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Get the absolute best fit from your jeans through customized tapering & hemming

We would like to share with you a few things we thought you should know about tapering and inseam alterations. Hopefully, our explanation could lead to a better looking and fitting pair of jeans.

If you are a guy or gal who is buys jeans off-the-shelf and later applies alterations to shorten the inseam at least 3 or 4-inches without ordering tapering, we know you have experienced leg opening growth and knee position which causes the fit of the jeans to not look quite the same as they did in the photo of the taller model or mannequin that attracted you to that style.

Chart showing how to taper jeans and effects of hemming

Simply shortening the inseam gives you the length you require, but it also alters the shape of the jeans. To get the best look when customizing your jeans by going the extra step of adding tapering if you have to take off more than a few inches at the inseam.

Before ordering tapering under the ALTERATIONS menu of our website, make sure to note all your requested measurements. First find your own knee location. Put your jeans on, then mark the center point of your knee by giving it a slight bend. A small piece of tape works well because it won’t leave a mark on the fabric. Note, the original knee location of our jeans and many other brands is generally about 12 ½ inches below the crotch seam, depending on the jeans length or brand, this could vary.

Drawing explains how to taper jeans by marking the knee position

Example of a pair of Williamsburg raw denim jeans on cutting table with knee position marked for tapering

Although a pair of jeans may be designed with the knee area positioned in conjunction with the off-the-shelf inseam length, the position of the knee on a 36-inch inseam jean is going to be very different for a person who needs to shorten the jeans to a 28-inch inseam.

Commonly, when taking a pair of jeans to your tailor to shorten the inseam, that’s all they will do. Likewise, if you order HEMMING on our website, we will cut the leg down to your requested length and sew it with a chain stitched hem.

When preforming inseam alterations, the leg opening size increases as the leg circumference gets larger the higher up you go from the bottom towards the crotch. To best keep the original look and shape a jeans design, it is best to also taper jeans if taking off more than about 3-inches.

When raising the position of the bottom, the knee position should also be raised as shown on our drawing near the top of this page. This helps keep the silhouette the jeans as close as possible to their original intended look.

How to measure jeans leg opening

Finally, measure the leg opening your jeans on a flat surface. Note, measure is taken by measuring one side of the jeans. You would then need to double that measurement or multiple by 2, in order to get the total circumference measurement of the leg opening.

Choose the measurement you would like. Note, our order form allows for half inch sizes. If you want a quarter inch size, please put your request in the notes section, but please be aware, we require a half inch allowance up or down from your requested measurement.


Author: Maurice Malone, Posted: March 3, 2018