Hemming: A Short Girl’s Lifesaver

February 25th, 2012 at 7:30 am . Posted in Sewing Projects .

So, I’m short. Seriously. I’m 5-feet, 1.5-inches tall (and yes, that extra half inch is important!). Many of the pants I find that “fit” have an extra few inches of fabric at the bottom. One pair of jeans I’ve had since college was waaay too long, though it worked out fine for awhile because I was much more ambitious about wearing high heels then. Lately I’ve been opting for flats or other shoes with only a slight heel, so these jeans found their way to the bottom of a drawer for quite some time.

That is, until I made my pillow and immediately became addicted to sewing.

For years, my mom hemmed jeans, slacks, skirts and dresses for me. But now, with my new sewing machine, I could try to do it myself! I asked for help, of course (I did want to be able to wear said jeans in public), but I figured out how much fabric to cut off on my own. Note: When doing this, it’s important to have a specific pair of shoes in mind so the hem ends up where you want it. I wanted the jeans hemmed for a pair of boots I’ve been wearing almost every day since the end of December.

I reeaaally wish I had progress pictures of this project, but unfortunately, I don’t. I was in a big hurry to get this hemming project going and be able to wear these jeans again for the first time in a year or two.

My mom helped me pin them up, and having a gauge really came in handy for me. Then I got super brave and wound the bobbin, threaded my machine, and even changed the needle all by myself, without any supervision. (Denim is a very heavy fabric that requires a sturdy needle.) I actually felt comfortable doing all of this — maybe I’m catching on!

For the sake of full disclosure, I must say that I struggled a little bit on the first leg because my seam didn’t meet up in exactly the right place, and it was a little tricky getting the really thick side seams under the needle and presser foot. But I ripped out some stitches, took to the machine again, and got it looking pretty presentable, if I do say so myself. In fact, I proudly presented my half-finished project to my hubby, who was playing a computer game, and he was nice enough to look away from the screen and agree that the first hemmed side was (1) functional and (2)  presentable enough.

And then the second leg was much easier to hem. The end of the seam met up at the beginning perfectly, and I successfully started and ended at the side seam this time, which looked much better.


Now this pair of jeans is totally useful in my wardrobe again, yay! I’ve even worn them in public without getting weird stares, which I take as a good sign.

So now instead of this: [imagine ultra-long jeans “before” picture here]… I have this!


Given my height, I’m sure I’ll hem something else again, and you can fully expect a tutorial next time!

Have you hemmed or adjusted clothing so it fits you just right? I’m so glad I can now, and I’d love to hear about your adventures in revamping your attire, too.

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