How to Hem a Pair of Jeans

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  February 21, 2012 — 6 Comments

I’m a pretty thrifty person in general, but I am extremely cheap when it comes to clothes. I just don’t care about them enough to spend a lot of money on them. The bulk of my wardrobe was found either at Goodwill or on a clearance rack, and I like it that way.

Once my belly started getting bigger, which happened much earlier in pregnancy than I expected thanks to an extremely short torso, I needed some new clothes. The belly band didn’t work for me much past the first trimester. I know a girl who is due in May and still wearing regular jeans with a belly band! I’m really jealous. The selection of maternity clothes is much smaller than that of regular clothes, so there are fewer treasures to be found in thrift stores and blowout sales. Add to that the fact that I’m ridiculously short (standing just a smidge under 5 feet), and you can see why I’ve found it nearly impossible to find affordable, flattering clothing to fit my new figure.

I finally turned to the internet in desperation. Although few things entice me less than buying a pair of jeans online, I felt I had no choice. After a good bit of searching I finally found a pair I was willing to give a try.

Loved By Heidi Klum Under Belly Super Stretch Slim Leg Maternity Jeans

They didn’t come in petites, but the dark wash and skinny fit made them the kind of jeans I would have bought even if I didn’t have a burgeoning belly to consider. And at $40 they weren’t the cheapest jeans I ever purchased, but the price wasn’t completely unreasonable. So I ordered them, and I wasn’t disappointed. They were waaaay too long though, so something had to be done about that.

I actually tackled the hemming of the jeans back in January, but I haven’t posted about it until now because I’ve been meaning to go back and make them just a wee bit shorter. I finally decided, though, to just leave them the way they are. So I give you, dear internet, my method for hemming jeans. A short girl’s lifesaver.

First I laid my new jeans out on the floor.

Then, I took a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans that fit me well and laid them out on top of my new stretchy-waisted wonder.

I pulled one leg out to the side and tried my best to line up the inseams.

Then I cuffed up the leg of the new jeans to be the right length.

I was going to keep the original hem, so I should have cuffed them just a little bit higher so that the seam lined up in the same spot, if that makes sense. This is why they ended up just a smidge too long.

Once I thought I had the length right, I made sure the fold was straight all around and used some straight pins to secure.

Then I took it over to my sewing machine and used my zipper foot to sew all the way around.

I turned the fabric so that the cuff was now folded up inside the jeans and took a gander at my work. To my dismay, it wasn’t looking quite as snazzy as I had hoped.

So I went back to the sewing machine and tried again, this time getting all up in that original seam’s business. I tried to get as close to the thick bottom hem as I could without sewing right on top of it.

And when I turned it inside out I wasn’t disappointed! You’d have to be looking at the hem really closely to realize that there was extra material folded up in there.

I repeated the whole process on the other leg, then used my iron to press the folded part flat. I’ve worn and washed these a bunch of times since then and haven’t had to iron it again. It pretty much stays put. If you wanted to you could cut the excess fabric off, but I figure skinny jeans will probably not be en vogue by the time my next pregnancy rolls around so I will likely give these away or sell them when I’m done. Chances are their next owner will not be so short, so I wanted to keep the option of letting them back out.

Here they are being modeled by yours truly. I wear them, like, every day. And I love them. At first I thought they were still too long and I kept meaning to go back and make them a little shorter, but I’ve gotten over it. The little bit of extra bunching at the bottom is so not worth the effort.

Can you believe that I’ve lived my whole life being so short and never ever hemmed a pair of pants before? The cost of professional alterations has steered me away from many an adorable purchase (I told you, I’m super cheap). Now that I’ve done this I feel like my bargain-hunting horizons have been even further expanded. And if I can hem a pair of jeans, what’s stopping me from hemming a skirt or dress? It can’t be that hard, right? It’s a brave new world of clothing selection, my friends.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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6 responses to How to Hem a Pair of Jeans

  1. Those jeans are adorable! I’m impressed with your skills on hemming and keeping the original hem. I’ve never done jeans before. Just so you know, professional hemming usually costs me about $10, so if I find a deal thats saving me at least $10, I think it’s worth it! Caroline also taught me to hem my own dress pants by hand, so I do that when I’m feeling motivated!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap February 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks! And I’ll keep in mind that for something really cheap the $10 would be worth it. The last pair of jeans I bought before getting knocked up were only $11 (at Forever 21)!

  2. Nice jeans. Good for you for hemming them. When I was expecting and still teaching, I wore big sloppy sun dresses and jumper a lot. I could wear them belted afterwards. I had only one pair of maternity jeans.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap February 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I am SO looking forward to breaking out the sun dresses in another few weeks. It’s still a little too cool most days. These are my only maternity jeans so far. I wear jeans to work so they see a LOT of wear. I’m hoping not to have to buy any more.

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