As a petite woman,(or heck, as a not-supermodel-tall woman) it is nearly impossible to find jeans that fit lengthwise. Jeans may fit me everywhere else perfectly, then I look down and realize they are up to 4-5 inches too long. WOAH! No can do!
I found a helpful pin on Pinterest that led me to a wonderful article on the Do It Yourself Divas blog on how to shorten jeans leaving the original hem intact. This post is incredible and worth the time to read, but it only works with straight leg jeans. I set out to figure how this could be done on Flare Leg Jeans (note: this also works on boot cut jeans, and wide leg pants).
So here, in words and pictures, is a step-by-step tutorial on how to shorten flared jeans. Here is what you will need: Pair of Jeans, Pins, Measuring Tape, Scissors, Denim Thread (it’s heavier duty), Denim Needles (for the machine, they are heavier duty as well), small scissors (for cutting threads), seam ripper (just in case! )
Step 1: Measure how much length you would like to take off. Mark that spot with a pin. Measure the circumference of the pant leg at that spot.
Step 2: Cut the original hem off at about an inch above the stitch line. The reason you do this is that a flared leg has more fabric circumference at the hem then at even just a few inches up the leg, so just folding up the cuff and stitching next to the hem line (as seen in many jeans shortening tutorials) would create a puckered look. This is because you are sewing different lengths of fabric together. So this is why you cut off the original hem of a flared leg jean and move to step 3…
Step 3: To the circumference measurement that you took in Step 1, take in the original hem you just cut off in Step 2.
ex. My leg cuff was 18″, so needed to take it in 1″. To do this I cut the cuff in two at the thinner/smaller of the two side seams. For the inch I needed removed I moved 1/2″ of that old seam, pinned one new end to the other new end, and with 1/2″ to the right side of the needle, stitched them right sides together. I finished with a flat fell seam.
Step 4: Back to your jeans. We are now going to reattach the original hem that we took in, in Step 3. Slide the original hem over the pant leg. Line up the stitching on the original hem with where you have pinned that you want your length. I went along making sure I felt each pin head directly beneath my stitch line, then removed that pin and pinned the cuff to the pant.
Place pins going from raw edge to stitch line, this way they are easy to remove as you are stitching in the next step . Forgot to take a picture of this, but you’ll see how they are pinned in pictures for the next step!
To help I remove the removable section of the sewing machine base (you know, the part that holds your accessories in it?) and use the free arm to sew, keeping the cuff separated.
Step 6: You have a number of different options to finish off the pant leg. You can tuck up the excess fabric and press, but I personally feel like that’d be too bulky.
I trimmed off excess to a little less than 1/2″, and put a zigzag stitch at the end to prevent fraying. If you have a serger you could use that, I don’t (yet! ). Then flip original hem down and excess fabric up and press. Use Iron on the inside as heat on any synthetic fabrics in the denim will make them shiny.
Step 7: Repeat Steps 1-6 with the other pant leg, then you’re done! Hemmed Flared Jeans with the original hem intact!
Way to go!
Now you can finally do something with that stack of unwearable jeans!
Hope you enjoyed this refashion tutorial! We have more denim-related posts all this week! Follow us on Twitter to see updates about #denimweek!