Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fabric Trim Hem Tutorial

I was flooded with inquiries about the hem of my pants. Get it? Flooded... ha! Anyway, I did not make these, my generous Aunt Sandra found them while thrifting, but the construction seems pretty easy to accomplish. I am going to give my observations of the process, like a recipe. If one of the fantastic seamstress bloggers amongst you makes a proper tutorial, send me a link to edit into this post. Also, if you create a pair of these hemmed pants drop me an email so I can reciprocate the positive comment goodness. Please refer to my sidebar for fabric shop links.


The hem itself is actually a large panel constructed of a 1.5" width of grosgrain ribbon sewn to a 3" width of cotton fabric. The length will be equal to the circumference of the bottom of the pants leg plus at least a 1/4 of an inch for a seam allowance. You will be sewing through heavy layers so use a heavy duty or denim needle on your machine.

1) Decide where you want the bottom hem of the pants to hit on your leg, remember you will be attaching the fabric hem to the pants fabric itself so you can ultimately turn them up like I do in the first photo. For example, when I wear these uncuffed, the bottom hem of the fabric and jeans combo hits me at the ankle. So if you like this look, trim only enough of the pants off at the bottom to reach to your ankle. The important thing to remove in this process is the thick original hem of the pants.

2) Pin the ribbon to the fabric with a 1/4" allowance of the fabric behind the ribbon. (Fraying won't show) Run a seam straight across the bottom edge of the ribbon to attach these together. Place it around the pants leg to determine where the sides will meet, pin and remove from pants. Stitch this seam closed to form a tube.

3) Turn the pant leg inside out. Position your fabric panel tube so the bottom edge of the fabric (not the ribbon) lines up with the bottom of the pants. The fabric will be wrong side up. Pin in place and sew together with a 1/2" allowance. Turn the fabric tube outward and press the seam flat so you have a crisp edge of about 1/2" of fabric showing on the inside. For those of you who have sewn quilt binding, this should be familiar.

4) Now turn the pants leg right side out. Flip the fabric tube over the bottom of the pants and pin in place. Sew together with another straight seam across the top of the ribbon edge this time. The ribbon gives a stiffness and weight to the upturned cuff that you see in the first photo. Press to sharpen the edges and set the seams.

5) Enjoy your new sassy pants.

7 comments:

Tammy said...

Very cute! I need a sewing machine though... I think I'll put one on my birthday list along with a loom. Just think of all the unfinished projects I could have then!

amandajean said...

i want to try this. they are SO cute!!!

kim said...

These jeans are fabulous! Thank you for the tutorial.

Emily said...

Excellent! I have a pair that are a little too short, this would be great to try on them!

PS Fabric store links = dangerous. Like I need another stash.

LauraBeth said...

Hey Heather, check my blog - there's something there for you! I totally lurve your jeans!

Kim said...

the hem on your pants is very cool!

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