- The Fam
I’m all about re-purposing old clothing. Cheap, easy and exciting to see a favorite clothing item find new life!
A few months ago I decided to give a pair of old jeans a face-lift. I loved the fit around the waist and hip, but hated the boot-cut style. The color was also completely washed out…in a bad way, yuck. So here’s the plan: A) Dye them. B) Tailor the fit.
Tailoring your jeans.
What you will need:
- Your sewing stuff
- Sewing scissors
- Yard stick
- Tailors chalk, a light pencil or any chalk you can find
This project can be broken down into two main steps, hemming and tapering. I had walked on the ends of my too-long pants for a couple of years, and so for this tutorial I’ll show you how to hem your jeans without keeping the original hem. If you like the length of your pants skip this step.
There are a couple of good ways to hem jeans. But I’m going to stick with what I did here because I was not able to save the original hem.
1) Put your pants on with some shoes. Determine where you want you the bottom of your pant leg to fall and place a sewing pin to mark. Now you can take them off!
2) Measure from the bottom edge of your jeans to the pin (A). This measurement is how much length you would like your jeans to be adjusted. I needed about 4 1/2 inches off! Next, measure the length between the bottom edge of the pant to the original hem line stitching for your reference (B). Mine was approximately 3/4 of an inch. To re-create my original hem I’m going to need to double the amount of length of the original hem, so 1 1/2″, so this subtracted from the 4 1/2″ measurement equals how much I’ll be cutting off from my pant bottom (C), 3″.
A – (B x 2) = C
3) Time to cut off the length. To do this, lay your pants on the ground and measure from the bottom of the pant (or approximately where the bottom of the pant line would have been) up your determined amount of length (C) and place a pin. Do this all around the pant leg. You do not need to get too crazy about exactness, just make sure you take measurement from the bottom of the pant and not straight across. Next, take a good pair of sewing scissors and use the pins as a guide to cut around your pant leg making sure you do not cut through the layers but around the pant bottom.
4) If you plan on tapering your pants then you need to skip down to that section now. You will finish the hem after the tapering is complete.
5) Tapering complete? Okay, next we need to finish the hem. With the pants turned inside out, press the edge up 3/4″ (or original hem length, B) and then fold again 3/4″ (B) to hide raw edge. A couple of tips to make the hem look professional and match the original. Match the thread to original, you can find thread that is made for denim in the thread section of your local sewing store. Also, use a universal heavy-duty needle (size 16) and length 3 or 4 stitch. Stitch carefully around the top of the fold making sure you stitch straight and through all layers. I try to start at the inside seam and work my way around. Press.
One more tip, if I am hemming my blue jeans, I will scuff up the bottom and around the hem a little with some fine grit sandpaper. New hem jobs look funny on blue jeans with out a good press and buff!
Next, we need to fix the boot cut. You will do this from the outside seam of your pant leg. Disclaimer: Professionals would fix a boot cut from both seams for an even taper. I’m lazy…and you can hardly tell the difference…as a matter of fact no one has noticed the difference!
1) Put your jeans on, inside out. Pin the outside seam where you would like them to fit, making sure your pins go back out the fabric so you can wiggle out and not get pricked! Do this all the way down for reference. Take them off.
2) Use a yardstick to approximate the taper line. My taper started just a little above where the knee would be. Draw a straight line with chalk.
3) Make sure your pant leg is lying flat by pining the seam in a couple of places. Now sew from the bottom of the pant up the chalk line and off the edge of the pant. Make sure the overlapping seams (the original and the one you are sewing) run together as smoothly as possible. Next, turn them inside out and try them on. How do they fit? If they fit perfect, great! If you need to take them in more than draw another line and repeat. If they are too tight then take out the stitching and try again.
4) When it feels right, turn the pants inside out again. Lay the tailored leg on top of the other, laying them as flat as possible. Mark the other leg using the first leg as a guide (this is just a shortcut to doing the measuring process again, but could certainly repeat the same process again!) Sew the other leg and make sure the fit works.
5) Once you are happy with the fit of both legs you should cut the excess seam allowance off and re-enforce the seam by stitching up the leg once more or using a zig zag stitch. Last but not least, press out the seam.
Enjoy your hard work!
Did you miss Part 1: Dyeing your old jeans? Here it is!
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