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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sewing 101: Hemming pants

Welcome to Crafting Tuesday, a regular feature at Glory’s Garden. If you come to Glory's Garden expecting garden stuff, you'll know Tuesdays are the days to stay away. They will only disappoint you, after all. Crafting is a big part of my life, though, and this blog just wouldn't be the same without some mention of it. Alas, as much as I would like to be in the garden all the time, all year long, my short growing season and perpetual cloud bursts--yes, it tends to rain too much around here at times-- I must do something inside and that is where sewing, crocheting and knitting, both loom and regular type, come to save my sanity.

Sewing 101 is back with a lesson on hemming pants. Sorry for the wide gulf in between these sewing 101 lessons, but I had to wait for a pair of pants to show up. I'll have you know, it took me quite a while to find a pair which needed to be hemmed. Alas, Brandon's work pants showed up in the laundry with a downed hem--half of it anyway-- and that will have to do.

Be prepared for loads of photos. I wish you to be able to see how it's done and to be able to do it properly yourself. You'll see in the photo above that only half of the hem came off. Want to know why that is? I'll tell you even if you don't want to know. I hemmed half of this one leg with one length of thread and knotted the end and then used another thread to do the other half. That way if the thread should snap off and unravel with any luck only half of the hem will go down at a time. Pretty nifty trick, huh? Now you know why I suggest using short lengths of thread...that and so it doesn't get tangled. You wouldn't believe how easy it is for that to happen.

Enough prep talk! Get yourself pants to hem (or practice fabric), needle and thread, scissors too of course, and let's hem these pants.
Start by pushing the needle from the back to the front so the knotted end of thread in tucked between the two pieces of fabric and is invisible.

You may wish to turn the pants inside out before starting. This is optional, but for beginners this is recommended. I didn't have to, as I'm quite used to doing this. I just turned down the part to be hemmed. It works fine like that

Pull the needle through until thread is anchored. Now make a tiny stitch on the pants, as small as you can get, and also through the hem.
Pull the needle through
Pull needle through and tug thread until snug but not so tight it bunches up.
Needle taking a stitch on pants side

Needle used on a slant

Once you make the stitch on the pants and also on the hem, pull the needle and thread through to make the first stitch.

Needle from top to bottom in straight line

To make the stitch you can go from the top to the bottom in a straight vertical line with the needle or at a bit of a slant. I find the slant a bit easier and more natural for me, but you should try both ways to see what works for you. Make the stitches tiny, though, especially on the pants, so they don't show much on the right side of the fabric.

This is called the whip stitch and you simply continue in this fashion all the way around until you reach the end-- or the beginning--depends how you see things.

When you reach the end, make certain you make a knot by forming a hoop with the thread and put the needle through it. Do it a couple of times just to make sure it stays put.

Almost invisible on the right side
When the pants are hemmed properly, you can't even notice the hem is there from the outside of the pants. That is due to the tiny stitches.

So, now you know the whip stitch and how to sew a hem. Look at that! You're practically a taylor.


  1. I wish there was a way to make pants longer (well, you can, but without making them look dorky). In school, I was always the kid with the dreaded high-water pants, yuck.

  2. Shorties like me hardly ever have that problem but I do know a solution to high water pants. I would sew on a contrasting fabric to the pants hem, lace or something flashy would look nice depending on what look you are going for.

  3. Yup, I used to have a handy friend who did just that for me in the 90s.


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