You always knew when someone bought their jeans at a second-hand store, particularly if they were shorter. They had the “tailored pants” hem, rather than the rugged visible golden thread hem that you’d usually see on jeans.
Clipping and sewing them with similar colored thread still never gives that same store bought appearance you’d have with ones that were never altered.
Don’t stop saving money by purchasing jeans at thrift shops, when there’s a very easy way to get the look of new jeans that are of perfect length. It’s as easy as pie once you know the secret, but you’ll have to get out your sewing machine for this one unless you’re extremely adept at hand stitching.
The first step is establishing the length you want your jeans to be. Each type of jean has a different length where they look their best. For instance, boot cut jeans look their best when they’re ¼ to /2 inches off the floor, while skinny jeans need to end at about the top of the ankle and straight legs just below the ankle.
Of course, the type of shoes you’ll wear with the jeans makes a difference, so when you’re pinning them, put on the shoes you’re going to wear.
You’ll be turning the bottom edge of the jean up with the inside of the jean showing and the original hem ½ inch above the spot where you want the length.
Fold both sides up to the correct position and put a straight pin in both the front and back to hold the position before you remove them.
The length will end up being the width of the original hem lower than the spot where you sew it. You can put the pins in horizontally and turn the hem inside the pants to ensure you have the right length or sew it first and check.
Just make sure you don’t cut off the extra fabric until you’re sure the length is correct. You’ll also want to make sure the side seams of both legs are the same length.
It’s time to put the sewing machine to work. This technique allows you to use any color thread you like, but I use thread that’s the same color of the pants. It doesn’t matter since the thread won’t show. If you have a machine that allows you to remove the front piece, do so, so you can fit the hem of the jean around it.
Slowly begin sewing the new seam directly under the original seam. You’ll only have the thickness of one layer of material of fabric, except at the side seams, on both the top and the bottom, which should help you locate the spot to sew.
Once both legs are complete, turn the seams fold the extra material inside the leg to try them on again. You can iron the jeans before you do this to get a better idea of how it looks.
If you’re shortening jeans for children, you may want to leave the excess fabric on the pants to adjust as the child grows taller. However, if the jeans are own, once you’re the length is correct, it’s time to cut off excess fabric.
You’ll need to zigzag the edge to prevent it from fraying. You can use the machine for this.
If you haven’t already ironed the hem flat, it’s time to do so. You’ll have the original hem showing and simply iron it, so it stays flat and the excess fabric doesn’t create bulk.
You may need to do this again, anyway, even if you’ve already ironed before you sewed it. When you iron it, it makes all the difference in how it looks.
Even though you can barely see the second seam when you look very closely, no one will be that close to your ankles to see it.