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Home > Video > Video Display > How to Hem Jeans Tips on using an Entry Level Home Sewing Machine

How to Hem Jeans Tips on using an Entry Level Home Sewing Machine

A louder audio version of the one I posted in 2013.

Lots of info included here, such as Stitch Length and Thread links below. Click SHOW MORE to view.

SIDE NOTE: Also view the technique we use to keep the original hem by watching this excellent video:  Combine the info I've provided here with this technique to be successful using either technique.

I've received numerous messages from new sewers that bought an entry level sewing machine and tried to hem their jeans without success. I decided to create this video to give them some tips on how to succeed if their machine really struggles to hem jeans.

I am using the Baby Lock BL9 mechanical sewing machine in this video. http:// I bought it on sale for $99. I recommend it highly as it has an all metal frame and is very tough little machine for the price. It is a great entry level machine as well. I sew on industrial machines daily, but I still use my little BL9 when I am not at my shop.

I show the correct needles and thread to use, along with techniques to help the home sewer that has tried hemming a pair of retail jeans and failed for various reasons. It is my hope that my tips will lead to your success at getting the professional look you want.

Don't be afraid to try a smaller needle if your machine struggles with a larger needle. Sometimes this reverse logic can address an issue of a machine having problems with a size 16 or larger needle. A smaller needle fits through a tighter space theory may apply. 

The tension will vary on each machine. However, on all the home machines I've tested it is generally very close to the highest setting, which was 8 out of 9. 

The stitch length I used was 3.5, but don't be afraid to go with a 4.0 stitch length on the heavier threads.

If you want your new hem to better match the original quickly, then rough it up using some sandpaper or a sanding block. You can also mix a small amount of bleach in a cup of water - like a tablespoon of bleach. Rub it along the hem area using a q-tip or cotton tip stick. Give it a minute to absorb then rinse under cold water to remove all the bleach. Throw them in the washer and repeat until you get the faded look on the hem line you desire.

Please note that the BL9 will actually sew over the seams without my help of turning the hand wheel. However, it does NOT keep the seam in line when doing so. I find this to be the case for all home machines. Therefore, I show you how to go about getting a nice straight hem on a home machine from a non sewing expert point of view. 

Here is a link to the presser foot spacers I mention in the video (since jeans come in so many different thickness now I highly recommend these):  ( Update Jan 2018 - Company is no longer in business. I removed the link since it is no longer a working link.) 
My Amazon Affiliate Links Below:

Here is the jean-a-ma-jig I show in the video:

Link to the Seam Guide Magnet:

Coats and Clark Tex 60 Jeans Hem Thread (I have used it and recommend it too if you don't want a large spool of thread):

Tex 60 750 yds Jean Thread:
(Note! Wawak no longer carries the thread I used in this video)

This is one of my favorite threads for domestic machines: 
Gutermann Jeans Thread 100m Gold, 1870:

For the thread and needles simple go on Amazon and search for "Jeans Thread" and "Denim Needles". A 30 weight thread is suggested. Top Stitching Thread is also good.

I recommend getting size 14,16 and 18 denim needles. This will give you the option to use the smallest needle based on your denim type and your sewing machine model.

Schmetz Size 14 Denim Needles:

Schmetz Size 16 Denim Needles:

Schmetz Size 18 Denim Needles:

(Links last verified on 1/24/18. Please let me know if your find any that  are invalid);

Let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you and please share any tips you discover in your attempt to successfully hem your jeans.
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