Published on February 1st, 2009 | by Julie Finn18
Hemming Jeans 101: The Controlled Fray
The other day at Goodwill I found some sweet, butt-clinging, ample-hip-hugging (but not too much!), faded, boot-legged, artfully frayed jeans. Waist size? A perfect 36″. Length? A perfect…38″? Friends, I am 5’2″ balanced up on my tip-toes. Should I give up my second-hand search altogether and go get my bootylicious self over to Lane Bryant?
Friends, I should not. And you know why?
Because I have been kissed with the crafty bug.
There are several pretty easy and cool-looking ways to hem jeans, in particular, that I can tell you about, but the method I’m going to use today, primarily because I’ve got a lot of stuff to do today and I also want to wear these jeans to an Old Crow Medicine Show concert tonight so that Ketch can look down from his sweet fiddle and appreciate them, is something that I like to call the controlled fray.
You will need: jeans to be hemmed; something with which to mark them (chalk, pencil, etc. I used one of my kiddo’s washable markers, and it worked fine); needle and thread or sewing machine with jeans needle inserted; scissors.
1. Mark your jeans where you want to hem them. Put on the shoes you’ll usually want to wear with your jeans for this, and if possible, enlist a buddy. The best look is said to be a hem that reaches just almost to the floor at the back of your foot, but I actually tend to hem my jeans a little shorter than this to keep them out of the snow and mud that I stomp around in all the time. But hey, I am clearly no fashion plate, so mark yours where you will.
2. Lay your jeans out flat and draw a line all the way around both legs at the point you marked.
3. Using your sewing machine or your needle and thread, sew a VERY sturdy stitch about 1/8 of an inch above this line. Choose your thread color(s) based on the effect you want. For instance, I sewed a sturdy zig-zag stitch in several lengths and several colors, because I thought it would look cool. Just make sure you go around each leg at least twice, so that your stitching is super sturdy.
4. Cut off your jeans just at or below the line you drew. Over several washings, your jeans will gradually fray up and get nice and fuzzy at this line. You won’t see those kinds of long threads that you see when my redneck family wears cut-off shorts, because you’ve only given your jeans a very small area in which to fray, and the jeans won’t fray past your line of stitching.
See? The controlled fray.
And if you have over 2″ of jeans leg that you cut off to hem your jeans (I had 7″!), use those leftovers for a denim quilt, or save them for the bias tape hem I’m going to tell you about later.