How To Hem Your Jeans (Keeping the Original Hem)

I am not a tall woman.  At 5 feet and 3 inches (ok just under) since 6th grade, I have had to either find jeans in the petite section (although I have a bootilicious-nothing-is-petite-about-it bottom) or have my pants hemmed.  My mom did a few pairs then we took them to a Ft. Wayne alteration shop growing up.

Once I bought expensive jeans (Lucky brand for $70 which was a lot as an 18 year old making minimum wage…and yes, I still have those jeans) and the store provided, for an additional $20 (making them $90), a hemming service.  It took me 2 trips to that store because they didn’t have them finished in a week (which I now know is absurd).  By the way, this was the first time I believe I had heard you could put the original hem back on the jeans.  Totally novel idea to me then.  It spoils a height challenged individual.

When I first moved to Minnesota in 2008 and was still buying pants not previously owned, I took all of my pants to the drycleaners in town where a very nice woman butchered all 5 or 6 pairs.  Butcher might be too strong of a word but once you’ve had the original hem replaced and are paying $15 to $30 per pair to have the orignal put back on AND after verifying that is indeed what the person does in place of making their own hem which often looks silly…it kind of makes you not want to buy jeans to have them look altered and odd.  Then when brands change the way their pants fit (true story), a person could be out of options when it comes to jeans that fit right out of the store.  It’s a short person thing or maybe just me.  (My sis-in-law has the opposite problem because she’s mega-tall.)


So, last week I found this tutorial and used my daily, grubby, ripped and patched jeans as practice.  They are not perfect and that’s my fault for not being more talented when it comes to a sewing machine.  They don’t look awful either.  It’s simpler than I ever thought it could be and it’s a great tutorial.

Now after hemming 2 pairs of my jeans (that I now get on ebay, garage sales or consignment shops because I’m not just a thrifter for homegoods and furniture), I am upset that those expensive jeans were not done by someone who seemed to have it down (and angry that I paid $90 and had to wait 2 weeks) and overall upset that I have paid at least $160 on top of the cost of the pants in my years (something the person of average height hasn’t experienced) to have them altered.  No more!  The best part is that you can leave the excess on and let the hem back out.  Sweet sweetness.  You know, in case I grow at 30.

But I, Annie, have hemmed my jeans using the original factory hem.  This is quite exciting for me.  Follow this tutorial and you can too.  Happy hemming, shorties.

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