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Sewing, Style & Creative Writing
  • Designing New Hems on Jeans

    Posted on 12/06/2013 by David in Tutorials.

    Following my last post on Flower Power Jeans, I thought I would spread the Flower Power love and share some tips with you on how to emulate the look!

    Your mission, should you decide to accept it, involves designing new hems in a different choice of fabric than your own pair of jeans (don’t worry if you fancy something else than flowers as long as it makes you happy!).

    I personally fancied a shorter style suitable for summer but my instructions will also help you if:

    -You have a pair of jeans you particularly like that are too short for you.

    -The hems on your jeans are totally worn out and you don’t have enough or any fabric left from your jeans to recreate the desired length.


    We’ve got 10 steps to go through to give your jeans a well-deserved makeover. Are you ready? Let’s start!


    STEP 1

    -The first step is to put your jeans on and decide how long or short you want them. As I wanted my jeans to finish just below the knees, I pinned that area which I marked with a piece of chalk on the wrong side of the jeans, measuring carefully that distance from the hem and finally traced an even line for both sides of each leg. I drew 2 lines on purpose, the first one being the cutting line, the 2nd one being the 1,5cm (5/8”) seam allowance – which didn’t need drawing really.

    -If your jeans are too short and you want to lengthen them, it’s important to start thinking of the design of your jeans and how much extra fabric you want to add (this is the fun part of this project!). Bear in mind that whichever length you cut from your jeans will have to be compensated by the length of your new hem unless you want a shorter style like Crop or Capri jeans. If your hems are really worn out, you may not want to bother undoing them and cut straight through them instead, and then work out how much new fabric you require to achieve the length you want. And don’t hesitate to pin the new fabric on your jeans first and try them on until you’re satisfied with how it looks on you!


    STEP 2

    Cut the required length that you won’t need for your jeans & discard (or keep for future projects as I usually do!)


    STEP 3

    -Time to cut your new hems on the fabric of your choice! First make sure your jeans are still on the wrong side and lying very flat before measuring the width of the leg on the area you’ve just cut. Multiply your measurement by 2 to cover the back side; this represents the width of new fabric you will need to cut. As explained in Step 1, the height of your new hem is entirely up to you as long as it fits your requirements but do add up an extra 1,5cm (5/8”) to your measurements on each side for seam allowances.

    -Once cut, pin the short edges right sides together using 1,5cm (5/8”) seam allowance. We will call this our fabric roll hem from now on.

    PS: The fabric I chose was quite thick but you may want to add interfacing to the wrong side of a thinner fabric to give it a bit extra weight.



    STEP 4

    Press the seams open. Overlock these seams for a cleaner look or use zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.


    STEP 5

    Turn the wrong side of one of the fabric roll hem edges over by 1,5cm (wrong sides meeting) and press. Turn half the pressed side over again and press one more time or pin. The picture above shows you the first fold (top finger) and then the second/double fold (bottom finger…no giggling here!)


    STEP 6

    Stitch the double fold of your fabric roll hem a little bit away from the edge.


    STEP 7

    Make sure your jeans are on the wrong side. Leave your fabric roll hem on the wrong side and put it over one of your jeans legs making sure the raw edges of your jeans are matching the raw edges of your fabric roll hem. Pin and sew at 1,5cm (5/8”) away from the edges.

    PS: If you have a specific design you want to show, make sure you place it at the front of jeans where it will be seen.


    STEP 8

    Pull the fabric roll hem out and press firmly the seams towards your jeans (seams not shown in the picture as I pressed on the right side of the fabric).


    STEP 9 (Optional)

    This step is optional but I also stitch the above seams to the jeans part (again I stitch on the right side so you can’t see them on the above picture). This is called understitching and it creates a neater and easier fold between the 2 fabrics when you turn your fabric roll hem over.


    STEP 10

    Turn your fabric roll hem over the right side of your jeans making sure this is all nicely folded and press. You now only have to pin the top of your hem against the right side of your jeans and stitch. Et voilà!

    Feel free to use denim thread and experiment with stitch length on your sewing machine for a nice effect (number 3 or 4 usually works best). I personally used a double thread matching the 2 colours of my fabric hem.


    And the final result is as follows…

    I have used the same fabric to patch a hole and fix the pocket facings. There are so many beautiful and interesting fabrics that can be combined with jeans to make them even more interesting, whether new or worn out. I hope you will have some creative fun with that project! 🙂

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