*Short People Problems

WARNING: Art NSFW. I mean, it’s art. There are naked people.

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

So… I find myself needing to hem my husband’s pants.  Since folks seem endlessly interested in my domestic escapades, I thought I’d share.

So… I do what any nerd does when they don’t know something. I look it up on the internet.  And… I get either too much information, or not enough. Generally speaking, it’s not the information I’m looking for.  Those droids  are pretty illusive. I take the last refuge of the desperate, and read the comment boxen.  On Woman’s Day. Of all places to learn about sewing!

So… I discover that having to hem pants is a short person’s problem. Ha. Ha. Ha. I laugh.  See, I actually AM short. All I have to do to get pants that fit length-wise (more or less) is to look for the “P” on the tag.  If you happen to buy big /and/ tall, the pants come unhemmed, and seemingly designed for 8′ basketball players– or maybe bipedal Giraffes.  Yes, my husband is tall. 6′ 3″ to be precise. If he goes to the wrong places, he has to bend over to get through doors. He had to buy a special bed, so his feet don’t dangle off the end.  Procrustes might come in the night to chop them off. That’s just not cool. People look at us funny, trying to do the geometry in their heads. Trust me, it just works.  More proof of God’s existence.

Anyway… I discover that some people come magically prepared with a number– to be measured from the inseam– that tells them how long their pant legs are supposed to be. I think they shop at Lands End or something.  Then I see that some folks who tried the illustrated technique wound up with asymmetrical pant legs– at least an inch in difference from each other.  *twitch*  That’s not cool!  Not gonna happen, if I can help it.  SO I go over to the next link, a 24 step description designed for folks teaching themselves alteration. It explains NONE of this. [Ed~ to be fair– it’s probably on a different page. This stuff is complex. But NO link. Grrr.]   She too believes in magic numbers derived from helpful customers… or thin air.

I read through the steps again, then think back to my measuring technique.  Then I go back to the instructable that had 12 steps– and read through again.  Cool, now I just have to figure out how to sew up a hem for men’s dress pants, and pray I get it right.

To do the measurements I had to have him stand on the stairs. Then I crouched on several risers underneath, so I had some room to work– defining ‘room’ very loosely. His size 13 EEE feet do not fit on the riser, and he has to perform contortions worthy of mummenschanz to avoid kicking me in the face. For this reason, he had to turn around in between pins. I’m sure that wasn’t a good thing. Keeping in mind, if he slouches, or looks down, or shrugs through any of this, the measurements will turn out wrong.  Nice, huh? Do not get me started about how difficult this seemingly simple and common move really was. THIS is why we don’t have flying cars.

I decide it’s time to check my work… and measure twice.  I discover that each hem– and each pin– is different. Well, except for two.  29 inches from the inseam appears twice. On two different pairs of pants, during two different measuring sessions.  This is a promising sign.

So I go up and measure his leg, from where (he reports) the inseam lays on his body.  Yeah, husband and wife stuff. You don’t need to know.  After that, I feel somewhat better about the world, and more confident about my domestic talents. I go back to my work area, and decide to use that as my seam measurement.  Then I erase my fantasy pin fest, and start blocking out where my hem fold will fall.  And, feed the cats. Because cats are hungry, too.

So I load my sewing machine with black thread, and pray to the lady who wove the seamless garment to guide me.  I’m sure there’s an overworked patron saint of tailors somewhere, but I decide to fall back on Gareck. He’s my favorite brave little tailor, anyway– fictional or not.  😉

So… Now I have numbers, derived from pant leg measurement, and measuring directly from the man.  29″  falls roughly at his ankle.  This… is good.

So now I have to pick from about 18 different hemming techniques covered in my sewing compendium. Or just think of them as Jeans.  I mean, cargo pants are pretty similar to jeans, right?

They are kind of the worst world cross between dress pants and jeans. The fabric is thick, but not forgiving. The drape is boxy and based on the fold.  I hope I’m not over thinking this.  It’s pretty certain that I’m overthinking this.  At least my husband can rely on the fact that I won’t 1. try to iron the pants while he’s wearing them, and b. won’t stitch up the pant legs with pink thread. When I complained about the latter, mom handed me a sharpie.  Oh, and the pants were NAVY.  I have since acquired a navy sharpie in self defense, though those pants are long gone.  What does it say that my mother was generally much better at this sort of thing?

Seamstresses are sadists, I think.  Too bad, I’m a masochist. I’ll do my best.

Update: Success. I even managed to improvise not having a serger. Husband has pants!

Oh, and the comic below taught me everything you need to know about men’s fashion.  🙂









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