February 7, 2011
Hem it Up!
It's the final day of the Trouser Sewalong. I really can't believe it's coming to an end. Again, sorry for all the delays. I've been undergoing lots and lots of stress lately. I have yet to show you my pairs and to show off some of yours, which I plan to do too. It will be weird for me to focus my attention on other things now. I feel I've been thinking about and talking about pants for an awfully long time. So it is that now I present my last Trouser Sewalong tutorial. The hem. I don't know that there is anything particularly hard or complex about hemming your pants. However, I will say, hem up your trouser shell first and then do the lining, if indeed you opted for a lining. I've done the reverse too many times to count and have always had to unpick and redo because the lining was too long. The biggest idea I want to focus on today is tailoring the cuff, if you want a cuff that is. If you don't, stick to your normal hemming method. But the cuff. And tailoring it, here we go.
I'll say right now that I'm not terribly good about planning for cuffs. I added a good 3 1/2 inches + the 2 1/2 inches I wanted for the cuff. Still, I should have added 4 1/2 inches instead of just 3 1/2. I like leaving a good 1 - 1 1/2 inches on the inside of the pant leg. However, if you are anything like me and you allowed all this extra for the cuffs and such you might find that you still have plenty to work with. I always find that for some reason, there's more length than I actually needed. In fact I ended up cutting off 2 1/2 inches for the lining (and I even cut the lining shorter). So weird, since I know that I planned perfectly on the muslin.
First off, press your pants. Press the body, then the legs on both sides. Now turn your pants inside out and pin up the lining out of the way with safety pins. Start by pressing a 1/2 inch up on the trouser shell. Next pin up the 3 1/2 inches (or whatever you allowed for the excess beyond the cuff). Turn your pant shell right side out and pin up the cuff. Try on the trousers with your shoes and see where the hem falls and if that's where you want it.
I suppose I could rant and rave about where I think hemlines should fall, but I think this is a personal issue. Some people like their hems longer and some shorter. I think having them dragging on the floor is too long and having them up to your ankles, with shoes on, is too short. Suffice it to say that for this style I prefer a hem that is approximately 1 - 1 1/2 inches off the ground, with my heels on of course. It's up to you really. One thing I would stress is that you need to try on the pants before doing any stitching. And with pressing, keep in mind that you are probably going to gain approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length. If your trousers aren't the right length the first time you try them on, reposition, pin and try them on again. Repeat the process, until they are the perfect length. Believe me, this process, though tedious, is not nearly as tedious as unpicking and restitching 3 times. And if you have one leg that is taller than the other, pin up both legs, Ok? Ok.
For the stitching, unpin the cuff and blind stitch or slip stitch your hem in place. I prefer to use my machine using a blind hem, which normally I wouldn't. In this case, you won't see the hem mark on the outside, so no harm, no foul. Next, press. Then do the turn-up. To tack the cuffs in place, I stitch them on the inseam and ouseam with a very tiny and fine zig zag. Just about 1/4 inch below the upper edge of the cuff to about an 1/8 inch above it. Then press your cuff. Trouser shell finished.
Next, give your lining a regular hem. I like to have my lining hit, on the inside of the leg, about 1 1/2 - 2 inches above the trouser shell hemline. And I don't really do anything special. Just your basic hem. After all is said and done, give your trousers another good press. Try them on, parade around, throw on different tops and off you go.
I honestly can't even tell you how pleased I am with my two pairs. Pleased as punch really. With the lining and such, these are such a dream to wear. I'll show you my final photos very soon. I do hope your pants are going just swimmingly.
Ta ta for now.
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