Archive for the ‘Hems’ Category
I talked before about the Oscars and other shows where the people are dressed superbly, but the hems are too long. Trousers can fray at the bottom after half an hour of scraping on the ground. It may only be the back, but that is enough for them to look tatty after one wear. The problem with this is that usually trousers are JUST A LITTLE BIT TOO LONG. That means when they fray, you are left with no hem allowance if you cut at the fray. So your choice is a false hem, which isn’t a bad thing, or you could try this little technique. Iron the trousers so that the frayed section is sitting flat. Have the person try them on and pin at the correct length. Let’s say it is 1cm (1/2”) above the fray. You need to calculate what the hem allowance will be. For ladies I do a 4cm (1½”) hem allowance and for men I do a 5cm (2”) hem allowance.
Place the tape measure on the original hem fold, with the tape at 1cm (1/2”) at this point. Place a mark above the fold at the end of the tape measure, then come down to 1cm (1/2”) BELOW the original hem fold and place a mark, then down another 4cm (1½”) for ladies or 5cm (2”) for men.
Cut on the bottom line. If the hem has to be unpicked, then unpick the hem first.
Check to see that the hem allowance will fit up into the trousers. If it doesn’t then release at the side seams, or take in if the trousers are flared. All of this is explained in my book Clothing Alteration Secrets Revealed.
Fold the trousers at the ORIGINAL HEM and stitch around the bottom 1cm (½”) up from the original length. This means that the frayed section is encased in the stitching. Turn the trousers the right way, and under stitch around the base, joining the seam to the hem allowance. This ensures that the hem allowance and the seam will lay flat. Overlock the edge, or sew ribbon around the raw edge and stitch.
Judith aka genie
This type of gown has an encased skirt. The lining is attached to the hem allowance and usually there is a plastic mesh strip which is attached to the top of the hem allowance and is the width of the hem allowance. Usually the strip is joined on at the same time the hem allowance is attached to the lining.
The only ones I have altered have also had a train, so I have only shortened the section beginning at the sides and around to the front.
The first step is the pin the correctly. See my book Clothing Alteration Secrets Revealed for how to pin or see Tags for other blogs similar.
Transpose the pin measurements, unpick the hem from the lining and separate the mesh strip from the hem allowance.
Measure up the amount to be shortened at the front tapering around to the sides but remember to come back down the same hem allowance as before.
With the lining, measure up the same amount as the outer fabric was shortened, at the same positions, but only come down the hem allowance for the lining.
Cut the outer and the lining. Pin the mesh strip and the lining back together, and iron when completed. If the lining is the correct length it should not need anything to hold it up, however to be sure lightly stitch by hand to hold up hem allowance.
Judith aka genie
There are a number of reasons why a skirt should be shortened from the waist.
- The skirt is pleated. Shorten from the top to keep the pleated hem in tact.
- A knitted skirt that has been started from the bottom will not have a standard hem, which means the hem should be left as is and it should be shortened from the waist.
- Any skirt with a border or embellishment on the bottom should be shortened from the waist.
Finding out how much to take off should really be done by folding the top of the skirt over, but if this is not possible, fold up the excess at the bottom, and once measured, take the amount from the top.
Judith aka genie
Bagging basically means folding the fabric with RIGHT SIDES together and stitching from the fold to the end, or just before the end depending on how it will be finished.
The fabric is then turned back the right way and with a ruler or turner, push the tip of the folded section so that it sits flat.
Some people trim the hem allowance to reduce bulk, but I prefer to leave any excess fabric in the bagged section. There is a reason for everything I do, and the reason I leave the excess fabric is because if the section needs to be “dropped” – it can be. If the excess is trimmed, the section cannot be dropped.
Judith aka genie
Tulle cannot be marked like normal fabric, so I use a different method when cutting tulle. Measure the difference between the tulle and the fashion fabric and write the measurement down. The first thing I do is mark and cut the fashion fabric (outer fabric). For gowns I always chalk the gown, or pin all the way around to ensure I have it straight.
Once the outer fabric is cut, place the garment on a hanger. The hanger I use has a metal swivel hook at the top. Secure the shoulders to the hanger to ensure it “hangs” correctly. Use clothes pegs if necessary.
Hang the gown in a doorway securing it to the top of the door. The door should be open. Sit on a chair or stool, and cut the first layer of tulle to the SAME LEVEL as the outer fabric. If there are multiple layers, cut them one at a time, using the existing cut length of the gown at your guide.
The next step I find easier to do on a workbench, however you may find it easier with the garment still hanging. The tulle needs to be cut a second time to the difference it was originally. Allow for the hem allowance of the outer because at the moment it is still not stitched.
Lay your tape measure over the tulle at the bottom the amount you have to cut and slowly work around the tulle measuring and cutting as you go.
Judith aka genie
If I am asked to shorten a garment with pleats, I will always discuss what will happen to the client first. They need to have two options put to them.
The first option is shortening from the bottom, HOWEVER they must understand that they will have to take it to a drycleaner and have it RE PLEATED.
When it is shortened from the bottom, the pleats will be going in the opposite direction, which means they will spray out. This is not something that I can do, and I would recommend you leave it do the experts on pleating.
The second option is to shorten from the top, which means the waist. Depending on the construction of the garment, this is almost like a remake, and I explain that I work on AUD$40 per hour, and this type of alteration can take up to 4 hours or more. which cut be up to AUD$160.00. I do state that this is the worst scenario, and it could take less time, but it is not a quick job.
That means they have the option of having it shortened from the bottom which would be around AUD$35.00 (approximately) or the second option which is more expensive.
Do suggest that they get a quote from a drycleaner to re pleat as this can be expensive.
