One of the most common alterations is hemming dress pants. The process is quite simple, especially for cotton slacks or trousers. Wool dress slacks require a slightly different approach which I will cover at a later date. This week, I am focusing on popular sewing alterations, you just never know when you may have a special occasion coming up!
Do you ever avoid doing things that you know aren’t that hard, and really aren’t that time consuming, but you avoid them anyway? Why do we do things like this? I have been avoiding sewing lately. Why, I do not know. I blame it on our cold Wisconsin weather. I am restless. As much as I like living here, spring is a difficult season for me. In Wisconsin, you just never know what you are going to get. Sometimes it’s warm and beautiful by Easter, and sometimes we still have snow. This uncertainty is upsetting to me.
I don’t seem to have much patience right now. It’s the spring fever I’ve got. I can’t wait to get outside and do things in the garden, or see the flowers, or welcome the humming birds back. I am currently overwhelmingly disturbed by the constant snow we are getting. I am DYING for spring. I am housebound with lots of pent up energy. I need something to take my mind off the world, and for today, it is sewing. Sigh.
I recently scored these Lands End dress pants for my husband at a thrift store for only $2.00. Finding his waist size is not difficult, but they always need to be shorted in the length. Remember when I hemmed my sons jeans? It runs in the family. Hemming dress pants is not difficult. All you need is a tape measure, tailors chalk, scissors, thread and a sewing machine.
I am focusing on cotton dress slacks in this post. This information is applicable to both misses and menswear. I have another post coming soon that will deal especially with wool trousers, so be sure to subscribe to my feed so you don’t miss anything!
First step in the process is launder the pants according to manufacturers directions.
Second step, is to try them on and determine how much they need to be hemmed. Misses garments are all different inseams so you really need to try them on with the shoes you will be wearing with them. Pin them in place, then take them off and measure the inseam. Menswear garments should be consistent, if you know you are a 32″ inseam you can just measure along the inside leg seam from the crotch 32″ and mark it with tailors chalk.
Don’t forget to add the hem allowance. Check the width of the hem currently on the pants, most are 1 1/4″, then add another 1/4″ for the seam at the top edge. Then add these amounts together.
inseam of 32″ + 1 1/2″ seam allowance = 33 1/2″ total measurement from the crotch seam
Mark both leg edges, and use a straight edge ruler to make a straight line with the tailors chalk. Cut.
Select a straight stitch on your machine, use a fairly short stitch length for extra durability. Mine machine is set at 2.5 stitch length.
Sew a narrow 1/4″ seam along the raw edge. Use the inside of the presser foot as a guide for an even 1/4″ without needing to use pins or measuring. These things slow you down and damage your machine. Learn to sew without them.
This is what it will look like so far.
Then fold the hem over again to 1 1/4″. You can put one pin in to hold it in place until you get it under your presser foot, no more pins are needed.
Stitch again, this time on top of your original stitching for a perfect hem.
Remove from the machine and spritz with water before pressing for a nice crease.
No one will ever know they were hemmed!
To properly hang, drape them over a thick plastic or wooden hanger. Be sure and line up pant seams to keep any wrinkles from developing.
You did it! You are amazing! I knew you could do it!
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