In my youth, I was a terrible procrastinator. I’d put off homework until the night before, always studying at the last minute for tests, etc., etc. I was just realizing the other day that somehow I have managed to improve a heck of a lot in that department. I believe I mentioned that I was supposed to hem up three pairs of pants for my dad, and believe it or not, I am actually doing the job. I already had navy thread on my machine, so I decided to go ahead and get the job done before I changed the thread color to light yellow for A’s shirt. The pants are knit, and I used the method I have developed over the years for hemming knits, a method built on many stretched out hems and failed attempts before I finally found one that worked for me. I don’t have a serger or overlocker, so this method is for a regular zigzag machine. Unfortunately, it is not quick.
I used a pair of pants he already has to measure the side seam from the bottom of the band to the crease of the hem. To this measurement I added extra length (1 1/4″) for the hem and turnunder. I subtracted this number from the actual measurement of the side seam on the new pants from the bottom of the band to the crease of the hem, getting the measurement I would need to measure up from the hem. For example, my dad’s side seam measures 35″, so adding the hem allowances, I get 36 1/4″. I measure the new pants and get 40 3/4″, so obviously should measure up 4 1/2″ from the hem crease. I ruthlessly cut the bottom of the pants along the measured line, 4 1/2″ from the bottom of each leg. Then I hand baste a 1/4″ turnunder on each leg. I have tried machine stitching this, but it just stretches the knit out too much. Then I pin up a 1″ hem and get ready to stitch it down. I use a very narrow zigzag (about 1 – 1 1/2 on my machine that has widths from 1 to 5), and use a regular stitch length (about 12 on my old machine). I stitch along the top of the hem. The zigzag will help the hem not to tear when the knit is stretched. I think the added thickness of the turnunder 1/4″ helps minimize the stretch-out hem factor.
I’d better go finish up that last pair of pants.