waistbands, reshaped the hips and copied all the top stitching when putting the Jean back together- and they still haven’t sat nicely!?

My most recent solution is to simply take a dart out of each side of the backs. I make sure they sit in the same position on both back pieces and nip in and pin the amount with the person in them. The dart goes through the waistband and stops before the yoke seam which is far too bulky to include in the dart shaping. Apart from the greater comfort, you can loose the belt, and you never really notice the seam when you’re wearing them. I have a pair adjusted like this at the moment and they’re still good to wear!


4 thoughts on “More jeans, hems and waists

  1. Hya Lynda, I have altered my jeans like this for a long time now. It works well and as you say, the jeans are really comfortable. I have also done it with trousers when I wear tops not tucked in.


    1. Hi, yes it’s a good method. I rarely wear anything but trousers or jeans so being able to adjust them like this is great! Even when I think I’ve found the “perfect pair” and buy another the same, but in a different colour, they’re never the same??


  2. If you have the opposite problem; too small in the waist but fit fine elsewhere but just letting out the seams probably won’t give enough room, what would be the solution for that? Could you maybe add gussets? Kind of the same idea as the darts but too add room rather than take away.


    1. Adding a gusset would work, but there are two other methods I would try. Take off the waistband and add an extra piece of scrap denim to the end of the waistband that sits underneath with the button on. You can usually remove the button with pliers. The plaquet is usually about 3cm so you can gain this onto the waist. Stretch the waistband when sewing back onto the jeans. Another method I often use, I can put on images later, is to remove the waistband and using a piece of vest top t-shirt fabric cut a waistband and have elastic running through it! This is a very comfortable method. If you take out the zip they simply become jegging!


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