The BEST Way to Hem Jeans with Original Hem (Euro Hem)

Photo from Am one Textiles Projects
I started teaching my fall semester sewing classes this week.  I always ask my students what it was that they want to learn in the class.  My beginning sewing class seemed to as a whole want to learn how to use their machines better and how to fix and alter clothes.   I think it's great that there is an interest in repairing clothes as most clothes are made to be disposable and are easily fixed.  I love that I can fix most of my favorite items of clothing in less than 5 min often. I have learned from my time in the fashion industry that you can have a beautiful designer outfit and if the cut is wrong or it doesn't fit right it will not look good.  You can have a thrift store outfit tailored to you perfectly and look like a million dollars.  The moral of the story is it is totally worth it to have your wardrobe perfectly tailored to you.  The repairs I often do for myself is fixing seams, hemming, hand sewing buttons, and taking in dresses (in the waist with darts). 

This is the first post in a serious on How to Fix and Alter Clothes. Check below or click here to see our other hemming tutorials.

What is an Original Jean Hem?
I suggest using a Euro hem (also called original hem) on your jeans especially if you have expensive designer jeans!  I use to work at Bloomingdale's and was amazed when someone chose not to spend the little bit more to get the euro hem. The euro hem is a hemming technique that keeps the original details of the hem.  It maintains the faded and worn look of it that most people want (contrary to old people's logic). 

Almost All Original Hem Tutorials Are Wrong!
Before I do anything I haven't done ever or for a long time I always check online for tutorials so of course before hemming my jeans I scoured you tube for a good video on how to do the Euro Hem or Original Hem, and to my surprise they are almost all wrong. Like literally 98% I looked at were wrong.

How Do I Know Most Tutorials Are Wrong?
 I worked for years at Bloomingdale's in the denim department.  Most customers got their jeans altered at our alterations department.  I was the go between for the customer and our tailors, meaning I would call them down to measure the customer and I would go to the alterations department to pick it up and give the alterations to the customer.  So I know what a proper original hem from a good tailor should look like, and what is on most websites and Youtube videos are anything but. Most of the videos showed the end product having an obvious crease.  It should not be obvious!  Other than that they look good from the outside, but if you looked at it from the inside it looks a mess.  It should look on the inside exactly like it would have if they had never been hemmed.  If it doesn't look the same on the inside it is wrong (or I guess another way to say it is there is a better way).

You should have to really look at the hem closely to be able to tell that it was hemmed.  Professional tailors do not sew just below the original hem line they take apart the original hem thread and place the hem over the seam and sew directly on top of the original hem.  This is what makes it difficult to tell that it was altered at all.  All the other videos I saw showed them sewing below the original hem stitching.

Original Jean Hem Tutorials the Right Way 
(How Your Tailor Would Hem Jeans)

One of the few tutorials I could find on websites that actually show the Euro hem the right way is Cotton and Curls, which I've followed for years and have always found Liz at Cotton and Curls to have good tutorials, so congrats to her for getting it right!   She also has a very detailed tutorial, with great pictures.  Go check out Cotton and Curls Original Hem tutorial right now and then watch the video below.

This is What a Correct Original Hem Should Look Like! via Cotton and Curls
Below is the only video I found where the end result looked good to me and I'd bet money that the video was made by a professional tailor.  He does have a bit of an accent and does not explain what he is doing very well so listen carefully. I think by watching this video and checking out Cotton and Curls tutorial it should all come together for you.

Tips

  • Wash and dry your jeans before hemming if they are new.  It typically will shrink 1/4" according to the tailors I have worked with.
  • Since jeans are a thick material, and subsequently doubled over the seam, this can be a particular challenge. If machine sewing, use a larger needle size.
  • Practice on a pair of old jeans before you try on your expensive designer jeans.
Click Here to read part 2 of this series: How to Hem Pants With or Without a Machine
Click Here to read part 3 of the series: How to Hem Pants With a Cuff

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