Original Hem Jeans: DIY Guide for Novices

There’s a unique charm to a pair of perfectly hemmed jeans that retain their original distressed finish, and this is where the concept of original hem jeans comes into play. These jeans are a staple for many enthusiasts, noted for their ability to maintain the same color and texture at the bottom of the pants as the untouched part, giving individuals a perfect customized fit without compromising the original design. This piece equips you with comprehensive knowledge about original hem jeans, starting from what they really are, to knowing the types of jeans materials suitable for such hemming. Understand the importance of different tools involved in the process: a sewing machine, matching threads, a seam ripper, ruler, iron, pin, and of course, the jeans you wish to alter. We also delve into various hemming systems, troubleshooting, and invaluable tips to perfect your DIY jeans hemming project.

Understanding Original Hem Jeans

Understanding Original Hem Jeans

Original hem jeans are favored by jeans enthusiasts due to their distinctive look and feel. This type of hemming keeps the original finish intact at the bottom of the jeans, meaning they retain the same distressed look and color as when they were new. This is especially popular with jeans that have a unique or worn-in look at the bottom, which would otherwise be lost in a standard hemming process.

Materials Suitable for Original Hem Jeans

Most denim materials are suitable for original hem jeans. Heavier, thicker denim is often a good choice as it tends to hold its shape well. Additionally, strong weaves like twill are often used due to their durability and ability to withstand repeated wear. Stretch denim, though less traditional, can also be used for original hem jeans, providing both comfort and a flattering fit. The key factor is that a material must be able to tolerate being cut and sewn without fraying or unraveling, which is why sturdier fabrics like denim are often preferred.

Quick Guide to Hemming Jeans with Original Hem

StepDescriptionTools/Materials Needed
1.Determining the LengthJeans, Shoes (for reference), Pins
Decide on the desired length while wearing the jeans and shoes. Pin the adjusted length.
2.Marking the HemRuler/Measuring tape, Fabric marking pen
Measure the distance from the original hem to the pinned line. Draw a line with the marking pen.
3.Cutting the Excess FabricFabric scissors
Leave about 1 inch below the marked line and cut off the excess fabric.
4.Preparing for SewingIron, Pins
Turn the bottom edge of the jeans up so that the marked line aligns with the edge of the original hem. Pin in place and iron for a smooth finish.
5.Sewing the HemSewing machine, Matching threads, Jeans needle
Sew a line of stitches about 1/2 inch from the edge of the fabric. Ensure even stitching and backstitch at the start and end.
6.Finishing TouchesIron
Iron the newly created hem for a professional look.

Why Original Hem Jeans are Popular

One of the main reasons original hem jeans are popular is their ability to preserve the look and feel of the original jeans. When jeans are shortened using a traditional hemming method, the edge can often appear too new or too clean-cut, which can detract from the distressed, lived-in feel of the jeans. Original hemming is a technique that allows the jeans to be shortened while maintaining the original hemline, which ensures the authentic look and feel remains intact.

Another reason is that the dye in denim fades in unique patterns over time. Regular hemming would remove this faded effect at the hem, whereas original hemming keeps this detail.

Finally, original hem jeans typically hold up well against wear and tear. Since the original hem is retained, the strength and integrity of the jean’s construction are preserved, making them a durable option.

Original Hemming Retains Distressed Look and Color

An added benefit of choosing original hem jeans is the preservation of the color at the bottom of the jeans. Standard hemming often results in a loss of the original fading and shading, giving the jeans a newer appearance that may not match the rest of the garment. On the other hand, original hemming guarantees that the jeans keep their unique character and look, which only adds to their appeal. This type of hemming essentially takes the bottom of the jeans and moves it up, meaning all the original distressing, fading, and detailing is kept.

A pair of original hem jeans showcasing their unique and distressed look.

Photo by mnzoutfits on Unsplash

Required Tools and Materials

Required Tools and Materials for Hemming Jeans

To hem jeans, you will need the following tools and materials:

  1. Sewing Machine: The sewing machine is the primary tool needed for hemming jeans. It stitches the new hem securely in place. Depending on your sewing machine, you may need a jeans needle, which is strong enough to puncture the thick denim fabric.
  2. Matching Threads: It’s crucial to use thread that matches the color of your jeans. This ensures that the new hem blends seamlessly with the rest of the garment.
  3. Seam Ripper: Should you make a mistake while sewing or you want to remove the original hem, a seam ripper proves very useful. It lets you carefully remove stitches without damaging the fabric.
  4. Ruler: A ruler is needed to accurately measure the length you want your jeans to be. Precise measurements are key to achieving a good-looking hem.
  5. Iron: An iron is used to press the folded fabric in place before sewing the hem. This step makes it easier to sew and results in a smoother, neater hem.
  6. Pins: Pins hold the folded fabric in place while you sew. This helps ensure that the hem remains straight and even throughout the sewing process.
  7. Jeans: You obviously need the pair of jeans that you want to hem. Make sure they are clean and the fabric is not frayed at the edges.

