hemming jeans

donnas_gwMay 20, 2009

My neighbor has asked me to shorten 3 pairs of jeans for her. I've hemmed jeans in the past for myself but was never really satisfied with the outcome. A couple questions:

1) How do you sew over the "hump" (side seam) without having one big stitch or a bunch of tiny stitches? I remember reading something about using a credit card, but I'm not sure how. Behind the needle or in front of the needle?

2) I've used regular polyester covered thread on my own, but I'm doing someone elses and I think I need a different kind of thread. What was used on these jeans is a heavy thread. What kind of thread is this? Is it topstitching thread??

I have size 18 needles, and I believe they are the correct size for jeans. Thanks.

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I have something that came with my machine called a "Hump jumper).It goes behind the presser foot,so that the back end of the presserfoot rest on it.You have to hold it in place as you sew over the hump.As for thread,coats&clark makes a denim(orange) thread like that which most top stitching is done with,and that's what i use.If you don't have that you can use 2 spools of thread on top to get that nice stitch,BUT only one of those top threads passes through the last hook b4 the needle,the 2nd one stays outside of it.Clear as mud right??

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 1:54PM
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The jeans are solid black and all the top-stitching/hemming is done using black thread. So orange thread is out. Coats & Clark also makes a button and craft thread which is pretty strong and it comes in black. Would that work?

I used to work in a fabric store back in the '90's. I remember hearing about something called the hump jumper (probably on a sewing website), but I don't know if the fabric store carried it. I had to google it and click on images to see what it looked like. If they did carry it, I never did buy one.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 5:40PM
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The hump jumper came as an accessory with a brand name machine. You could purchase them separately and it does a great job on those big thick seams. Rumor has it they are no longer made but there is a jean ama jig that does the same job. Goggle jean ama jig and have a look at that. I've seen them in fabric stores.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 6:19PM
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The accessory being discussed has been sold by several names, but you can do the same thing with an index card. The back of your foot is hinged and it needs to stay level to get good stitches. In other words, the foot should not be pointing down or pointing up while you sew. Fold an index card, then fold again, keep folding until it is about the thickness of the seam that you have to cross. You will have to put the card in front of the foot sometimes and in back of the foot sometimes, but you need to keep it there while you are sewing on this elevated area. You will have to go very slowly across this seam. You don't sew the card, it's purpose is just to keep the foot level.

As for type of thread, I would use regular polyester thread if I were you since you are not trying to match a different top stitching color. Anything heavier than machine topstitching thread may not work in your machine. After you hem them you can see if it looks like you need topstitching. If you decide that you do, then go over it with topstitching thread and lengthen you stitch length. You will need a jean needle or a large needle. Good luck. Jeans are hard to hem.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 9:33PM
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soonergrandmom, don't I know they are hard to hem! They are 100% cotton but have some stretch to them. How can I keep from stretching them when working with them? When I got finished one leg, it looked a little like bellbottoms!!I should have said "sorry, but I don't do jeans". Thanks

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 8:14AM
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Hmmm, I've never had a problem with them stretching although I wear the cotton stretch type myself. I have to buy a tall then remove an inch. You might try using a stay stitch just where your fold is going to be and see if that helps. If she ever needs a zipper replaced in a pair, RUN!!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:10PM
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I googled "hem jeans" and found this. So you can see.....others don't like to do it either. I wouldn't want to do this to someone's elses jeans, but it would sure be quicker. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Alternate Method

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 11:19PM
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ok, I went and looked at the inside tag. They are 99% cotton and 1% lycra, so I was wrong about them being 100% cotton. I'll try the stay stitching around the fold. I'm not stretching the fabric as I sew, or at least I don't think I am. I have to guide it through, but I try and do that without pulling it. Hard to believe 1% lycra can stretch! Zippers, No Way!! I've put a couple of them in jeans for myself, but now, I toss the jeans if they need a new one. Zippers have always been my least favorite thing when it comes to sewing.

I looked at the alternate method link. Looks like a blind stitch that you do on your machine except you sew straight stitches instead of the zigzag stitches. Is that what you were seeing? Don't think I would want that on my jeans.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:31AM
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budster, I remember that name (jean ama jig)! That is probably what we carried at the fabric store years ago.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:36AM
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I once did alterations for a dry cleaner and replacing pants zippers was the most dreaded. On blue jeans zippers it took more time removing the zipper and all the top stitching than it did to replace the zipper itself.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 4:15PM
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THE BEST WAY, get a brick... a hammer.. roll the hem and before sewing Pound that seam (from the inside) and flatten it down. Works wonderful... it's how tailoring shops do it...even with industrial machines ;o)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 3:55PM
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You can get the "Jean ama jig" (now by Dritz) at Joann's

Hammering it flat? I'll have to try that.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Liddybuff... learn to use a single edge razor blade and you will learn to get that zipper out in just about 1 minute... You just need someone to show you how... no matter how long you sew...you can always learn a new trick... if you use a hammer to smack the side seams down when you roll it... it also goes faster, and the needle just sews right thru...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 7:06PM
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i'm a beginner sewer and i just hemmed my daughter's jeans last night using the "alternate" method, above. they are perfect. i like the factory hem much better than a new hem. and you don't have to keep the inside "cuff". you can trim it down and just do an overlock edge, but since my dd is very young, i'm leaving it in since i know she's getting taller.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Thanks for the tip about the razor blade Onefineseamstres. I always used a seam ripper for the job. Next time I may try your method.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:25PM
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What kind of thread would duplicate the stitching in hem of jeans that have bold white stitches ?
I've used the hammer trick at the hem seams for a long time.Another trick is to rub soap on before going over that area.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Also try, putting your needles into a bar of soap first. This will act as a lubricant. I do that with my hand stitching needles too when it's a tough fabric.
I learned when in Indonesia, where many jean factories are, to use the hammer. I have a thick wooden cutting board for crafts etc and I place the folded jean hem on it and hammer away. Worked for me for over 20 years.
As for fabric stretching, you need to adjust your machine's tension. Try on a scrap first (the part that you cut off). After you have it set to go, don't forget to write down the setting number so as you'll have it handy for next time.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:49PM
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