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August 22, 2012

I came up with a little trick yesterday that made hemming pants easier for me.

I always had a hard time trying to figure out just how the fabric should be folded in order for the blind hem stitch to work.  I knew it had to go a certain way, but folded the fabric in all sorts of directions before I got it right.  I would pin it one way, fold around, pin it another way, remeasure, adjust, repin . . .

Eventually I was able to streamline the process a bit so that I no longer had to place and move pins repeatedly.  I realize more experienced sewers are laughing at me, or know an even better method, but they weren't there sharing, so I figured this out the hard way and I'm going to write it down so I'll remember!

Step 1.  Figure out how much you need to take up the hem.   (In order for these pants to fit right, I need to fold them up ___ inches.).  Pin here if you need to, but only enough to determine desired pant/skirt length and measure the amount you want to shorten the garment.  (this is the 'Length of Hem' in the photo.)

Step 2.  Figure out how high up you want your hem stitches to be from the desired new hem of the fabric.  (I want my stitches to be ___ inch(es) above the edge of the fabric.)

Step 3.  (I use my sewing gauge for this, mainly because it is awesome and I use it for everything.)  on the INSIDE of your pant leg (or skirt), measure the amount you determined in Step 1, with that number on the outer edge.

Step 4.  Now, fold the fabric of your pants up over the gauge until you reach the number determined in Step 2, and then fold back so a kind of pleat is created.   Pin the fold down.

Step 5.  Repeat all the way around the fabric.  You're all set for stitching!  You can trim off the excess here (all except for about half an inch at least to sew on).  I prefer to trim after I'm satisfied that I haven't made any horrible measuring mistakes.

Step 6.  Set up your machine to do a blind hem stitch according to directions. You will be sewing along the edge of that fold, with the fold on the right.  (see photo.)

Step 8.  When you finish sewing, flip the new hem to its proper position, and double check that it falls where you want it to before trimming off the excess.  I suppose you could also opt to sew a zigzag along the excess before trimming to prevent unraveling. Press well!