Some time in your sewing career you will be asked to hem tapered pants and the client will call it a simple job. From the outside it does look simple and if you are a crafter or scrapbooker working with paper it is easy. Dealing with fabric and hems that should/
half to lay flat inside is another matter/ PITA.
To start with let’s open the existing top stitched one inch hem and see what is inside. After 40 years of this type of treasure hunting I can almost guarantee neither legs will be the same inside. Here is the proof:
Surprisingly both side seams do not measure the same either…is this a shock? The one with the 1/2 inch fold under measures 41.5 inches from waist to cut edge and the one with the 3/4 inch fold under measures 42 inches from waist to cut edge…great…now what? Somewhere the operator compensated for the extra length by folding under a little more so the hems would match in the end…or did she? If you have ever been in a factory or worked in one like I have you know speed is king. Every aspect of construction is timed and there is no ripping out or sittin’ and thinkin’. So I think these pants just got lucky.
Now the challenge to shorten them 3.5 – 4 inches with that taper. Here is what we are up against measurement wise: Yes, we need the fold under edge to be 9 5/8 inches to lay flat inside and what do we have?
OK , 9 3/8 inches…big deal just 1/4 inch you say….but it is really double that in the circumference so we are needing 1/2 inch to achieve our goal. How did the manufacturer attain this? Let’s look inside at the last 1.5 inches of the side and inside leg seams:
So that is what we have to do, trim off the excess length, veer off 1/4 inch on each seam and fold under twice to get to our new hem edge marked by the row of pins. Simple? Quick? Well, the first part sure ain’t, but considering the hem is finished with top stitching and not hand sewing, it will go pretty fast. In the end it will be worth it as your stitching will not bunch up on the outside trying to accommodate a smaller circumference on the inside fold under.
Not all seamstresses/dry cleaners/your granny will go to this trouble and that my friends separates the professional from the hobbyist.
For those who are wondering about my foot…well the stitches are out and I have 3 more weeks of wearing the ski boot…snow is predicted for the next couple days so staying home sounds like the right thing to do.