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Sunday, October 9, 2011

How to easily hem a pair of pants like a pro!

Hemming your own pants is easy, and you can save money by learning to do it yourself. For those who find it a bit daunting, here is a step-by-step explanation to show you how easy it really is.
1. TRY THEM ON. Try on the pants and fold up the cuff to the right length. Put a couple safety pins in to hold it up where it should be.
2. MEASURE UP. Use a ruler or tape measure to determine how much shorter the pants need to be (measure the folded up length of the hem). You need to allow 1 inch for the hem. So if the folded up portion is 2", subtract 1" for your new hem, and you have 1"--- that's what you need to cut off, 1".
3. CHOP CHOP. Turn the pants inside out. Hold a ruler perpendicular to the hem to measure as you cut. You could even mark the cutting line first with a light colored magic marker if you are nervous, then cut.
4. PRESS ON. Use your iron, set at the correct temperature for your fabric, to press up 1/2" on the hem.
See how the top edge of the fabric has been pressed over 1/2"? It's ready for the next step. That handy tool I'm holding called a seam gauge. You don't really NEED it if you're just doing one or two projects, a ruler will work fine.

5. PIN IT. Turn up the hem another 1/2" and put in pins to hold it. Especially take care to line up the side seams. If it's a striped fabric, try to keep the stripes aligned as you pin.

 *A word on choosing thread: if you are having trouble finding the right shade of thread for your fabric, always choose a shade lighter, rather than darker- it will blend in better.*

6. SEW IT. You can either hand stitch the hem with a needle and thread, or you can machine stitch it (which I prefer). If you are sewing a heavy fabric like jeans, definitely switch your sewing machine needle to one made for heavy duty fabrics, to avoid frustration. If you are sewing jersey, use a jersey ball point needle and don't stretch out the hem as you stitch. Whatever the fabric, the process is the same- simply stitch around the hem, close to the edge, and backstitch at the beginning and end. Press the hem one more time from the inside to give your hem a professional look.

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