How To: Hem Jeans by Hand

Joseph has had some too-long jeans sitting around for about a year. As I don’t own a sewing machine and don’t know of any tailors in the area, we’ve just had to leave them in the closet. Then suddenly it came to me–of course I can hem them by hand!

Note: I can not sew anything besides buttons. So if you can’t sew, don’t worry. I just used a simple backstitch. This is one of the easiest stitches, and you can watch a quick video on YouTube to pick it up. The stitch isn’t visible at all, so you don’t have to be perfect. Of course, if you have a sewing machine you can always use that! You’ll still keep the professionally finished hem and wont’ have to make any cuts.

This method is extremely simple to pick up, easy on the hands, and looks seamless. You won’t have to spend money on a tailor! Keeping the original hem makes for a nice, clean look. All we do is make an invisible stitch just above the bottom seam and tuck the excess fabric out of sight.

First, try the pants on and measure how much shorter they need to be. Make a cuff half of that length and pin it. For these jeans I wanted to remove 3.5 inches so pinned them at 1.75 inches.

After measuring around each leg, pin the cuff.

Stitch in a line just below the bottom seam. Make sure you are stitching through only two layers of fabric–not through the other side of the pant leg.

Continue sewing in a line all the way around the cuff. Try to keep an equal distance from the seam, but the line does not have to be perfectly straight. Keeping close to the original seam means your new hem will be less noticeable. You can see the small navy line of my stitches in the photo above.

Next, fold the cuff back down. You can either cut some of the excess material (leave half an inch or so for fraying) or just tuck it up. Edit:  Joseph was having problems with the fabric falling back down around his feet when not wearing shoes, so I just tacked the excess and now he never notices these were hemmed.

Iron your new seam!


It took me about an hour to fix these jeans. After the initial measuring they require very little thought–work on some of your too-long legs while watching television. One great thing about this hem is that it’s completely reversible as well–just cut out our stitches and you have your original pants back!

Update: My husband has been wearing this same pair of jeans for over a year now, and the hem has held up perfectly! Neither of us have even noticed the hem since–it really is invisible unless you’re looking for it.

Elinor Neckwarmer

With winter coming to a close I decided to put to use some of the thick Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn I had sitting around. I tend to name my knit goods after characters/places in books I’m reading at the time, and this one made me think of Elinor Dashwood.

This pattern is really interesting in that you just slip one end through the cable at the other end to to keep it secured around your neck.

This Twisted Vine Neckwarmer pattern is a quick and easy knit with beautiful results. I’d love to make it again in a lighter color that will allow the pattern to really pop. I’m definitely keeping it in mind for gifts–I hope my family doesn’t get upset if they all receive one for Christmas next year!

My Ravelry link

Embroidered Crown Jacket

I’ve been interested in improving some of my clothes for a while but am scared of ruining them. I noticed this little cotton J. Crew cardigan hanging lifelessly in my closet. I’ve probably worn it three times; I ordered it on sale and expected it to be more like a cardigan sweater.

I’ve always loved the little crowns on the buttons so decided to embroider one onto the chest!  The bright gold really compliments the drab grey and navy.  I think this jacket will have a much bigger rotation in my wardrobe now!

I’m very, very happy with how it came out! I’m not sure why it looks so wrinkled here–bad lighting, I suppose–the fabric is actually pretty wrinkle-free. I have a brown cardigan I want to liven up a bit, and now I almost have the courage to work on it next.

I made a few sketches before I got started. Since the navy of the jacket was too dark to draw on, I cut out my final sketch, taped it to the fabric, and traced the bottom. Then I lightly drew the rest free-hand with pencil and used that as a guide for the french knots.
You can also see I’m working on some deer antlers! I’m not sure what I’m going to do with those yet.

A bit of my embroidery floss collection. I can’t wait to have a craft room where I can organize all of my goods! Right now they just sit all tangled in a plastic bag

This is how my cat likes to ruin my photos

To and From

Now that my family has received their Christmas gifts, I’m excited to post about them! Even though who I buy for has doubled (with no help from Joseph–I’ve learned men lose all opinions on these things once married :p), I love planning and preparing Christmas packages.

