Have you ever found the perfect pair of pants (at an unbelievable price) only to try them on and find out they're waaay to long? Or needed to convert a pair of kid's pants to capris after they turned into high waters? Well, never fear, the lazy hem how-to is here! Hemming really isn't all that hard to do, I think it just seems intimidating at first, especially if you're working with an expensive pair of pants. So here's my watered down version of how to hem your own pants:
I've had this pair of J. Crew Chinos I found at the Salvation Army for at least two years now (maybe more). I bought them during that awkward period of finding pants after having a baby. I don't think they quite fit when I bought them, but I had dreams of fitting into this five dollar pair of pants! I've had another baby since then, and they actually fit now, so I thought I'd take some pictures while I knocked them off my mending list.
I took note of the thickness of the original hem (about two inches) and got to work. You could recruit a friend or family member to help you determine where you want the pants to fall, but I was able to figure out the new length just by playing with them and seeing what looked good.
To figure out your new hem length I recommend wearing the shoes with the tallest heel you'd wear in those particular pants. I don't plan on wearing anything thicker than my flip flops or tennis shoes so it wasn't a big deal.
With your pants and shoes on, roll the hem under at your heel or side; you want to be sure that it doesn't drag. Once you've determined your desired length pin the pants in place--you only need to pin one leg--you'll use that as a point to measure the length of your new hem.
Remove the pants (and put on some new ones so you're not running around in your underwear--unless you want to!), and use some tailor's chalk (or a pencil--anything that will wash out) to mark where the new hem should be.
Now unroll the pants and measure from your marking to the original length of your pants--that's how much you'll hem each leg. In my case, it was three and half inches--be sure to write your measurement down.
With your pants turned inside out, bust out your iron and ironing board. You'll want to use a sewing gauge (pictured above) or a ruler of some sort and roll the hem up to match the measurement you just took. Press along the new pant edge and pin in place as you go (and double check the width from time to time, too).
This is want your pants should look like after you've pressed and pinned. Now, you can make the width of your new hem whatever you'd like; I chose to stick with the original two-inches I noted earlier.
My sewing machine doesn't have a two-inch mark, so I made one with a pen to follow as I sew.
You're ready to make your new hem! I suggest starting at the inseam--it can be tricky getting off to an even start and any uneven stitches won't be as noticeable. And be careful to adjust your pant leg as you go to ensure you get an even hem.
And there you have it, your new hem! Now just finish the other leg, give it another press, and they're ready to wear--congratulations, you just hemmed your own pants!
Here's my before and after--don't they look sooo much better? If you haven't already, go pull out those pants you've been meaning to take to the tailor's (or go find a cheap pair at the thrift store) and fix them up yourself. This is the last week of the Mend Along--I hope you're mending basket is starting to look empty!