My daughter has had a bit of a growth spurt recently. She’s still a short little thing, but some of her jeans are suddenly looking a little questionable in the length. So, to avoid her getting teased in preschool for wearing “high waters” (Kids, these days.) I decided it was time to get rid of the jeans.
As I was stacking the clothes into little storage box, I had an amazing idea. One that would save us money! Because it’s a recession! I was all “I’ll just cut these jeans and turn them into shorts!”
I cut coupons, why not cut my daughter’s jeans?
Logical, yes?
There were only two possible problems.
1. The only thing that I have ever sewn in my entire life is potholders made from my Grandma’s material scraps.
2. I do not own a sewing machine.
But who needs a sewing machine when one has a sewing kit in a bag that one bought at Target on clearance for $4.99?
If thine can thread a needle, thine can turn jeans into shorts. (I learned that from The Bible. Of FRUGALITY.)
I was very confident I could do this and make it look good. So, I laid the jeans on the floor and began to cut. I did my best to make sure the cuts were straight and even. (Keep in mind that “my best” probably equals “your worst” when it comes to cutting things. See: This Post.) After I finished cutting the jeans, I threaded the needle and began to “sew” away. I can’t lie, I was totally excited about a)my desire to do something so “homemaker-y” b) saving a little money on buying new shorts for my daughter I even had a blog post in mind titled something like “Y’s guide to save money on back to school shopping. FRUGALITY RULEZ!”
But about 8 stitches in I realized I couldn’t sew a straight hemline. Nor could I space the stitches out properly. The vision I had in my head of a slightly flawed, yet well done hemline started to look a little bit like this:
But I kept going. I started this bitch, I was going to finish it.
It only took me about 30 minutes and 67 bad words to finish. And in the end, I had a cute little pair of shorts.
A cute little pair of shorts with an effed up hemline that she can’t wear anywhere in public.
Which, fine. Whatever. PLAY SHORTS!
I’d love to hear any stories you have of “frugal gone wrong.” I mean, I’m not the only one who fails hard at these kind of things, right?

61 thoughts on “Hem THIS.

  1. Heather

    IMO i think they are fine.. let her wear them around the house.. I dont think anyone would even really notice, unless you have her carry a sign… I think u did a good job!!!

  2. Louise

    First of all, that really doesn’t look bad at all.
    My “frugal gone wrong’ story is about my hair. When I was 14, my parents decided that the best way to save money was to take us to the local beauty school for haircuts.
    I guess the people who were there that day were first-day beauty school students, because holy crap. My brother ended up with a rat tail (now, it *was* 1991, but he didn’t ask for a rat tail – the lady just made sure to add one in there somehow). As for me – I had waist-length hair. I told the lady who greeted us (the instructor, I presume) that I wanted a trim. I told the lady who washed my hair that I wanted a trim. I figured that enough people knew I wanted a trim.
    Oh wait, no.
    The first thing the lady who was cutting my hair did? Was grab a huge hunk of hair, and cut bangs.
    But not wispy, fringy bangs. Oh no. These bangs literally went back to the middle of my head. In sort of a triangle shape. I can’t even describe it… just know that it was a Crime Against Nature.
    Of course I was too shy to say anything, so she just cut away, until I had some sort of pseudo-mullet going on. SHORT on the top, long in the back.

  3. Annika

    Um, those look fine.
    My frugality gone wrong all involves my black thumb and the fact that I will not stop trying to grow my own food. At least I gave up on growing flowers. And by growing I mean killing.

  4. Kris Herbst

    That would be a “frugality Ruelz” sucess story at my house woman! You should see my son’s Cub Scout uniform. Talk about patches heading uphill… I think you did awesome.

  5. Y

    Quite honestly, I’m shocked that the feedback is positive. Maybe it looks better in the photo? I mean, I know it’s not THE WORST, but, eh, I don’t know. I’m kind of a perfectionist.

  6. DJ

    I think they look fine – I don’t think anyone will notice – I mean, I couldn’t see it until you showed the close up and who’s going to be looking that close?

  7. Y

    oh my GOD! you guys better stop or you may convince me I’m good at this and I’ll go and try to do the same to a pair of MY jeans. STOP ENCOURAGING ME!

  8. Tamara

    Seriously, when they’re on her, you’ll never be able to see the slight imperfections. This, however, is coming from a girl who used staples to re-hem her pants when the hem failed. I wore those stapled pants for a year. No lie.

  9. Jess

    Dude, I can’t even see anything wrong with the hemline. The thread is dark enough that whatever you’re talking about is not noticeable. I think they’re adorable.

  10. iMommy

    It totally looks fine! Really! You can’t even see anything wrong. And if I can’t see that it’s wrong by scrutinizing your crazy megapixel pic of it, then the kids on the playground (and their mothers) won’t notice either. πŸ™‚
    And aside from my budget (groan) not much has gone wrong with the frugality. Probably because I’m not very good at it. See comment re: budget. (sigh)

  11. Christina

    They look fine! And hear we just cut the jeans and leave them un hemmed mabye a little red neck here but it works but with as many kids as I have it works (5 girls 2 boys)

  12. gabrielle

    Actually, I think those look great! Plus, what 4 year old is going to stand still long enough for anyone to notice, anyway? πŸ™‚
    Kudos to you for tackling that hand-sewing. That’s a tricky business.

