so, i'm pretty short - a fact that may or may not have come up here previously - and have the usual short person frustrations of having to hem just about every item of clothing to fit. i always hate to have to hem jeans especially as you always lose the "worn in" hem that they came with and end up with a glaringly obvious brand spanking new version. boo. then a few years ago a tailor told me he could shorten my jeans WITH THE ORIGINAL HEM. and he did. and they were great. and i never could really figure out how he did it, or was a bit too scared to figure it out as my sewings skills were a bit more basic back then. anyway, i ordered a few pairs of my beloved james jeans from ebay over the past few months (i love them. they always fit to size, no matter what style) and, of course, they're both too long. one pair, however, has previously been hemmed in this "original hem" style and when i took a good look at them i realized it wouldn't be hard to do at all. i hemmed up both pairs over the weekend with brilliant results and took a few pics along the way to share the quick and easy technique with you all.
cut off the existing hem about 1/4 inch (5 mm) above the line where it's been sewn. then try on your jeans and mark the length you want them to be. cut the jean leg in a straight line 1/4 inch (5 mm) below where you marked.
turn the jeans inside out and pin the hem you've cut off to the leg, keeping right sides facing each other. i found it was easiest to pin on either side seam and then pin along the hem, stretching as you go.
now sew this together, using an overlocker or the overlocking stich on your regular sewing machine to prevent fraying.
now turn your jean leg right side out. fold the fabric from the leg so that it almost touchs the original hem stitch line and iron into place well. (sorry, this photo sucks and doesn't really demonstrate this step very well. does this make sense? i think if you were doing it along with these instructions it would, maybe?)
very carefully, and using a similar coloured thread to match your jean material closely, use a basic stitch to sew along the ironed edge, as close to the edge as you can confidently get.
and there you have it! sorry if these instructions seem a bit confusing, if you follow them along once i really feel you'll get it quite quickly. i'm thrilled with the whole thing because i'll never have to wear daggy self-hemmed-looking jeans ever again.