Judith aka genie
This is another one of those alteration areas that can create confusion. I had a lady join one of my shops, who thought the only way to open out seams was to start sewing about 15 cm (6 in) above the new hem length, slowly taper down, then once she reached the new hem length, she would tape in. Unfortunately when she showed me what she was doing, the first thing I noticed was that the inside leg “line” swerved in where she began to sew. This almost made the person look like they had a “bump” on the inside leg and the knee looked quite wide.
In all of the hems I have altered, there has only been one time where I had to taper down from the knee so that I could open out the seam, and that was because the trousers were so tapered at the new hem length, that opening out the seams on the inside and outside leg from the new hem length to the raw edge did not allow enough for the hem to sit flat.
The seam generally only needs to be opened from the new hem length to the cut raw edge. To work out how much, fold the hem allowance up, having one side even and the other side will show you how much you need to open out the seam.
The only point I would make here is that when you begin to sew OVER the existing seam on the inside leg, that you MUST be EXACTLY on top of this seam. If you are even slightly off to one side it will not sit correctly.
Some sewing machine feet are more enclosed than others, and it may be difficult to see where the needle is being placed. If this is the case, try and buy a plastic foot. One that you can see through. I use my single plastic button hole foot when doing this, because I can see exactly where my needle is being positioned.
If you are only new to sewing, practice by sewing a few rows , then try and sew over the top of them so that it still looks like one row of stitching. By practicing this, you will find that all your clothing alteration work will be excellent.
Judith aka genie
If you have my book, you will understand when I say that getting the pinning right means getting the alteration right. When determining the new length on a pair of trousers or jeans, it is imperative that the person have the shoes they will to be wearing with the trousers, and if they want to wear low or high heeled shoes, then they need to have the hem pinned with the low heeled shoes first, pin as long as possible, then try on the high heeled shoes.
The width at the base of the trousers plays a big factor in how the trouser or jeans will sit on or over the shoe. Some people may want you to pin as long as possible for a pair of very tight fitting stretch jeans, wanting them to fit over the shoe and touch the floor. Of course they are not going to do this because they are too narrow, and will not fit over the shoe. So this is where you need to educate the person on why they will not fit over the shoe. I always give an example of a flared pair of jeans, saying that if the jeans are flared, they will easily fit over the shoe and can be touching the floor if that is what they want, although I would try and get them to have it just off the floor so that they do not fray when worn. But how long it will be is determined by the width at the base of the trousers.
With my technique we fold the excess fabric under, and we place two crossed pins at the outside leg seam, then use the knuckle technique to get the right length from the floor on the inside leg, snap the fabric from inside to outside leg, so that it sits even and place a pin at the front, then snap the fabric at the back to get the right length and pin.
If the person has purchased a pair of flared trousers, then by shortening the trousers the flare will become less. Obviously the higher you take the trousers or jeans up the narrower the base of the trouser will become.
I am aware that some alteration shops fold the fabric over around the knee area (generally above the knee) and pin all the way around. I think this is done to leave the original length at the bottom. However the problem with this is that the customer who is looking in the mirror will be seeing the width at the base of the trousers as it is originally. Yet when the trousers are shortened, they will become narrower, so technically they are not getting what they think they are getting, and some men are very particular about the front crease resting on the front of the shoe. The wider the base the longer it needs to be.
I remember when I first opened in Sydney, some customers asked me why I did not pin at the knee, and when I explained the reason why, they understood and were happy with my technique. It is extremely important to me that what the customer sees in the mirror is what they are going to get, whether it is taking up or taking in.
see Opening out seams so hem allowance sits flat for more info
Judith aka genie
One of my subscribers asked about shortening a pair of jeans with the bottom of the jeans folded out. I can’t put the link in because for some reason it throws all the typing out, but it is at a website called ezibuy.com.au and you will need to go to the jeans section for women. I do not have a pair of these jeans to look at, but I have altered some before that had this feature, so I am assuming it is the same.
She wanted to shorten the jeans, but still leave the folded section on the jeans.
This is where the use of reference points comes into play in a big way. You all know that I am a big fan of reference points. It is how I can give my clients a guarantee that the garment will be altered to the exact measurements we both agree to.
Pin the jeans to the new length by folding the excess under. What you are interested here is the new finished length, so don’t worry about the folded section. Just fold the excess up and under until you have the right length. Pin the excess into place.
When the jeans are off the person, measure from the top of the band to the new length and write this measurement down on a piece of paper. This is your finished outside leg measurement.
Measure the amount you have folded under and write this amount down on the piece of paper. (a)
Take the pins out so that the jeans are now down to the original length.
Place a pin on the original finished length.
Lower or unpick the folded section on the jeans.
Measure the amount the folded section is and write this down on a piece of paper. (b)
Below this amount write + HEM ALLOWANCE (c)
So to recap we have
(a) The amount the jeans are being shortened by
(b) The amount that is folded up (it is folded twice so make sure you have to total amount)
(c) Hem allowance which for jeans is 1.5 cm + 1.5 cm (5/8″ + 5/8″)
Measure from the original length (you have a pin in it) up (a), then come down from this amount for (b), then come down again from there towards the hem for (c)
You will have three chalk marks for (c). Cut on the bottom line.
Do your normal jean hem, and then fold it up twice as per the original way it was.
To ensure the amount stays folded, you should stitch in the ditch on the inside and outside leg seams.
Judith aka genie
Some fabrics ladder if you pull on them too much. To stop this from happening, mark the new hem allowance you want including the new fold line, and the new cut line which should be below the new fold line (finished length). Place the garment on your sewing machine and stitch around the garment just above the cut line. If you are really concerned then sew it a second time. If you are not concerned about the stretch of the fabric, you can iron some interfacing onto the garment, but cut it on the bias so that it has a small amount of stretch.
Judith aka genie