So, you just bought those designer jeans you’ve had your eye on! Lucky for you there was still a pair available in your size; except the length. No matter how long you look, you’ll never find exactly your right length. Most higher end departments stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue have onsite alterations departments that can shorten them for you. It’s been my experience as a tailor at a couple of those stores, that if you purchase at full price the alteration for basic hemming is a free service; unless you want the original hem. If this charge is a concern for you, ask before you buy. If you purchased the jeans online you may be out of luck. However, if you don’t mind driving to the nearest department store location, call the store and ask if they’ll waive the alteration charge for a basic hem. If you want to keep the original hem, it’s gonna cost you! Personally, I charge $10 for a basic hem and $25 for an original hem.
Original hems take much more time and there a few details that can slow down the process. Details like tapering and specific types of stitching can add labor time. Most original hems have fraying and have a worn look to them and some like to keep this appearance so it doesn’t ruin the overall look of the jean. The thing about original helms that can be kinda scary is that the jean has to be cut at the length you want them. There’s no going back after they’ve been cut. While a basic hem has the fabric rolled up inside the hem. So, if you feel they’re a bit too short, the tailor can lengthen them a bit.
Although I have a video tutorial for you below, here are the basic steps.
1. Measure and cut at the chosen length.
2. Rip out the original stitching of the hem.
3. Cut off the excess fabric ABOVE the original stitching, the amount of the seam allowance you require (should be half of the finished hem width).
4.If necessary, taper pant or hem piece to fit back onto pant leg.
5. Match up the inseam and outseams of the hem piece and pant leg. Pin around to keep everything in place.
6. Press seam toward the hem piece (try not to press the original fold of the hem piece).
7.Fold up at the original hem piece fold line and cover the seam allowance and the stitching. Pin in place.
8.On the right side (face side) of the hem (pant leg), stitch (using matching thread) the hem piece exactly in the original stitching line.
9. Press. Repeat for other leg.
While it’s much easier said than done, for experienced sewists, think of it as applying binding. I would suggest practicing on some pants that you don’t mind ruining BEFORE you attempt this on your brand new designer jeans! Check out my tutorial below, which will probably be much more help! Good luck!