8 May 2020

Faulty Fashion: How to shorten your jeans saving the original hem


Your jeans are too long? Don't spend another day of constantly stepping on the hem until it rips - take a few minutes and fix it! I show you how to achieve the perfect length in this post.

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem pinterest like a professional

Did you know? I have a whole series of posts on how to fix your clothes!
Got a hole in your favourite shirt?
The jeans you love so much ripped apart?
You don't have to throw it away. There are many ways to fix your clothes easy and fast.

Faulty Fashion is a series of posts to help you when your clothes have flaws.
So far this includes the following posts:

faulty fashion how to fix broken torn clothes garments tutorial series hem jeans make pants trousers shorter shortening sewing diy minn's things


How to shorten your pants and get the perfect length - every time! 

There are many posts on how to shorten jeans out there, but I was not satisfied with them - when I tried other's tutorials, my jeans often turned out in the wrong length! Some were too short, others remained too long. So here's my way of shortening jeans, easy and fast, and you'll always get the perfect length. 

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem before too long excess length
Before - this hem is way too long! 

1. Put on the pants - and move!

Sounds simple, and it is! Put the pants on the right way. It is important that you move around a bit, so that the pants sit exactly like they would normally. Otherwise the result may differ, so don't skip this part. You may not notice it, but as you move around your pants may shift more or less. Make sure you sit down and bend over a few times.  

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem step 1 2 putting on moving
Step 2 - Mark the desired length

2. Define and mark the desired length

Now that your pants sit perfectly it's time to decide on the length you want to have and mark it on the right side (the visible outside of your pants). I like my pants to end at the ankles. Use either chalk (make sure it's removable), pins or safety pins. Bend over, knees remaining as straight as possible, and mark where your pants should end. If you have trouble bending down, ask someone to help you for this step. You should mark the length at least at the front, back and both sides, as chances are you do not need to remove equal length allover. Ideally mark the whole length all around.
Then you can take off the pants.
I have marked the length on these jeans using tailor's chalk. If you don't have that you can also use a bar of soap or a softlead pencil - both should be visible enough and wash out easily. If you marked the length with pins I recommend you now trace the line, but if you are careful you can work with the pins as well.

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem step 3 measuring
Step 3 - Measure the original hem

3. Measure the original hem and transfer the width to get your reference line

This is a step many tutorials don't include and if you don't do this you will get a different length than wanted - ask me how I know. Take a ruler and measure the width of your pants' original hem. In my case this was 1,4cm. Then add that exact width on top of your marked line - upwards, towards the knee. Mark it on the right side, same as your first line. Experienced sewists may be able to eyeball it, but I recommend you do the marking. The first (bottom) line is where you will sew, while this new (upper) line is your reference for the next step. 

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem step 3 transfering
Step 3 - Transfer the width of the orignal hem (on top of the first line)

4. Fold the hem upwards to your reference line

Your pants are still right side out. Flip the hem upwards until it hits your reference line - the second line you made. The hem will cover up the first line. Make sure the hem lines up with the reference line over the whole length and pin it. Again, experienced sewists may not need pins, but I recommend it if you do this for the first time and/or do not sew regularly.

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem step 4 folding up
Step 4 - Fold the hem upwards until it meets the (upper) reference line

5. Sew it - stitch in the ditch

Now the most important part, the sewing. If you don't have access to a sewing machine, this can also easily be done by hand. The thread colour does not matter, as it will not be visible on the outside. If you have measured accurately in step 3 the seam you will sew now lines up perfectly with the first line you marked in step 2. You need to 'stitch in the ditch'.
Explanation for those who don't know that term (yet): If you look at the original hem of your pants, you will notice it is folded two times. The 'ditch' is where the inner fold meets up with the rest of the fabric, it is exactly where the right side of the fold and the wrong side of the rest of the leg meet.
Sew as close to the fold as you can, but don't actually catch it. This way your new hem will look best.

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem step 5 stitching in the ditch
Step 5 - Stitch in the ditch

6. Optional - trim the seam allowance

If you like, you can now trim the excess fabric. Or you leave it, which saves the opportunity to restore some (or all) of the length later on, in case you give it away, made a mistake, or grow. I like to keep my seam allowances. I don't grow - obviously - but I like to keep that reserve and especially with other's tutorials this proved very useful as it happened to me more than once, that I removed to much length at first. Saves some time as well! If you do remove it, don't forget to serge or zigzag the new ends to prevent fraying. 

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem step 7 turning ironing
Step 7 - Turn and iron it

7. Finish it - turning and ironing

That's already the last step, woohoo! All that's left for you to do is turn the new seam allowance inside, so that the original hem is straight outside and iron it. Seriously, iron it, this step is very important to get a crisp edge and keep the hem where it should be. Depending on your fabric, use the hottest possible setting with steam and press for 20-30 seconds on each side. Use a spray bottle and spray water on it if you don't have steam. Use a cotton sheet on top to protect delicate types of fabric. If you have a tailor's clapper, press the hot seam for another 30 seconds for extra crispness. If you don't have a tailor's clapper, get one now. If you don't want to spend so much money, make one yourself, as I did (mine is just a leftover piece of a raw beechwood table). 

minn's things faulty fashion how to shorten jeans pants tutorial saving original hem finished after
After - Look at this perfect length hem! 

Aaand it's done! Finished! Enjoy your jeans in perfect length.
Leave a comment if this tutorial helped you, or if you find you have a better way - I'd love to discuss it! And don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter here to receive more tipps, reviews and tutorials!

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2 comments

  1. Brilliant! I am 5"4 and always struggle to find the correct trouser length. So I end up rolling the hem or ruining the actual material as it scratches the ground. Great post!👍

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Funny, I'm 5"4 too :D so I totally know what you mean.

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