I’m never paying for shit again.

This can mean only one thing – I’m not going to teach in my underwear this semester! Attendance may decrease, but without cool underpants like Laura’s I shouldn’t even try.


Even to my (often overcritical) eye, these came out excellent ;).

Click on the extended entry to read more.

From the scraps photographed above, it may seem that I did a whole lot of work (three blog-entries’ worth) for not taking off much length. Well, it’s true – I only shortened each pair by about 1 1/2″, but with jeans, even if 1 extra centimeter gets stuck under my shoes, I go bonkers!

I pretty much precisely followed the plan I laid out in a previous entry, except I skipped the bashing with a hammer bit, and the hump jumper bit – once it was clear that my sewing machine couldn’t handle sewing through a thrice-folded seam, all of that extra stuff became unnecessary. I still first basted carefully, then ironed the seam before sewing, and marked the needle plate with a piece of tape to create a very even seam.

Pair 1


At the top is the before and after. This pair by Red Engine is made from a thin, light denim, and was the easiest to hem – I was even able to tackle fully folded-over seams! It took just a little bit of pushing and prodding, but it wasn’t an impossible task like my practice pair.

Pair 2


This is another Red Engine pair, but it’s made from heavier denim and has a little bit of stretch. For this one, I was able to stitch through one of the side seams folded under twice, but the other I had to fold only once. The machine was able to negotiate all seams with minimal intervention as before ;). I will put some Fray-Chek on the exposed seam before I wear the jeans.

Pair 3


This pair is by Salt Works Jeans, and it is exactly like the pair above – heavier denim with a bit of stretch – so I hemmed them the same way, too. I’m particularly excited about this pair because I think they make my ass look like a million bucks. And all our asses can use some of that, right? πŸ˜‰

I feel so empowered by this hemming exercise, it’s hard to contain myself! Sewing is one of these things that I never got, you know? There are bobbins and thread and presser feet and needle plates – very intimidating! But I feel so good having hemmed my own jeans, and, in my opinion, having done a fantastic job – I’ve had jeans hemmed at the tailor before, and they come out absolutely no better than what I’ve been able to do here. In fact, want to take a look?

(I got these light denim jeans hemmed about three years ago, so the seams have been worn nicely.)

Oh. My. God. How in the world have I been paying $18 a pair for a shitty job like this?!? Do you see that? The tailor used regular thread, not heavy topstitch thread like I did, and the hem isn’t even straight! And why in the world did he/she sew into the seam?!? Appalling.

As you are my witnesses, I will never pay $18 for shit again.

Now, what is it I hear about a special presser foot for blind hems, the type of hem often used on trousers? Oh, this is about to become a thing! πŸ˜‰


25 thoughts on “I’m never paying for shit again.

  1. Laurie

    Your jeans came out great.

    Yup, why pay someone else for a job you can do better?

    I have a magnetic seam guide, for my sewing machine. You might want to check out the link. It’s better than the “tape” method and not very expensive. And it takes out some of the eye strain of keeping your eye on the tape.


    There are other places you can find them, but this was a good price.

    I also saw a suggestion of just using a fridge magnet, as long as it’s flat-edged and not totally flat – height wise.

    So, that looks clear as mud.

    Good luck and keep on hemmin’!

  2. Angela

    Great job! I have about 7 pairs of pants waiting to be hemmed. My sewing machine has been sitting out for the past week. I must get to it. Thanks for the motivation!

  3. Kathy

    Go Grumperina!! Awesome job on those hems! I’ve been wanting a sewing machine for a while now… so I’m watching your sewing adventures with definite interest…

  4. Isela

    They look fab! I could use doing something of the kind to my pants–they all drag and at the end they all end frayed on the back. I love the shoes too πŸ˜‰

  5. Christie

    Now if only I could get my girl to do this stuff herself too, she’d certianly stop bitching and moaning and expecting me to hem, repair and mutilate every piece of clothing she buys that doesn’t fit quite right. I’m not even as brave as you to try it on my own clothing!

  6. Reb

    Oh, I wish I had thought to tell you–when the folded over denim is too thick to go through the machine, one of the problems is that the presser foot is no longer level. Try shoving a thick stack of Post-Its under the back of the presser foot to level it, then you can often sew again. You can do the same thing when coming off the lumpy seam by putting the stack of Post-Its in front; you’ll just have to be careful to move them so as not to sew them! Bernina makes a plastic thingy with three levels that can be stacked or unstacked depending how thick you need it to be, if you don’t want to use Post-Its. Bravo to you! I HATE the mending kind of sewing.

  7. Stephanie

    Oh, success! Isn’t it sweet? You did a fabulous job and the length is perfect. A million bucks, you say! I’m going to have to check those out because you’re right. We all need some of that action.

  8. Kim

    Faaantastic : ) You must feel really good for doing a better job than your tailor.. (and that is their real job! Agh!) They came out great.. and now you won’t put off buying new jeans ; )

  9. claudia

    Do not tell people you like this. Seriously, everyone you know will be all “Kathy could you hem my jeans.” like you have nothing else to do with your free time.


    Nice job.

  10. Silvia

    Well, should you come across a Levi’s flagship store (like the one here in SF) they will scan your half naked bootay and take a bunch of measurements and make you any damn pair of pant you want to YOUR elfin measurements. Not too expensive either. (Of course I’ve not done it yet, but my pal has).

  11. Carla

    Great job!

    check into the blind hem foot. I love my Bernina and would not part with my blind hem foot (OR my walking foot!)

    Great advice about the stack of post it notes. It really does work. I have a Bernina, so I have the little white plastic thingie, but with jeans I find I need something slightly thicker (so the post it notes is a great fix)

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