As a petite person, I’ve had to get many many jeans hemmed over the years and getting the perfect length makes all the difference in the world as to how much wear they will get. Since bell bottoms will be making their return in full force next season, it’s a good time to keep an eye out for the perfect pair and you’ll probably need to get them altered to get that perfect made-for you fit.
The first time I got a pair of expensive jeans, I was sooo excited. They were these wide legged jeans and had the perfect wash. At the time, I used to just cut off the bottoms of jeans as my way of ‘hemming’ those days were over. Since I’m not crafty, doing it myself was not an option, so I took it to the local dry cleaner who hemmed them. First off, I wore the wrong shoes, secondly, I didn’t wash the jeans first and lastly the dry cleaner didn’t specialize in alterations. They ended up cutting my jeans way too short, they came out ankle length which is not a good look for wide legged jeans. Ever. Devastated, I donated them to charity, and sadly, they weren’t the last pair of jeans I have ruined this way, so I’m going to share with you some of the tips I’ve learned over the years.
1. If you’re going to wash and dry these jeans in the future, do it before hemming
Earlier this week we talked about freeze cleaning your jeans. Some people dry clean them, but if you plan on washing your jeans with water, it’s a good idea to do this before you hem them. If you’re going to put them in the dryer do that too. I don’t normally put my jeans in the dryer so I wouldn’t do that before I hemmed them, but most of my jeans I do wash.
2. Get you jeans hemmed by a professional.
Doing things yourself is great, but many people don’t own sewing machines that can handle denim. For denim enthusiasts, premium jeans have what’s called a chain stitch on the hem, which is much stronger than a regular stitch. There are some places that use special sewing machines used to create this special stitch, like the Union Special 43200G or a vintage Singer machine. And you can find one locally by running a search in Google, I used the key words “chain stitch, denim, hemming, New York” and found a few places that do it. It’ll be a bit more expensive than a regular tailor, like $25 as opposed to $10. Either way, I like to have an experienced person help me find the perfect length and make sure that they can achieve that.
3. When you get the jeans hemmed, be sure to wear the shoes with the heel height you’ll be wearing with the jeans.
What heel height do you normally wear? If you wear a heel height that you only wear on special occasions, then you’ll only be able to wear the jeans on special occasions. Which might be fine if you’re buying a pair of ‘special jeans’ but most people want jeans they can just throw on. I’m a big advocate in wearing heels, in wearing heels with jeans, but I normally wear a 4″ heel, including platform. I try not to go over that because, personally I don’t feel comfortable waking down the street in 6″ heels and I don’t want my jeans dragging when they’re worn with my regular shoes.
4. Look for photos of people wearing the perfect length of jeans
Hemlines change all the time, and a picture is worth 1,000 words. Take a look at what denim people are wearing on the streets and see what you like. I have a friend who wears his jeans short. At first I thought it was a mistake, but no, he does it on purpose, that’s one of his signatures. Do you want your jeans to hit the top of your foot or skim the floor in 6″ platform clogs? It helps the tailor if you have a picture to show exactly how you want your jeans to fit on you.
Are there any tips I missed? What are some of your denim hemming stories?