Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hemming and Hawing... and Hemming.

Indecision may or may not be my problem.  
~ Jimmy Buffett

One chore that I had to finish before I could fully enjoy my new wardrobe was to hem the 2 pairs of pants that I had bought.  

Believe it or not, I've never hemmed a pair of RTW pants - I usually just roll them up and figure that's good enough.  ;)  (Any number of fashion icons are rolling over in their graves just now...)  

But I'm turning over a new wardrobe leaf, and I figured that that meant wearing pants that were actually the right length.  

Anyways, I worked on it last weekend and found myself stuck for quite a while, trying to figure out how best to do it.  It seemed to me that I had 3 choices:

  1. Open the existing hem and pull the entire length of fabric up to form the new hem.
  2. Open the existing hem and trim it - leaving a short bit left to fashion the new hem.  
  3. Roll the current hem up (on the inside of the pant leg, of course) until it reached the level of the desired hem.  

Option #1 didn't work, because the pants legs tapered and so the further up I pulled them, the less well they fit - as you can see in the picture above.  

I didn't want to trim the excess fabric, because I was visiting my Grandmother and didn't have access to a machine to finish the resulting raw edge.  So much for option #2.  

In the end, I went with option #3 - I rolled the existing hems up - once on the black pants and twice on the grey pants.  I basted them in place (I didn't have any pins, because I was at my Grandmother's house - I was lucky I was able to sneak my hand needle through the airport security!) and got the opinions of my Grandmother and her niece (my second cousin?).  

Once I got the green light, I went ahead and hemmed them!  

I was worried about all that bulk along the bottom of my pants - we'll have to see how that works out.  

So, tell me, what should I have done?  ;)


  1. Good to hem without cutting till they've been washed/cleaned a few times!
    Honestly, it doesn't matter how you do it so long as you like the way they turned out... Then there's the whole part where we praise you because YOU GOT ALTERATIONS/MENDING DONE! My least favorite thing to sew :)

    1. Thanks, Sarah! :)
      I know EXACTLY what you mean - I can't count the number of times I've tried to explain to people that yes I love to sew, but "mending" is NOT "sewing". ;)

  2. I measure down 1/1/4" from desired length. Trim excess. Serge raw edge. (or use hem tape, if you want to be fancy with it) Hem. When your pant leg tapers, you may have to open up the side seam and inseam at the hem and spread it to accomodate the width of the pant leg at the hem.

    1. Thanks, Gwen! I figured that I shouldn't cut unless I could finish the raw edge - but it didn't occur to me to open up the side seam and the inside a bit to deal with the tapering - that's brilliant! :)

  3. I would do it as Gwen did but I'd wash (if washable) once or twice before I hemmed them.

    1. Thanks, Debbie! I sense a convergence of advice into a fail-proof plan! :)
      Have I mentioned lately that you guys rock? ;)

  4. Hemming for a couple of friends who have very short inseams - I cut off the excess. We're talking at least 6-inches, so any other option just doesn't cut it LOL! For myself, with a 33" inseam, I haven't ever had to hem RTW for myself. If I could only figure out how to ADD a few inches :-)

    1. Hey Claire! Yes, "at-least 6 inches" sounds like a definite time-to-trim situation! :)
      And I see your point - shortening is a lot easier than lengthening - thank goodness you can sew your own stuff! :)