Intro: DIY Designer Jean Hem on a Budget
Hemming jeans to fit your inseam can be a daunting task, and then you are always left with a "new" edge which looks out of place in today's world of distressed jeans. Here I show the entire process, from hemming to distressing, so you can tackle it yourself and save $25-$40.
Step 1: Prepare Hem
- The jeans in their unaltered state. We want them 3" shorter, which will give us just enough to contain the hole into the hem fold.
- Put a chalk line at 2" from the bottom.
- Chalk a line across entire front.
- Repeat for back
- Turn jeans inside out.
Step 2: Press, Cut, Mark, Fold... and Press Again
- Fold and press along the chalk line.
- Cut off old hem, leaving 1.5" of fabric below fold line.(too much less and you'll end up with a skinny, flip-out hem)
- Mark lines at .75" all around cuff.
- Fold, pin, press, and unpin.
Step 3: Stitch Along That Bumpy Road
- Compare original thread to select color you need or want. You must use a thick thread, be it bonded nylon or other heavy duty thread. Gutermann has some pretty good offerings.
- Use a jeans/denim needle.(really). Adjust tension for heavy fabric(6-8) Practice on scrap to be sure it's correct.
- The finished hem. Both sides should have the same tension.
- To avoid skipped stitches over the high ridges use a jean hem jig, raising the presser foot with the needle in down position, slip jig behind and lower presser foot. After you have "gone up the hill" repeat that process for going "down the hill", but putting jig in front.
- If you don't want to do that, pound the speed bump flat with a hammer.
Step 4: Distress
Here is the video of a sewing machine that I turned into a belt sander, so that I could distress denim!
Alternatively, you could sand/distress by hand. The foam sanding blocks are perfect for this!
And here is an Instructable I did for sewing an Original Hem, if you don't want to do all the distressing.