How to shorten pants, using the original hem.

I know it’s been a long time since I posted the previous post on how to make a pattern from an existing garment, but it’s been so hot.  My workroom is in a shed with no a/c and it’s been in the 100’s with 60-80% humidity, but I will get it done.  In the meantime, I want to share how shorten pants, using the original hem.

1. Mark your pants to your desired length.

2. Cut on that line.

3. Taking the part you cut off, measure the hem.  Pants have different length hems, depending on the type of pant.  Measure the hem, then measure up from the hem stitching, just a shorter length than the measurement of the hem, and cut there.  For instance, if the hem is 1/2″, you’re going to cut up from the hem stitching line 3/8″.  
4. Take out the hem and reattach the hem to the pants. Make sure to keep the right hem with the right leg or the seams won’t match up. You want the flat-felled seam to match up with the right flat-felled  seam.

5. Once the hem is sewn back on, press the seam allowance toward the hem, fold the hem back into position and sew it back down.

This takes time to get really good at.  There are different types of fabric and denim that works better than others.  Just keep practicing!

Making a pattern from an existing garment

There’s not just one way to do this, but this is my process. Not everyone learns or does things the same way, so I’m hoping that in this tutorial, you get the gist of how to make a pattern from an existing garment and do it in a way that makes sense to you.

What you’ll need:

Roll of paper
Dritz pattern board
Pencil and marker

1. I placed paper on the pattern board
2. I’m doing the front of the shorts first.  I placed pins in the seams around the front of the shorts.  I don’t want to put pockets in the new shorts, so I didn’t pin down the outline of the pockets.  I just followed the line at the top of the shorts all the way to the side seam.


3. Next I pulled all the pins out and used my pencil to draw the lines, connecting the pinholes.
     Then, I drew my center line  and my horizontal cutting lines (with zig zags) and guidelines (no zig zags)


I knew from trying on the original shorts, that I wanted to make them wider and longer from waist to crotch.


4. Before cutting the pattern into the four pieces, I decided to draw a cut line between the lower guidelines, in the event I want to  lengthen them for another pair of shorts, but I won’t be using that line this time.
The two center verticle lines will give me the added width I want for these shorts.
The three lines between the upper two pieces and the lower two pieces serve as the added length and guidelines.
The three lines between the lower two pieces are guidelines.


5. Using the guidelines, I pinned the pattern pieces to the new lines of the larger shorts.


6. After I pinned all the pieces in place, I traced around the new shorts, being careful to blend the uneven lines between the pattern pieces.


7. Then I added an additional 1″ all the way around the pattern for a large seam allowance.  After the fittings, you can trim off the excess.

Check back soon to get the next steps or follow me to get the notifications.

I hope this helped you.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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South Carolina

After 5 days of traveling, we finally arrived in South Carolina Within 2 weeks, I had a job and a house, for which I Thank God! 

My road crew

The caravan 

On the road again

Some shots along our way

The Travelers Chapel

Best Pressed

I took a fine dress making class in 2013.  The information was so useful, I just wanted to share it with everyone.

I’ve seen so many garments that turned out so bad, because they failed to press their seams after each one.  My professor told us. When you want to make a great garment, you’ll spend 4x more time at the ironing board, than you will at the sewing machine.  I did this and I’m glad I did.

In the beginning, I wanted to just hurry up and get the garment done, that I was working on.  I wanted to take shortcuts, but I always turned out garments that really disappointed me and weren’t wearable.  I wanted a great garment, but I didn’t want to take the time to do things right.  After taking this class, I finally realized, I can’t have both.  I couldn’t take shortcuts and expect a professional looking garment.  I needed to take pride in my work. Sometimes, it takes hand sewing or hand basting or ironing after EVERY seam I sew, to get the best results.


This is how I was taught to iron after every seam  that I sew.

For every seam you sew, you’ll press it 4 times. Be sure to always use a pressing cloth. I didn’t use a pressing cloth because I just used a scrap of fabric.  It wasn’t a garment.

The first press.  After you sew the two pieces of fabric together, press, one side.  Press, don’t slide your iron over the seam.  Just hold and press.

Press 1

The second press. Now flip the fabric over and press the other side.

Press 2

The third press. Open the fabric and place the right side down.  Open and press the seam allowance open.

press 3 b

Sometimes, it’s easier to press it open on a sleeve roll or tailors ham

press 4 c

The forth press: Flip the fabric over and press the seam from the right side of the fabric.

press 6


press 7

I hope this helps! Have a great sewing day!

Narrow Hems- Tutorial

This hem can be used on chiffon, organza, lining, or any other type of delicate fabric.

To create a narrow hem on chiffon or organza, start by cutting your fabric about 1.25 inches longer than your desired hem length.  In the picture, I measured a 1″ hem.

1. Measure 1 1/4″ up from the raw edge of your fabric and mark your fabric. Do this all the way around your garment.


2. Fold your hem on that line and press with an iron, being careful not to pull the fabric.

3. Sew as close to the fold line as you can get, without going off the fabric.


4. Use duck-billed scissors and trim the hem off, cutting as close to the stitch line as you can get without cutting the threads.



5. Now, fold the hem up, just past the original stitch line and stitch close to the fold again.


6. Press the hem again.


McQueen and I – A Documentary

I found this video on Youtube of the rise and death of one of the greatest and I might add strangest British fashion designers.

While watching the documentary, I thought in certain times in his life, if this had been handled differently maybe his life could have been different, or if someone had noticed this or that, but we’ll never know.

You can watch the documentary here