When smaller and mid-sized denim brands manufacture jeans, they try to cover a wide range of customers by producing the jeans as long as 34 to 36 inches. For those who have to shorten jeans or pants offered by
- A - The leg opening
is also knownas the hem. The inseam of this jeanoriginally measured 34-inches long.
- B - Hemming is shortening the inseam length.
This jean has been hemmedto measure 28-inches in length. The leg opening appears slightly smaller at this point in the photo, however, with added tapering, the hem has been trimmedto the original size. It is only because the width of a tapered pant gets larger the higher up. The raised leg opening looks smaller at this point as compared with the original width.
- C - This is the original knee position of the uncut
34-inseam leg (12 ½
”below the crotch). The knee is where the leg circumference begins enlargement into the thigh. Without raising the knee position on shortened jeans, the area around the knee will be bigger than originally designed.
- D - By tapering, we trimmed the denim slightly to match the original
measurements at the lower leg and raised the knee placement, so the leg keeps
its original contoured shape.
The new knee is located10 ½ ”below the crotch. Without raising the knee, you can see how much extra fabric would remain if hemming alone.
Unless you are up for laying out good money for a pair of bespoke custom-made jeans, which should come with the production of the customer’s own custom made pattern. It is likely a brand which offers multiple inseam options will
Let’s say a brand offers pants or jean sizes 30x28, 30x29, 30x30 and 30x31. That’s four different inseams within a single waist size. To have the proper knee location on
Our suggestion is merely hemming jeans and adding tapering. For this is a simple alteration where we take apart the legs, make the adjustments, then put them back together. If constructed with a lap or flat-felled seam with double stitch lines, we only need to take apart the inseam. If
Before explaining how to hem jeans with added tapering, we will first explain the two types of construction found in most jeans, which is especially important
- E - Denim and work clothing most often
are producedwith a flat-felled seam. It has a double needle chain stitch (sometimes 3-needles in work pants) at the inseam for strength and durability. It would be surprisingif your local cleaners or tailor had the machine required to sew this seam. Without the need of an open outseam, it sews the top stitch and closes the seam in a single pass.
–Pictured in both images are selvedge outseams. The vast amount of denim sold will not come with selvedge denim. Top-end denim brands will offer selvedge in their line-ups. Some only offer selvedge, although it does not factorin the quality of the fabric. The outseam can also be constructedwith an overlockededge and pressed open as the selvedge appears. Low-end denim producers routinely close the outseamswith a serger seam for speed. If a pant is not constructedwith a flat-felled seam, the outseam has to be takenapart up to hipsor pocket bags, in orderto sew the top stitch after tapering alterations.
–The hem or leg opening on denim jeans are commonly sewnwith a chain-stitch machine in better denim. Low-end makers will frequently use standard single needle. Home sewers and fine tailors often run into difficulty closing the hem at the inseam using machines not tough enough for denim.
- H -
Although there are better brands that will make
heavy denim jeans with a serger inseam and
singleneedle top stitch, this construction is most often used on women’s and skinny jeans for comfort and flexibility. Lower priced jeans also prefer the serger seam for ease and speed. When tapering a garment with this construction, the outseam must be opened in orderto laydown the topstitching after serging.
FYI, the heavy lifting in the leg shape of a pattern