Monday, November 16, 2015


As you know if you follow my blog, I have had lots of health problems the last few years, one of which is gaining weight. Some months I would go up a size in clothes. Instead of paying lots for clothes I may only wear for a month or two, I have been purchasing used clothes as I will sometimes only wear them a few times before I can't wear them anymore. It has slowed some now that we know what was causing it but as I am still trying treatments, it hasn't gone away but at least I have been stable for 6 months or more as I am now on Thyroid medication and trying treatments. 
With that, I wore through some pants I was wearing often as I only purchase one or two as I never know what size I will be in a month. I worked so much in them in the yard etc that I got two holes in them and needed new pants. I found two pair at at different second hand stores. 

One was perfect in height and size and the other was long in the legs which is odd because I have long legs and usually don't have to hem any of my pants. 

I washed the pair that seemed to fit well and then noticed all these little threads coming out of the hem which wouldn't happen with a normal pair of pants and upon closer examination, I noticed that they had been hemmed in a way I had never seen before. 
Someone had cut off the original stitching of the original hem about 1/2 inch above the stitching and then took off what they needed to on the length of the pants and then sewed the original hem back onto the bottom of the pants!!!! 

It was positively BRILLIANT!!! I have never even thought of doing that. I guess since I haven't had to hem my pants ever, that it wouldn't have occurred to me but I thought you could easily do the same thing and when you make "cut off" shorts, just take the hem from the bottom of the jeans and sew it to the bottom of the shorts and alter how long it is if needed. 

I had the other pair of jeans I purchased that did need a hem and was going to just hem it my normal way but decided I would try the "new" method of hemming. I at first, tried them on and just tucked up what I needed taken off inside and left the original hem hanging lower as you can see in the video but that can get confusing and I think just cutting off the bottom hem 1/2 inch above the stitching is the easiest and fastest way. 

Once you have the hem cut off, try the pants on and mark them exactly where you want them to hit on the bottom of the pant leg. Usually, it is somewhere sitting just on the top of your shoe. 

Once you determine exactly how long you want them, cut 1/2 inch LOWER than that on the pant leg cutting off any excess length you don't want. You NEED to allow for the seam. I found 1/2 in seam was a bit longer than I wanted after I stitched it the first time but I would rather error on the side of too long rather than too short. 

If you find that once you sew the hem back on, it is too long, just sew in closer to the original hem and it will take it up just a bit. 

I show in the picture above the normal way to hem it if you don't care about any decorative stitching. I just cut the pants 1 1/2 inch longer than I want them and roll the hem over twice. Roll or fold it in 1/2 inch
and then flip it over one more time to hide the raw edge which would fray if you didn't do it this way. 

This is the way you hem other pants so that they don't fray. With jeans and dark pants, you can usually just use a blind stitch on the sewing machine or if they are a nice pair of slacks or trousers for a uniform or something, I will hem them by hand using a blind-hem stitch. 

To get back to the original stitch showing hemming, you take the hem you cut off and place it RIGHT sides together so you are looking at the BACK side of the fabric and both "nice" sides are facing each other. 

PIN everything FIRST and then flip it out to make sure you have the hem pinned on right. I found that I could have easily sewn the back hem on the front side and the wear on the back is usually more than on the front so make sure that the more worn side goes to the BACK of the pants. 

Once you have right sides together pinned just how you want them, try them on and make sure that it is the right length. Wear the shoes you normally wear so that you can make sure the hem looks good that way. If you need to take more length off, do it a 1/2 inch or less at a time so that you don't take too much off. 

Once it is pinned and at the right length, you use a straight stitch and stitch the hem back on. Make sure that you don't catch any of the jean fabric under into the stitch. Lay it out flat and keep checking as you sew that it doesn't get folded or rolled onto itself and you don't stitch something that doesn't belong. I did this myself while sewing. It happens to the best of us. 

Once you have it stitched all the way around, try them on again and if you need to make it any shorter, just sew in the seam a bit more and closer to the decorative hem. You don't want it obvious that you sewed the hem back on so the closer to the hem you can stitch, the more original it will look. 

Once you have them on and they look good. I do a second round of stitching and then switch the dial to zig-zag stitch and go around the entire inside seam where you sewed. 

If the inside seam is big, you can trim it up and make it smaller or cut the excess closer to the stitching before doing the zig-zag. You want the inside seam to be small so it doesn't irritate your skin. 

DON'T skip the step of surging or zig-zagging the inside seam. If you do, when you wash your pants, they will start to fray as you can see the pants I purchased above did. They can continue to fray and then affect the integrity of the seam. I use the zig-zag stitch on EVERYTHING I sew if it isn't surged so that there isn't any fraying causing problems later. 

If you have any questions on this, feel free to ask. You can also comment on the video on youtube on my channel of the same name: thesecretisgratude channel on youtube. 

Hopefully the pictures and description will clear up any questions you may have. I think whoever thought this up was Brilliant but maybe I am slow and missed the bus on this as perhaps you already thought of this yourself! 

Either way, I am always happy to come up with a new and better way to do things and this is one of those things for me!       


  1. I'll try this on heavy jeans which my old machine has difficulty going over large hems. Would also be nice for skirts with a fancy edge, one of which I just sent to Good Will because it would kill the look of the skirt to cut off the hem. Thank-You!

    1. Thanks for your gratitude Sharon. I did it with another pair of pants the other day and LOVE the results! Wish I could say I thought of it but I am just glad I found it. Let us know how your project comes out!