I hate alterations, but when your short-legged husband asks you to take two pairs of his pants up it's hard to say no! :)
Over the next two weeks of tips on Tuesday I thought I would cover hemming pants. This week will be on pinning and measuring. Next week will cover the sewing.
My go to book for alterations is Clothing Alteration Secrets Revealed by Judith Turner. There are some amazing tips and instructions in here for all sorts of alterations.
Pinning and Measuring Pants
1. Get the person who's pants you are taking up to stand on a chair or a box to raise them up slightly. Standing in front of a mirror is a good idea as both you and the person wearing the pants get to see how they look once pinned. Make sure they are wearing the shoes that they plan to wear with them and a belt if they plan of wearing one.
2. Fold the pants in towards the leg. This is more fiddly to do, but folding them up on to the outside can be distracting for the wearer to decide whether they are the right length.
3. Pin the hem in place and get them to check they are happy with the length. I try to place my pins as near to the fold line as possible.
4. It is worth pinning both legs. It is possible that the wearer has one leg longer than the other and as such will need each leg hemmed slightly differently. Although their legs may well be the same length, it's best not to assume.
5. Next check the pants. This is an important step before cutting and stitching. Lay the pant legs out and check that it looks visually correct and that nothing is twisted before marking and cutting. You might also like to take a note of the measurement of the outside leg between the top of the waistband and the fold of the new hem.
6. I tried a few different marking pens to mark the fold line at the bottom of the pants, however I didn't feel that any of them left a permanent enough mark. Denim can be a difficult fabric to mark. Therefore I decided to run a quick running stitch in red thread to mark this.
To mark accurately I would stitch up to the pin, them reinsert the pin on the stitching line with the denim laying flat. as shown below.
You should then have two pant legs with the new bottom of the pants marked with either thread or a marking pen. As you can see this was quick stitching, it doesn't need to look pretty, but it does need to accurately mark the fold line of the pants.
7. Take a look at the original hem on the pants and measure this. As you can see in the photo below the hem on these pants is 1.5cm. You are going to need to double this as it is going to be folded twice; so in this case we will need 3cm. Depending on the thickness of the jeans you may need to allow for the turn of the cloth, this means that when the fabric is folded a few millimetres will be lost in the fold.Therefore a few extra millimetres will need to be added to the hem.
8. Then mark the hem at the bottom of the pants below the fold line. I have just used a chalk marking pencil here as once the pants were lying flat it marked more clearly. I have marked two lines as we will fold over twice when we hem the pants. I have marked one line 3cm from the fold line and another exactly in the middle of the hem.
We'll get to the sewing part next week!