Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tutorial: How to Hem a Pair of Pants

Okay, you probably know how to hem your pants.  But I was snapping shots of it anyways and figured it would be good practice to post them in a tutorial format.  Of course, I was the only person around so they're all first person, excuse the weird camera angles.

Also I should note that there are many ways to hem pants, and this is just how I happen to do it.  I am lucky have a machine with a special blind hem setting.

Say you have a pair of pants that is way too long.  Sometimes I just ignore the fact that my pants are way too long and just trod around on them until they look like this:
To avoid tattered hems, hem your pants.  The more you do the better you'll get.
First, put your pants on and roughly pin up the hem to where you want it.

Take them off, measure how far up your pin is, and then mark that length all around the pant leg. In my case it was about 6".  Once you've made a ring of chalk on your pant leg at the 6" mark, pin it up and try it on again just to be sure.

 Make sure you sit down in it and make sure you are okay with how much it rides up.  When I was a kid I somehow always ended up with what we called "highwaters," pants that rode up too high when you sat and were "uncool."  So I always check how they look when I'm seated, and then I always error on the side of too long.
 You can also measure it up against another pair of pants that you know is the right length.  In this case the grey pair is actually the exact same style of pants, I loved it so much I went back for more.

 Hey, 6" again! Great, now I can feel more confident in my original pinning.  But just because I always error on the side of too lone, I mark 5.5" instead.
 Next, the scariest part: cutting!  Here I marked a chalk line at 5.5" and another at 4".  I am going to cut at the 4" and fold the remaining bit under.  If you don't feel comfortable cutting, you don't have to.  Case in point: that grey pair in the preceding photos has like 5" of hem folded under it because I was afraid to cut.
 Then fix up that raw edge so it doesn't fray.  Here I used an overlock stitch, my mom usually just zigzags.
Now, fold it to your final hem line (for me, that 5/5" chalk line) and iron the heck out of it!

 Sidetrack! While ironing my pants on my ironing board, I set down the iron on the rug and it lost its balance and fell over onto a plastic shopping bag.  Oops.
 Perfect opportunity to use my iron cleaning kit.  When I got my iron for Christmas, as I opened it I said "First thing I'm going to do is get some of that iron cleaning stuff."  My mom had anticipated me and had it waiting in a second present!

anyways, this stuff was nice because it came with a terry cloth for the actually cleaning and then the green felt cloth to make sure all of the cleaning fluid got off the iron.  Worked like a charm!
 *Ahem.*  Back to blind hems.  I always have to refer to this diagram in my Bernina users manual for how to fold the pants.  The Bernina has a special blind hem foot and blind hem stitch.  You probably don't need a fancy foot, but hopefully your machine has the stitch. Otherwise you could probably manage it with a zig-zag stitch that spaced out wide apart.
 So: fold your pants inside out.  Then, flip your newly ironed hem under so that just a bit of that raw edge is exposed.  This is the trickiest part.

I like to pin and in this case since the pants were pinstriped it was really easy to ensure that everything was straight.
 Stitch away!
 And here we have my perfect length pants.  :)


  1. I have yet to hem a pair of pants!I usually wear them long just as you described! I really hope I get the urge to hem after reading your tutorial. It didn't look very hard or that time consuming. I'll let you know if I get the courage!!

    1. I always used to sort of put off hemming as long as possible, and the first few times I tried, it did take a while and was frustrating. Hopwfully this tutorial will prevent that from happening to you!

      But it's definitely something that once you get, it's super easy. I was really surprised by how quickly and easily I was able to get these pants done. :)