  13. Headless Mom

    They are fine! Who looks at the hem of a 4 year old’s shorts anyway? Be proud that you saved a few bucks-and go buy yourself a bottle of wine! (or you can just come share one with me!)

  14. Traci

    I think they look great…now I’m tempted to try it myself. Although, the last time I tried to save money it was on my hair. I colored it myself and it went ALL KINDS OF WRONG!! It looked like the color of butter and that wasn’t anywhere near what it should have been!

  15. kimberly

    Oh, I think they look super cute!!
    I try to hem my pants all the time, and I have zero sewing skills and no sewing machine. Bad results; they’re messy and too dang short, every time, without fail.
    I also cut my hair myself. It’s curly, so while a trim is no big deal, cutting it from past-my-shoulder blades to up-around-my-ears all on my own is…I mean WOULD BE…a disaster. If I were to actually try it. Which I’m not saying I did…but hey, hair grows back, right?!?
    I say good for you and your efforts in frugality. πŸ™‚

  16. Suzy Q

    Um, I don’t see anything wrong with those hemlines or why she coudln’t wear those in public. Sure, they aren’t perfect but neither is anything I get at Target.
    Also, if the pants/jeans are just too short, why not roll/cuff them up into capris? More money saved!

  17. Peevish

    Very cute shorts! And Gabrielle above me has a point – what 4-year old stays still long enough to notice the hem of their shorts? Keep at it!

  18. dawn

    Pssshaw! They look great. Heck, you can’t even tell. If it bothers you that much put a fancy little trim around it and even you won’t notice.
    My frugality gone wrong? I went to a “School of Cosmotology” for a perm. Not such a bad idea maybe but the instructor decided about an hour and a half into the rolling that the student who was rolling my hair was taking way too long so the instructor jumped in to help her finish up faster. It was a nice thought buuuuuuuuuuuut!!! When two seperate people roll your hair for a perm and one just so happens to roll tighter than the other then this is what happens. The side that is rolled tighter has, well, tighter curls. I had a beautiful body wave on one side of my head and a shockingly curly Shirley temple ‘do’ on the other side. It took a very, very long time for that to grow out and I never went back to the school of cosmotology.

  19. EmJay

    They look fine, I would let her wear them. Also there is this adhesive stuff, used to be called Stitch Withery or something like that that you can make a hem without sewing just using an iron. I have also used masking tape when I needed a quick hem.

  20. Melissa

    Y, everyone else is right, and you are being too hard on yourself. These look great! Really, they do! You are on your way to earning your “homemakery” badge, ya know. Well done!
    I have no “frugality gone wrong” stories because they are too horrific, and I’ve blocked them all out of my memory. :o)

  21. Karly

    I just recently decided to sew my daughter a dress even though I had never even touched a sewing machine before. It’d be CUTE and CHEAP and totally EASY, right? Well, I bought the fabric and pattern yesterday and spent three times the amount I would have on a real dress made by someone who knows what the eff they are doing and tonight I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine and have just spent the last 45 minutes trying to thread the damn thing. The amount of money and time I’ve invested on this? Total frugality fail.

  22. Nicki

    Once we were going to paint our tiny little mudroom ourselves instead of hire out. I figured its paint – how hard could it be? I heard something about “priming” and looked through the remains from what the previous home owners left behind and pulled out a bucket of “primer” and let me husband go nuts. Then I noticed his face had swelled, he could barely see, he was wheezing and having a serious reaction. Because apparently, in the tiny closed-in mudroom without windows cracked he was actually using ‘gesso’ (art canvas primer) in huge quantities. Not only did it totally eff up the walls, it almost killed my husband! Steroids, inhalers and a few weeks of recuperation, money invested in actual wall primer and paint, new brushes etc and time spent and we finally had the project done for a billion times what it would have cost to hire out.

  23. LyN

    oh, please. give yourself a break. that looks soo fine to me. well, mine would look much worse than that. and anyway, life is too short to be fretting about little things as such. so, just enjoy and let her run in those comfy-looking yet hem-not-so-great-looking shorts. πŸ™‚

  24. Y

    She wears them. I just won’t let her wear them to school. The hem could come undone at any time. πŸ˜‰

  25. Jennifer

    Y, they look perfectly good to me — seriously! I honestly think we are our own worst critics.
    I give you kudos for doing that! You should see my pile of clothing that needs hemmed/repaired. It’s sitting right next to the sewing machine I have no idea how to use. For years.

  26. Nina

    Seriously dude, it’s fine. Nobody is going to notice.
    I hemmed my husband’s jeans much worse than that, and he wears his to work in the office.

  27. Henny Penny

    I think they lok fine. If you don’t think it’s sturdy, maybe next time you could start with the iron on hem stuff. Maybe its called fusible? I haven’t used it, only heard about it.

