Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hemming And Hawing.

My first time hemming dress pants was today and I have to say it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  My pants are so long and they drag on the ground and wear out and even rip.  It's a sad state of things.  I have been meaning to take them to the dry cleaners and have them taken up, but I have a lot of pants and that would cost a lot!  I have this pretty nice sewing machine with all sorts of different chotchkies to do various stitches.  I figured it's time to learn how to do it myself!  If I can make a handbag, I can hem pants, darn it!  Turns out, it worked out that way.

If it were not for the internet and youtube, it would have taken a lot longer.  I'm a visualist and I needed to see how the pant hem gets folded for the blind hem stitch.  It's hard to visualize from the illustrations I've seen.  I found this great tutorital for that part of the process: Niler Taylor.  Thank you Niler! 

Anyway, there are a lot of videos on youtube that show you how to measure and cut and then hem but I had to get bits and pieces from various places to do it the way I wanted. 

Here's what I did.  I put the pants on and with shoes I normally wear them with and folded the hem under and pinned.  I readjusted to make sure they weren't too short (that would be bad).  I took the pants off, turned it inside out and measured the pinned material.  Once I found a measurement that looked good, in my case it was 3 inches folded up, I ironed to create the new bottom crease (do not iron with pins in).  Then I put the pants back on with the shoes for another spot check.  Once happy with the length, I again turned it inside out. Please measure and check multiple times!!!! I then cut the old crease to take off excess material.  Now I used my sewing machine to seam the just cut raw edge using the seam/overcast stitch.  That stitch makes a nice edge.  The next step is to fold the new crease and pin.  If you watch the video I mentioned earlier, you will see that the pins are pinned vertically instead of the usual horizontal pinning (like when pinning two pieces together). The vertical pinning makes the next step very easy.  Taking the folded and pinned crease you just worked on, fold the pinned material inward so the vertical pin heads stick up and the seemed/overcasted edge is on the inside ring of the pant leg and sticking up underneath the pinned material.  See video.  Once, I folded the inside-out-newly-creased-pinned pant hem, I then used the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine to create the blind hem.  The video does a great job of illustrating all of this much better than I ever could.  After sewing all of my pant legs with the blind hem stitch, I turned the pants right side out and ironed the new hem.  Of course, I tried the pants on again with shoes just to make sure everything went okay.  Happily, my first round of hemming went swimmingly! 

Close up of inside, newly cut and newly seemed/overcasted edge connected to outside by blind hem stitch.  Really good view of the seem/overcasting but not so great view for blind hem stitch.

 Here is what the blind hem stitch looks like on the outside of the pants

In addition to shortening my pants, I had another pair that had a cuff at the bottom that I used to get my high heel caught in all the time and almost killed myself a few times.  That cuff had to go.  Turning cuffed pants into uncuffed pants is really easy if you don't have to shorten them.  I left the original hem alone and just undid the cuff.  Then I ironed out the crease as much as possible so that I could then fold the cuff part inside the pant and iron the same crease but just going inside instead of the original oustide fold.  Once that was done, I used the blind hem stitch.  I did not have to use the seam/overcast stitch because the orginal cuff edge was already finished and flat. After sewing the blind hem, I ironed right side out again.  Worked like a charm! 

These were the cuff pants and now as you can see are not cuffed!  Blind hem stitch doesn't really show on the outside.  See here.

 I feel like I have new pants now.  I have a whole lot more to do but now I know how to do it so it should go faster!  Just remember these methods are more for dress pants than for hemming jeans.  But you can find youtube videos on that too!

I hope this post helps give the bigger picture of what to do.  Happy hemming and hawing!

Thanks for stopping by and Stay tuned for more creativity!

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