For all the little girls in the family I framed these embroideries. Joseph helped pick out each girl’s hair color, and I embroidered them then painted a few small frames white. The font for each girl’s name is “Little Days”

Patterns are “Cute Little Heads” from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching (my #1 source for modern embroidery)

I knit this scarf for my mother-in-law LezLee. I wish I had made the ends larger, but the yarn (Malabrigo Lace) is so soft and such a nice color (“apricot”) that I think it makes up for it!

The beads on the end help with the draping.  Pattern available here for anyone interested.

For knit goods this year I made these tags out of cardstock and decorative paper. I ordered the beautiful stamp from foryoo’s Etsy shop.

For my sister Victoria I knit these mittens–by far my favorite thing I’ve made in my seven years of knitting! My very first mittens, first time knitting in the round, and first time knitting with two colors.

Tori holding a tiny snowball in her well-protected hands! She told me they were extremely warm; I was a bit jealous in Switzerland when I looked down to my flimsy old Urban Outfitters mittens.
“Bird in Hand” pattern available here.

Lastly, I made a few spice blends for my dad. I got the idea from Syndey at Crepes of Wrath last winter and looked forward to making them all year. I made an Italian seasoning, Creole seasoning, Blackened seasoning, Taco Seasoning, and Spiced Sugar. Maybe next year I will make a post just before Christmas dedicated solely to this idea.

As for the gifts I received…

Joseph and I decided not to do much for Christmas this year as we’re saving up for a trip to Egypt next month. I gave him a blue ASUS Eee PC, and he gave me the Canon 50mm f1.4 lens I’d been craving. On Christmas Day he had one more gift for me–Easton Press’ beautiful collection of Jane Austen novels.

We’ve been collecting Easton Press books for a few years (I get one every month as part of the 100 Greatest Novels collection) but have been wanting a uniform set to balance out the library. These are so beautiful! I’ve already read Northanger Abbey since receiving the set. They came at a perfect time as I need to reread Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility for class. Do I really need to buy a paperback copy or will I not look completely ridiculous carrying these into class?

My friends and family know me well–I got three much-needed aprons for Christmas! My mom picked up this one at Anthropologie; I love that I was wearing the perfect outfit to match it that day!

My mom also sent along something I desperately needed–pajama pants and house shoes. Can you believe I didn’t own a pair of either?

Joseph decided it was time I own a grown-up watch, and a Movado at that. My old leather Fossil watch finally broke in September, and I planned on replacing it with a very similar leather Fossil watch. I was completely surprised when Joseph gave me this for my anniversary! I never would have picked it out myself, but it’s absolutely perfect for me.

In person it really glimmers and shines, and the pink is the perfect hue, almost a bit gold. And yes–those are diamonds!

Lens & Crafts

I finally got a new lens! I highly recommend the Canon 50mm f/1.4 to any Canon DSLR users! It’s absolutely amazing in low-light, so I can finally take pictures in my dimly-lit apartment. I’ve already taken over 100 photos since it came in yesterday! I anticipate a much better blog in the future!

A few photos from the new lens:

A friend sent this pinecone garland for my Christmas tree last year, but I ended up liking it better draped around my staircase.

My kitty Leonardo!

What a fancy boy!

My husband’s grandmother sent him this antique book (I’m not sure how long he’s had it, but it was around before I met him), published in 1901. It’s fallen to pieces, but that makes it even more beautiful.

I’ve kept busy with crafts the last few months. There are a few things I’d like to post that will have to wait until after Christmas, but I can show off a bit of embroidery.

I made this for Joseph for our second anniversary (second anniversary gift is supposed to be cotton!).

The pattern is by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching

This year I made Christmas cards for family. I originally planned to make them for friends as well, but they ended up taking far too long (about five hours each, eek!).

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