  28. Lisa

    I think they look great. If someone is looking that closely at the hem you’d be asking them to step away from teh hem anyway.
    I was going to be frugal by sewing pj pants for the fam. Started out great. Sewing check. Follow directions as best I can, b/c those people are crazy and don’t know how to write in English, check. Hold pants up for quick look before elastic band, check. Wait a sec. I had sewn the crotch up and and had somehow created clown pants for a pint sized little person. To this day I’m not really sure how I did it.
    The first step is the hardest and usually the funniest. Thanks for sharing your cut-offs. They do look great. I’m sure she’ll LOVE them! Oh and that fusible hem tape is the bomb. Great stuff.
    Way to go!

  29. Kris

    Y, those are TOTALLY fine. Just wait until she has hips and an actual waist and bum that you have to adjust and can’t just lay the pants down and cut straight lines on the legs. HAH!
    And when she gets a little taller still, and you want them to last a little longer, add some cool fringe or lace or scrunched fabric on them. She’ll be fashionista!

  30. Sarah

    I’m pretty sure the pinstripes cover it up. I saw the pictures and felt like I was looking at The Emperor’s New Hemline or something…but I think they look good.

  31. Cindy

    I guarantee that no on is going to notice the hemline. I used to do that to all my boys pants when they were little. Now I just go to the thrift store and buy every pair of distressed looking pants that will fit them. You wouldn’t believe the money I save!

  32. Tammy

    The shorts look great. If you keep going, you’ll be a pro in no time.
    On the otherhand, for the love of all that is holy, please do not go after another dog with scissors in hand. Poor Snoop should have bit you!

  33. Damsel

    The shorts might look bad to you, but that’s because they are laying on the table, not moving. I promise that while your daughter is wearing them and running around, NOBODY will think they are badly done!
    You go, Y!

  34. Vicky

    Yo what’s wrong the hem? They look just fine!!! And you know the other option is to fold the bottoms up and have them look like capri’s!

  35. Gina

    I think they look cute!
    My frugal gone wrong is basically every time I decide to make something instead of buying it. Like Halloween costumes. I think, “I’m not paying $45 for a kid’s costume”, so I make it myself. I do a decent job, but the bill for fabric, thread, interfacing, elastic and buttons, etc is about $75. FAIL.

  36. Amy

    I think you did a good job. I could never do that. I tried and the pants legs were uneven. So now I just cut the jeans and roll them. LOL! It’s my personal white trash look.

  37. Operation Pink Herring

    Yeah, the pants look fine. Maybe it’s hard to tell from the photo, but no one in real life is going to be scrutinizing hemlines! Seriously, they’re fine.
    My fiance has a pair of shorts that the button popped off of I was all “no problem! I’ll just sew it back on, they’re a perfectly good pair of shorts! no way we’re throwing them away!” Since they were a little too tight (hence the button popping off), I decided to sew it an inch farther out so they’d fit him better. It took me over half an hour to sew that fucking button on, and when I finished I realized OOPS sewing the button farther out makes the pants tighter. Now he can’t even button them. They’ve been sitting on top of our dresser for over a year, waiting for me to get around to fixing the button.

  38. Alison

    Seriously, they’re fine. Had you posted the photo with no explanation, I would have thought “cute kid shorts! I wonder if she embroidered them.”
    Who is going to inspect her hem? Fo’ reals!!! They look good! Not “ok”, not “play in the mud pants”, not “eh”. Good!! I tend to be very critical of what I do/my work/myself/etc so I get the “it’s not totally perfect, therefore it’s a joke” thing, but I’m also learning that a) it really doesn’t matter and b) nothing is nearly as horrible as it seems to be if it’s not PERFECT and c) no one else will ever notice. You didn’t “fail hard” – you made a pair of cute shorts out of pants that wouldn’t have been used again.
    Hell, if they came in my size, I might wear ’em.

  39. kristy

    they’re a bit wonky, sure. but if someone is going to notice AND comment on the hems on your daughters shorts, i am pretty sure THEY’RE the ones with the bigger problem, not you πŸ˜‰

  40. Veronica

    Are you f’in kidding me?! That hem looks better than anything I’ve ever done! I’d have been high fiving the air and sending my kid to church in those shorts!

  41. Erica

    I can’t even sew on a button, muchless a hemline. But this is similar to double sided tape that you iron on and works great. It holds up great in the wash too. I’ve used it to hem curtains and pants.
    You did a great job on those shorts. Cute!

  42. Jamie

    I’m 17 and I would wear those shorts. I love them, in fact, and Kinda want to make myself a pair.

  43. common mom

    I think they look awesome! Kudos to you for the hand sewing – I’m terrible at hand sewing! I’m going to have to do the same thing to some of my daughter’s shorts – mostly because she has holes in the knees and won’t let me throw them out – so shorts, here we come!
    A tip for short pants – if you need to make ’em last a month longer, just get some cute wide lace, some iron on hemming stuff, and add a lace hem to the bottom of the pants. Girls think it’s great – it’s something frilly afterall! And it’s a quick easy fix until shorts season.

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