Forever in Blue Jeans: But Only if They’re the Right Length!

When I was in middle school, in the 1970s, my Cuban grandmother was horrified when we wore jeans–what farm workers wore to cut sugar cane in “el campo.”  It must have been hot, brutal work, far removed from our suburban comfort.  I never understood her aversion to denim;  in fact, all these years later, I’m still wearing jeans.  I like bootcut, because on me that little bit of flare is more flattering than a straight leg.  So, Abuela, this is for you.

Unfortunately, the perfect length and fit in jeans remain elusive.  I’m 5′ 9,” which means regular length jeans are too short, and tall are just a bit too long.  Bernina 240 to the rescue! (Insert trumpet blare here)  Hemming jeans is very easy, involving an easy foldover hem and a straight stitch.

For me, a 32 1/2″ inseam on a pair of jeans is just about perfect.  Long jeans run anywhere from 33″ to 36,” depending on the manufacturer.  So my first step is always to rip out the hem:

Step 1: the seam ripper!

Next, I measure and cut the bottom.  I recommend using the inseam of your favorite jeans as a guide.  I leave a one-inch hem allowance, and then press and fold over the hem 1/2″ twice–exactly  as it looked originally.  Again, use the original hem as a guide.


Trimming the hem allowance
Trimming the hem allowance

Most important, use the right needle. I use a Schmetz jeans/denim 110 sewing machine needle, with Gutermann jeans thread.

Finally, sew the hem slowly with a straight stitch. I like about a 3.5 stitch length, but check the original hem and use your own judgment.  Take special care when going over the seams, which are very thick and may pose a challenge.  You may have to take your foot off the pedal and turn the wheel by hand to get your get your needle over the hump.  Just be patient and go slowly.

Here are the finished jeans–ta da!  This is a quick and easy task–as always, it’s all about the right materials.

My custom=hemmed jeans!
My custom-hemmed jeans!

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