Understanding the roles of these tools and materials in the hemming process is essential to successfully creating a neat, professional-looking hem. By ensuring that you have all necessary items before beginning the project, you can accelerate the process and increase your likelihood of achieving the desired results.

Hemming Techniques

Determining the Length

Start by putting on the jeans and deciding how much you want shortened. Stand in front of a mirror with a pair of shoes you’d typically wear with the jeans. Now, fold the jeans up to the desired length. Using a set of pins, mark the adjusted length while making sure they’re evenly placed around the jeans. This will be where you create your new hem.

Marking the Hem

Remove the jeans and flatten them out on a table. Ensure that the pins are still in place. Now, get a ruler or measuring tape and a fabric marking pen. Measure the distance from the original hem to the pinned line. Make sure you do this in several points around the leg to ensure the line is even. Now, draw a line with the marking pen so that it’s even with the pins.

Cutting the Excess Fabric

Once you have your marked line, you can cut off the excess fabric. However, don’t cut right on the marked line. Instead, leave about 1 inch of fabric below the line to allow for a seam. Now, you can cut along this new line with a sharp pair of fabric scissors. Be sure to cut through both layers of fabric, but do this for each leg separately.

Getting Ready to Sew

Before you start sewing, you’ll need to pin the hem in place. Turn the bottom edge of the jeans up so that the marked line is even with the edge of the original hem. Pin it evenly around the leg, making sure the fabric is smooth and flat. Repeat this for the other leg.

DIY Guide for Novices

Sewing the Hem

Start by threading your sewing machine with a thread that matches your jeans. Select a straight stitch on your machine. Now, sew a line of stitches about 1/2 inch from the edge of the fabric. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew. Follow your line to ensure an even hem. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your line to secure the thread. Once you’ve sewn both legs, trim any remaining thread.

Finishing the Hem

After sewing, you’ll need to iron the newly created hem. This will help it lie flat and give it a professional look. Use a hot iron, being careful not to scorch the denim. Press the hem, moving the iron steadily across the fabric. Flip the jeans inside out and repeat this process on the inside of the hem. Once this is done on both legs, your jeans are ready for wear.

And there you go! You’ve successfully shortened your jeans while keeping the original hem intact. This technique is perfect for many types of pants as well as skirts and dresses.

Troubleshooting and Tips

Common Mistakes When Hemming Jeans

One common mistake when hemming jeans is taking incorrect measurements. Note that the ideal length may vary based on the type of shoes you plan to wear with the jeans. When taking measurements, wear your jeans with shoes that you often wear together. Mark the desired length using a chalk or pin. It’s recommended to always add an extra inch to your measurement to account for any potential errors.

Another mistake is using the wrong settings on your sewing machine. Sewing denim requires a heavier needle, preferably between size 16-18. Special denim thread might be necessary for a stronger seam. Adjust the stitch length to a medium or long setting. Make sure the machine tension is set correctly for thicker fabric; too tight tension can cause the thread to break, too loose can create uneven, messy stitches.

Not ironing your hem flat before sewing is another common pitfall. For a sharp, professional-looking hem on your jeans, press the new hem using an iron before sewing. This will make it easier to stitch and ensure a more even and neat result.

Lastly, ensure the hem is secure. It’s not sufficient to just sew the hem; it must be secured to prevent it from unraveling. Back-stitch at both the beginning and the end of your hem. For extra insurance, sew the hem twice, once at the very edge of the hem and once about 1/4 inch from the folded edge.

Helpful Tips for Hemming Jeans

Utilizing a jean-a-ma-jig or hump jumper can help you navigate multiple layers of denim more easily when you reach bulky areas, such as a side seam.

Consider setting up good lighting around your work area. Better lighting will help you accurately mark and cut your fabric and clearly see the stitches as you’re sewing.

If possible, try on the jeans multiple times throughout the process to ensure the length remains correct – as measurements and pins can shift during handling.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, hand-sewing is also an option. However, it might be challenging due to the thickness of the denim fabric. In this case, using a thimble is highly recommended to help you push the needle through.

As you sew, draw the fabric taut for a cleaner stitch. This will help prevent any unwanted tucks or gathering in the fabric.

When cutting your jeans to the desired length, ensure you cut straight across. Any slant or curve may result in a crooked hem. Always double-check before you cut.

Keep experimenting and practicing. With patience and practice, you’ll be able to hem jeans flawlessly.

Original Hem Jeans

As we’ve explored, original hem jeans not only provide a seamless blend of comfort and style but also allow you to own the hemming process from the start to finish. To make the entire process easier, ensuring you have the right tools is essential – ranging from sewing machines to the correct threads. Even more crucial is understanding key hemming strategies, right from marking the correct length you want to shorten, to ironing the hem for a superior finish. Faced with challenges? Don’t worry, our troubleshooting section offers a lifeline, pinpointing areas often sidelined in hemming – think incorrect measurements, and improper sewing machine settings. But at the end of the day, with a bit of practice and a lot of patience, you can turn any pair of jeans into a custom fitted, style savvy pair of original hem jeans, perfect for any occasion.

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