I’ve hemmed jeans on the blog before, I know. This time though, I’m taking it up a notch with some jeans-thread topstitching.
The last time I did some outlet shopping, I found some jeans that almost fit for $16 (yay, me!). The only problem was that they were over 4 inches too long. Fortunately, hemming pants is one of the easiest sewing projects there is. These were straight leg, making it even easier.
I followed my usual hemming process. Here’s a refresher:
- Try on the jeans with shoes. Place a pin where you would like them to end.
- Measure the distance from the bottom to the pin. Subtract your chosen hem allowance from this number.
- Take out the pin. Measure up from the bottom the calculated number of inches and mark. Be careful to mark the same distance all the way around both legs.
- Cut at the marked line.
- Finish the raw edges with a 3 or 4 thread overlock stitch. (Any color will do – this stitching doesn’t show).
- Turn the jeans inside out. Turn up the hems to your hem allowance and press. Turn right side out again.
- Test your topstitching on the cut-off scraps. Topstitch the hem in place. Done!
To get the factory-made jeans look, the right topstitching is essential. When you think of jeans details, you think of heavy thread in shades of gold, white, and neutrals. I found that there are many options available. You can find thread made specifically for jeans, but any thread in the heavier weight ranges is worth considering. Think about whether you want soft or hard, matte or shiny, heavy or really heavy. Here are some to try:
- Coats Dual-Duty Plus thread for Jeans & Topstitching cotton (soft) or poly (shiny) wrapped
- Gütermann Jeans Thread poly/cotton TEX 75
- Wawak Jeans thread – cotton wrapped polyester blend TEX 60, 80, 100 *This is what I used
- Good quality perle cotton embroidery thread such as Presencia Perle Cotton. You’ll want the kind in a ball.
You will need the right size needle for your thread. I used a size 14/90 universal needle for my TEX 60 weight thread. It worked well on the first try, so I didn’t try any other sizes. However, if I were to use a TEX 80 or 100 weight thread, I would go up to a 16/100. Schmetz, Klasse and Singer make a range of needles specifically for jeans which are supposed to be more durable when sewing through multiple layers. You can also get double needles. These are great if you want to be extra sure you stitch parallel lines and come with different spacing. I haven’t tried them yet, but if I get into sewing a lot of denim, I’m sure I will.
I never really thought about it before, but there isn’t any reason that the bobbin and the upper thread have to match. In fact, what seems to work best for jeans is a bobbin thread in a normal weight the same color as the denim.
Fortunately, my machine sews through thick fabrics and “bumps” without a hitch. I have found that with other machines a “hump jumper” can save a lot of frustration when going over seams. You can make your own with some folded tagboard or you can buy them ready-made. A walking foot can also help your machine cope with the thick layers.
Your machine shouldn’t need any tension or other fancy adjustments. You will just want to make sure it is sewing the longest possible straight stitch to start.
Once I had my machine set up, I lined up the bottom edge of the jeans with the edge of my presser foot. This worked well for stitching the first line. The second line was done in much the same way, just using the first line of stitching as my visual edge guide.
Now that I know how easy it is, I am going to topstitch all the time!
Next time, sewing for patternreview.com’s Shirtdress Contest.