How to Hem Trousers with a Sewing Machine
If you are interested in a sewing machine for making your own garments, it is imperative that you learn how to hem a pair of trousers. Taking up a pair of trousers will probably be one of the first skills to learn if you happen to be new to sewing. Before you get to sewing, you will need a few things first.
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors (or a rotary cutter) and a mat
- Tailors chalk (this item is optional, but can be very helpful)
- Clear ruler
- Sewing Machine
How that you have all your materials and tools, you can get to hemming those trousers that are a bit too long.
1. Pin the Trousers
Have your model wear the pair of trousers with shoes so that you can adjust the length just right. Roll the bottoms of the trousers up to the new desired length and have your model take them off. Turn them inside out and check to make cure the cuffs are rolled to the same length on both pant legs. If you want, you can make minor adjustments here and then pin them up.
2. Press the Hem
With the pins still intact, move the pair of trousers to the ironing board. Now you can remove the pins. Now, iron down the hem and cuff so that it lays as flat as possible. This step will make cutting away the extra length much easier.
3. Cut the Extra Fabric
Measure and cut the trouser leg off about three centimetres below the crease that you just pressed with the iron. You can eyeball it or measure it exactly with your ruler. Once it is measured, you can mark this spot with your tailor’s chalk if you choose to do so. Now, cut the excess fabric off of the bottom of the pant leg.
4. Sew the New Hem
Fold the new hem and press it again with your iron. Make sure your iron is very hot to create a professional-looking fold. Using an extra hot iron also ensures that you will not have an uneven lines in the finished product.
Now you are finally ready to use the sewing machine. Load the bobbin with whichever thread you like best. If you want your hem to blend with the fabric, choose a thread with the same colour as the fabric of the trousers. If you want a funkier, contrasting look then pick a coloured thread that stands out against the fabric of the trousers. For example, gold thread really sparkles against dark denim jeans.
For simple hemming, set your machine for straight stitching. Make sure that you position the trouser leg so that the sewing machine only stitches the hem and not the opening of the trouser leg together. Sew about 3 mm from the top of the hem. Keep sewing in a straight like around the entire circumference of the leg.
Repeat this process on the other leg. Make sure that you iron the seam on the opposite leg and compare the lengths of both legs before you finish the second one. This is your last chance to fix up an irregularities in length before the hems are complete.
After you compare leg lengths, you are ready to sew the hem on the other trouser leg. Viola! You have successfully hemmed your trousers.
Extra Tips and Tricks
Here are some additional tips and tricks for successfully hemming a pair of trousers.
- It is imperative that you have the trousers tried on in order to adjust the length, do not just hold them up against your own legs of your model’s! The natural curvature of your bum and hips will lift the hem away from the floor, so you will not get an accurate idea of where the hem needs to fall if you simply hold them up to measure them.
- If you are new to hemming, then try the pinning step with another person. This way, the new hem will not be wobbly and you will get a straight, consistent line around the entire circumference of the trouser leg.
- Be sure not to cut off too much before you hem. Remember, you can always trim the fabric again if you need to, but you cannot make a piece of cut fabric any longer!
- When you are pinning the new hem, wear the pair of shoes you will most likely wear with the trousers.
Now, you will be able to confidently hem your own trousers! The process is simple enough; it is all about being patient and taking your time, especially with the beginning steps. If you get the pinning of the hem right initially, the rest of the process is easy.