I buy pretty much all of my clothing from thrift stores, so I take stuff home expecting to make some alterations. Sometimes the changes are drastic, such as hacking off a pair of cargo pants to make a pair of cargo capris, and sometimes the changes are cosmetic, such as adding painted dragon wings and a couple of horns to an otherwise perfectly fine hoodie.
Sometimes, however, all I need is simple: a plain pair of well-fitting jeans. At a thrift store, finding the perfect jeans can be a challenge, but if I find a pair of jeans that fits well at the hips and waist, and that has a nice cut, I can often alter the length to fit.
If the jeans are too long, then hemming them is an easy fix. However, even if the jeans are a little too short, it’s easy to lengthen them by up to an inch with just a couple of quick alterations. If your pants are just a little too short to wear with your best combat boots, here’s how to alter them:
The first thing to do is to rip out the bottom hem of both legs. A seam ripper will work, but because the thread used to sew jeans is sturdier than your average thread, I get the best results by simply clipping every other stitch of the hem with a small pair of sewing scissors (this job is easiest performed while watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix), then pulling the seam apart and clipping any stitches that still don’t want to give.
Once the threads are all clipped, unfold the seam completely and iron it flat with a nice, hot iron. Those folds won’t want to lie quite flat anymore, but they will after a few washes, and all those little thread bits will wash right out, too.
The amount of extra length that you’ll get here depends on how much fabric was tucked into your hem. I usually get about 1″ extra, which is usually exactly what I need.