Friday, May 18, 2007

Ladies, I Present to You . . .

. . . reason number two to invest a little time, effort and money into learning how to sew. How often do you buy pants? I probably buy about 12 pairs a year, or one a month. Thats a conservative estimate (and sometimes I buy skirts instead), but lets use it as a base. I, being not short but neither tall, find that pretty much every pair of pants I buy has to be hemmed. Sometimes just a bit, but sometimes QUITE a bit . . . especially in the case of fancy schmancy jeans that are ALWAYS cut yards too long. Hemming at my local tailor costs $12 to $15 per pair of pants and takes a full week to complete. Hemming at my kitchen table with my sewing machine is free and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Using my conservative estimates, thats $144 a year I've saved hemming my own pants. And in case that doesn't appeal to your thrifty side (don't worry, I don't really have a thrifty side either) let it appeal to your impatient side. I bought the pair of jeans pictured then took them home, hemmed them and wore them out the same night. Meanwhile, although my sewing machine was a gift (thanks mom and dad!), one years worth of pants hemming expenses could've covered the cost for sure. Here's how:

Hemming Jeans:
You'll need: A sewing machine with a zig zag and a straight stitch, an iron and ironing board, thread (you can use black, blue, whatever . . . special, extra strong "jeans thread" is available at sewing stores and is what I have used here), a few straight pins, sharp scissors

1) put your jeans on
2) put shoes on (this is important . . .try your jeans on with the type of shoes you intend to wear them with most often. Usually the lower the shoe heel, the shorter the pants should be.)
3) play around with the hem of one leg by folding the excess material under until you find a length you like. Pin the front and back at this length.
4) take your jeans off. careful. there are pins in them.
5) zip your jeans up, fold them in half evenly lining up the waistband and lay them on the floor with the pinned leg on top.
6) eyeball measure about 2 finger lengths from the hem you have pinned and chop the pinned leg
7) chop the unpinned leg using the first leg as a guide
8) turn the jeans inside out
10) iron a finger width hem on each leg (so that the folded up fabric is on the inside of your jeans, but towards you since your jeans are inside out)
11) zig zag stitch around each leg . . . be careful not to pull too much on the fabric, especially if your jeans have stretch. Just let the machine pull your fabric through for you, otherwise you'll end up with turning and puckering.
12) fold under and iron another finger width hem
13) straight stitch this time
14) turn them right side out
15) iron hems flat to finish
16) wear your new jeans out, shake booty, take over world, etc. etc.

Listening:  Maximo Park- "Girls Who Play Guitars"