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Making Jeans hems look original

ilona | Posted in General Discussion on


I am sure I have read a piece on Threads about making jeans hems look like the originals after taking them up.

It wasn’t the sew on option that I found
and not the several about jeans being treated to look worn.

It was about using nail files and bleach?
and making wrinkles?
That’s what I remember

I can’t locate it in the online index.

Anyone remember where it is?



  1. Pattiann42 | | #1

    If you do an Internet search "distressing jeans" you will get many methods - bleach, pumice stone, rasp, sandpaper, etc. 

    One or more of these methods should give you the result you are looking for.

  2. Susan -homedecsewing | | #2

    I personally use the heavy weight jean thread, but I have an industrial walking foot Phaff, and most home sewers don't have one of these. But it sews thru any thickness like butter. Then a little sandpaper to lighten it a bit. Happy sewing

  3. woodruff | | #3

    My goodness, another Ilona! It's a rare name here.There is a LOT of information out there about how to get or keep the appearance of the original hem; i.e., wrinkled, twisted, and abraded (qualities no seamstress in her right mind would shoot for in constructing a new garment). Call me nuts, but I never--and I mean never--look at the hem of anyone's jeans. Nevertheless, here's a link to the best techniques I've read for those interested in this kind of thing. It mostly involves sewing a giant tuck and using the original hem:http://www.daciaray.com/?p=38

    Edited 6/17/2008 7:50 pm by woodruff

  4. AAC | | #4

    I'm a little late to this question but for what it's worth.  I always use a double needle when I hem jeans.  Can't recall what size I use, as I have 2/3 different sizes, but I use the largest one available, about 1/4". 

    BTW, being about 5"1" tall, I always have to hem any pants even the petite ones.  That means having to cut off some of the length.  Just found some dress pants at Sears that work without fiddling or heming, hurrah.  If you're looking, make sure you check that label for petite short,  not just petite.  I know this is about sewing but sometimes you just need something in a hurry and don't feel like messing around. Guess I need to get inspired again.  With this site that will happen, lol.

  5. Cherrypops | | #5

    Hi there,

    I am just wondering if you were successful in your jeans hemming.

    Did you search the internet like Spicegirl suggested. If so which method did you use?

    or, did you follow another members suggestion?

    Curiously Cp.

    1. User avater
      Aless | | #6

      Not Ilona (but I DO know one ;-))  ).....I have just shortened the hem of a pair of stretch jeans. Not only were they the first pair of stretch I've ever owned, but it has been over 10 years since I did the last pair(ugg!). Now THEY are seriously dated!!

      I had to shorten by 5cm (2 inches) and I used the 'French' method (preserving the original hem), as shown on quite a few 'net sites. That worked really well, though painstakingly fiddly as I didn't want to make a huge mistake! (Measure twice- for me 4x!- cut once etc etc !!)

      The inside and outside seams at the hem had to be taken in- they are bootleg jeans with just enough of an increase at the hem to be a pain!! This meant unpicking the hems at both seams, enough so that I could manouvre the fabric under the machine foot, unpicking the inside leg topstitching, then re-stitching and re-overlocking the seams so that they narrowed a bit more at the (new) hem length. I did all this after I did the measuring, but before any turning up.

      Then I turned up the original hem, re-stitching with a heavy,closely-matched topstitching thread (Gutermann-off white), re-stitched the inside leg topstitching, then stitched right at the upper edge of the turned up hem (as in the 'French' method) trying to line up the topstiching lines, which I did quite well. I had NO trouble with the fabric stretching as I sewed, and my Pfaff with inbuilt walking foot took the seam junctions easily with the help of my "jeans jumper" (ie a Schmetz needle case!!).

      I then overlocked/serged the unwanted fabric inside the leg(s) so that piece is now half the original size.To make sure that it didn't flip downwards, I anchored with hand stitching at the side/inside leg seams.

      My jeans are a streaky black, topstitched with off white. Love love love them!!!Perfect for a 20-22(21?!) plus sized woman!

      Hope this encourages others to give it a go.

    2. ilona | | #7

      Unfortunately I ran out of time, the wearer of the jeans left for an overseas trip.
      I resorted to a dark blue cotton single turn up hem.Maybe next time

      1. Cherrypops | | #8

        yes, maybe, and you are well prepared too. :)

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