In my last post I shared some ways that I make my children's pants last longer. Those tips work really well for woven fabrics like denim and twill (most khakis). What about knits?
I'm not that experienced working with knits, but this is pretty simple. The big obstacle is allowing your seam to stretch with a stretchy fabric like knit. Here is a pair of pants that were far too long for my son, and I put a huge hem in them. This shortened them by about 5 inches.
The hem is *really* noticeable. But, for a pair of athletic pants that will most likely have a hole in the knee within a few days, who cares? To me it looks intentional because the seams are straight and the legs align. My 5 year old certainly does not care! Here's a closeup:
If you're not ready to dive into sewing with knits, how can you make a quick and dirty hem in a pair of knit pants? There are two different methods I use. One is a straight basting stitch. Since the hem will be removed in a few months' time, you want this temporary seam to be easy to remove. A basting stitch is a straight stitch with the stitch length set to the highest number, producing the largest possible stitches. On my machine that is a 5.0, though it may be different on your machine.
The second quick stitch I use for hemming knit pants is a version of a zigzag stitch found on my machine. It looks like a lightening bolt, stitch #5 on my machine.
This allows the fabric to stretch a bit at the seam. If you don't have this stitch, then a zigzag stitch set to a very narrow width will produce similar results. You could also use a twin needle, but I'm not going to get into that today.
A hand basting stitch would also work really well, and you would have more control over what the seam looks like on the outside of the pant leg.
I hope you find this helpful!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.