Good looking denim hemming?
July 18, 2008 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend someone to hem jeans in Chicago. I'm not that short (5'5" ish); I wear heels (2-3 inches most days), yet all my jeans are 5-6 inches too long. Have you found a tailor/drycleaner in Chicago that hems jeans without making them look disastrously altered?

I have seen these two threads here at ask. My sewing machine will not handle denim and I am not skilled enough to keep hand-stitches even, so I cannot and will not do this myself.

Yeh, I worry too much about my clothes, but I'm afraid to just pick a shop at random and hope it turns out.
posted by crush-onastick to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I doubt it's the fault of the tailor that your jeans look bad when hemmed. It's probably more that the cut of the jeans just doesn't work proportionally when there's 5" to 6" taken off the bottom.

The next time you buy jeans, fold up the cuffs to the right length (on the inside, if possible) and take a look in the mirror. If you still like the cut and look of the jeans, then it will be okay to have them hemmed. And any shop that does alterations ought to be able to do it for you — it's the simplest alteration there is.

I'm 5'5" and I take a 32" leg in jeans — you must have *really* short legs for your height. Probably petite sizes in pieces for your bottom half would work better for you, if you can find petite sized jeans.
posted by orange swan at 7:57 AM on July 18, 2008

Well, this is a little convoluted, but the people at Active Endeavors used to recommend a place for hemming jeans...they claimed the guy was good at maintaining the original details, etc. I don't actually remember the recommendation, unfortunately -- but if you called the Lincoln Park location, they'd probably tell you?
posted by BundleOfHers at 8:04 AM on July 18, 2008

I went to the dry cleaner near the Diversey Brown line stop two days ago. I was there just to ask how much hemming pants would be ($15). They had a sign stating "original jeans hem". I'm not sure what that means, but you should give it a try.
posted by sandmanwv at 8:05 AM on July 18, 2008

I picked a shop at random and it turned out. :) This is probably out of the way for you, but I took mine to a tailor/dry cleaner on Thorndale just east of the Red Line stop. (Not the one west of the stop that's big but gross looking, although I do take my dry cleaning there. The one east of the stop that is small and clean.) Just ask to keep the original hem - she knew what I was talking about. She sliced off the ends, removed the extra fabric, then sewed/serged the original hems back on. Didn't cost much - maybe $10-$12 a pair?

I'm 5'2" and even petites are too long on me (plus Lucky is my favorite brand and they don't do petite lengths) so I get most of my jeans hemmed this way.
posted by misskaz at 9:02 AM on July 18, 2008

thanks, kaz. That's what I'm looking for: "I went here and it worked out." I take most of my tailoring to a guy in Lincoln Park, but that's suits and fancy dresses. I've never seen anyone go in with a pair of jeans and well, it's so hard to find ones that fit my butt, I don't want to risk ruining them with the hems, but they look *so* *wrong* rolled up!

o-swan: the only petite length jeans I've found that fit are Ann Taylor Loft and even though they sit pretty low on the hips, they still have a mom-vibe I find disconcerting. Can you recommend someone that does petite length jeans?
posted by crush-onastick at 9:11 AM on July 18, 2008

I get mine done at La Modista on Clybourne. They charge $20, which is steep, but I've had two pairs done there, and they've done a good job.
posted by craichead at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2008

Express does "short" lengths that work for me (5'4). Banana Republic also recently has added a "short".
posted by ejaned8 at 9:48 AM on July 18, 2008

The clue to hemming jeans is the method advertised by Sandmanwv's tailor: "original jeans hem". Its basically impossible for a tailor to replicate the three layer sewing that goes into jeans at the manufacturers'. Talented tailors can follow the method Misskaz described above and hide the new hem in the process. Any jeans hem without this process will just look wrong.
posted by AuntLisa at 10:15 AM on July 18, 2008

Seconding the Exress Short sizes. I'm 5'4" and when I graduated from Hollister Short sizes, I found that I actually needed to get Regulars in Express sizes, since their Shorts are so, well, short.
posted by shadowfelldown at 10:27 AM on July 18, 2008

Longish-shot: I used to work at a Buckle store (though not in Illinois) hemming jeans using the original hem. Often customers would bring in jeans that they had bought elsewhere and I would hem them on my own time for around 10 bucks. I'm not sure if all Buckle stores have in-store alterations, but it appears that they have stores in Chicago and if one is convenient you could go in and ask. You should be able to see examples of his/her work, since they'll have jeans around that they hemmed for other customers.

Other highish-end jeans-heavy stores do this, too, if Buckle doesn't come through.
posted by doift at 12:24 PM on July 18, 2008

I got the name of the tailor the local J. Crew uses for their tailoring needs. Im not sure if they offer the same in Chicago, but the manner in which they do it makes it appear that it's the original hem. I can't tell the difference on my jeans.
posted by Asherah at 1:04 PM on July 18, 2008

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