1. What does keeping the original hem mean?
Keeping the original hem on jeans means to preserve any wear or distress that was done to the jean in the hem area.
This makes the alteration less visible and that‘s the reason 95% of our clients prefer that we keep the original hem when we shortening their jeans.
Of course, you can hem the jeans with a regular double folded hem as well, especially if there is no worn out effect made to preserve.
If you would rather keep the original hem, here are two different ways to do it. You can choose either one to get professional results on your favourite jeans.
Here is one of the ways you can do it.
2. Keep the original hem on jeans (option 1)
2.1. What you are going to need (image 1)
2.2. Steps to follow
Measure the excess length
That is the amount of fabric that you’ve folded up (image 2). I am leaving the actual hem out, but this is my preference. I do it because jeans tend to shrink in length due to washing over time.
You can leave it out like I do, or include in the overall excess. It’s not of such importance because in most cases the hem is just ⅗ of an inch or 1.5 cms. Sometimes it's even smaller.
Divide the excess by two (image3)
We are going to sew the excess as a fold, so we have to divide it by 2. In our case ½ of 2 inches is 1 inch. If you measure in cms, ½ of 5 cms is 2.5 cms. So I remove the pin and shorten the fold by half.
Put pins on all four sides of the legs (image4)
I put pins on all 4 sides of the leg, because I want to pin and sew precisely and even. I also don’t want to twist at the side seams. The better you match the side seams here, the less visible the alteration would be.
Make the seam to fix the fold
The next step would be to make the seam as close as possible to the original hem, without sewing on it. I prefer to use the zipper foot and a matching blue thread (image 5).
I like to check if the side seams match and how it looks on the outside, because this is the actual hem seam we make, using this technique (image6).
If I am happy with the result and how the side seams match, I continue with the steps below.
Remove the excess fabric
When these seams are done, we are almost ready. I like to shorten the excess (image 7), using the serger (image 8). You can clean the edges as you prefer.
If the excess on the inside is not much, you can skip this step altogether. You can also skip it if you have any doubts regarding the length or something else.
Fix the fold in place
Then, to make sure that it is going to stay in place, I sew by hand with a couple of stitches at the side seams so that it is not visible on the outside (image 9).
Sometimes, when I happen to have really matching blue thread, I chose to topstitch on the face side instead of fixing it in place by hand.
And our original jeans hem is ready (image 10).
Here is the video tutorial on that technique:
3. Keep the original hem on jeans with a binding hem (option 2)
3.1. What you are going to need (image 1)
To follow this technique, you are going to need:
The first couple of steps to follow here are pretty much the same as the described above.
I do it because jeans tend to shrink in length due to washing over time. You can leave it out like I do, or include in the overall excess. It’s not of such importance because in most cases the hem is just ⅗ of an inch or 1.5 cms. Sometimes it is even smaller.
I’ve measured that I need to shorten these jeans with 2 inches or 5 cms.
Divide the excess by two (image 3)