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Can I get my jeans shortened an inch for a reasonable price?

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    Can I get my jeans shortened an inch for a reasonable price?

    Well, it seems most 32x32 sized jeans (Levi's Included) are too short for my 6 foot frame and 32x34 are too long. What is a guy to do?


    Get them hemmed. Or do it yourself. It's not complicated.



      Opinions vary on this, although I suspect that if you're asking here, opinion #1 (below) is all that matters. There are really three camps when it comes to hemming jeans:

      Opinion #1: Ask your go-to alterations shop if they hem jeans; chances are they do. If they don't, just ask around until you find a regular alterations place that does. It'll probably cost either the same as hemming dress pants, maybe 10-20% more. They'll give your jeans a "regular hem," using a regular sewing machine, and you won't notice any problems until the jeans are starting to wear out in general.

      Opinion #2: Jeans must only be altered using the "chain stitching" method, which requires a certain kind of sewing machine (most sewing machines don't chain stitch, and/or are not strong enough to handle denim without compromising the strength of the hem. If it's not chain stitched, the hem of your jeans will look flat, dress-pants-like, and characterless. A non-chain stitched hem also won't age as well as a traditional chain stitched hem, which means you won't get the "roping" that we take for granted with jeans hems.

      Opinion #3: Hem jeans? Are you crazy? Just cuff or roll them. They're jeans, and jeans are meant to be cuffed if they're too long.

      Honestly, if you're talking about new entry-level (i.e., $30-50) jeans, they probably came with a regular (non-chain stitched) hem to begin with. However, if they came prewashed in any way -- that is, if they're anything other than "raw" or "rigid" denim -- a new hem would look different from the original one, which will have been broken in via washing.

      If you're talking about higher-end denim, then chain stitching would probably be in your best interest, as it adds durability and really does help the jeans' "evolution" over time by encouraging a certain type of shrinkage and twisting that simply looks right for jeans. Until a couple of decades ago, all jeans were chainstitched; it's just fallen out of favor because it costs more on the production end.

      FWIW, I've had jeans chain stitched, I've had jeans regular-hemmed, and I've cuffed/rolled jeans. The decision really depends on which look you like the best, combined with how "serious" the jeans are to begin with and whether it's worth shipping them off to the kind of place that does chain stitching (generally for $20-30 per pair of jeans, plus shipping).

      Here are a couple of references to help illustrate what I'm talking about -- the first one explains it brilliantly and succinctly:

      Also worth noting: Levi's and others do mass-produce jeans in a 32x33. It's not common, which means they're hard to find, but they do produce some styles in that size.

      Finally, this is almost certainly irrelevant to you, but there are a number of custom jeansmakers out there who could give you whatever length you wanted in a brand-new pair of extremely well-made jeans. I know of one guy in particular who does this exclusively and does it very well (mostly via online order), albeit for an impressively high price. If my assumption about this not being of interest to you is incorrect, I'd be glad to point you in his direction for further guidance.



        ^ That was a great explanation - you learn something new every day!



          Ya, make sure you have them "take up the hem", rather than just cutting it off, or you'll lose the bottom stitching which looks stupid.

          My tailor just kind of folded the material up and stitched to make it work.



            I think my tailor does the same thing that Zero's offers - when I get jeans hemmed, I can either get a new hem (for cheaper) or "keep the original" (another $10). I'm guessing it must be some sort of fold technique...?



              Thank you! Yeah, my jeans are just Levi's or Gap, nothing too fancy, but I cannot stand baggy jeans and cuffing them doesn't look good to me. This is great advice and cheaper than having to buy new jeans since I have a few pairs that are of the 34 length. Thanks again! Love the dappered community!





                  I'm actually wearing mine today. It looks like the bottom is actually folded on itself, and then stitched inside. There is some weird knotting where the contrast stitching meets, so I'm guessing they messed with that as well.

                  I dunno... good enough for me. I think I paid around $15 for it?



                    All my Levi's are lockstitched at the hem. My 511s are chainstitched on the outseam. The hem doesn't look like 'dress pants', but all my dress pants have a blind hem.

                    My H&M $25 jeans are chainstitched at the hem. Go figure.

                    Most alterations places have enough machines to handle whatever stitch you would specify.



                      In my experience, which is admittedly limited to the Atlanta area, the average alterations shop does not have (or claims they don't have) the equipment to chainstitch jeans. It's unclear whether that's due to the thickness/weight of denim (and the commensurate strength of the sewing machines needed to work on jeans while keeping everything at the proper tension), the absence of a chainstitching option on many newer/cheaper machines, or typical alterations folks simply not understanding what "chainstitch" means. I have a feeling some of the people I asked might have been equipped to do what I was asking for, but there was a significant enough language barrier that they responded simply by looking perplexed and saying, "No, no chay-stitch here. Cannot do denim."

                      Regardless, after a fairly exhaustive search -- I spoke with over twenty tailors and alterations shops in and around Atlanta -- I am fairly confident that there is no one here who does chainstitched hems on jeans, with the possible exception of one of the high-end bespoke shops in town. That is the case in a lot of towns (especially smaller ones), which is why there is a thriving online market for specialized jeans repair and alterations.

                      To the OP, I would suggest asking around for what others in this thread have suggested: a place that can use the original hem but just take up the jeans elsewhere. If they're not overly distressed/broken-in before being hemmed, that method will yield excellent results. If the jeans in question ARE quite broken-in (i.e., if their color is no longer uniformly dark), taking jeans up and retaining the original hem can leave a strange-looking line of demarcation wherever the "taking up" and stitching occurred.



                        Weird. I was under the impression that a lot of segers were capable of chain stitching as that's part of a typical cover stitch. My tailor runs my shirts through some kind of overlock machine. Maybe I'm just spoiled. Even my sewing machine can handle mid-weight denim (though can't chain stitch, obviously).

                        What is the world coming to when alterations shops can't handle denim?!



                          Lib, I'm with you -- the first time I needed a pair of jeans altered, I just assumed I could bring them to my usual cheap alterations shop like any other article of clothing. I mean, this lady once shortened the sleeves on a heavy leather jacket for me -- sleeves that ended in gussets/zippers that had to be shortened along with the sleeves.

                          With that in mind, when the lady there indicated that she couldn't work with denim, I was shocked. I figured most seamstresses and tailors probably altered jeans all the time, given that they're the most popular pants in the country.

                          20+ phone calls later, I remain surprised that altering jeans has become such a specialty niche. It's mind-boggling to think that nobody in Atlanta does this -- after all, this is a pretty big city with a pretty high number of jeans-wearers.