Weighing Down Hems: Trousers, Coco Chanel + How To’s

Hi Darlings!
Last night I spent the evening sewing up M6083 which is another jumpsuit and when I got to working on my hems I realized that I could share with you what I do so that my pant legs always hang nicely. I finished the jumpsuit last night but I didn’t have time to takes pics this morning so I will share that look tomorrow. I am also thinking that this jumpsuit pattern will be a great sew-along as it will give a chance to do a project with you guys and at the same time teach you how to read and follow a pattern πŸ˜‰
Why Weigh Down Your Hems?

There are so many things to learn about the right fabric for the right garment and the correct technique for the fabric you choose etc. but all of that knowledge comes from experience and failed projects to be honest. I have spent the last 18 years of my life sewing and I still manage to learn new things all the time which is what makes sewing so much fun, you can never stop learning.
Fabrics come in so many different weights and because of that they react differently according to what you are making. For example, the weight of your fabric will dramatically alter the fit, style and final look of a pair of pants so you have to understand what style of of pant you are planning on making and if the fabric you have chosen will work. However, there are techniques used that can help the garment behave if the fabric used is to light, pulls away from the body, doesn’t hang evenly etc.

Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide is one of my favorite books because it tells you in an easy to read format what needle to use for what type of fabric, what stabilizers you need, how the fabric hangs, reacts, feels etc.

Coco Chanel
The infamous Coco Chanel jacket is a great example of using technique to make a garment hang perfectly. The Chanel Jacket is not only constructed immaculately but it uses something that Chanel still uses today to weight down their jackets, a lightweight gold chain. The chain is used inside the hem to assure that the jacket retains its shape while on the body.  It’s also used on fabrics that tend to pull away from the body like linen and for me I use weights for a variety of reasons which is what I wanted to share with you guys today.
My Most Common Uses:
1. Lightweight fabric that tends to “flyaway”
2. Linen or wide legs trousers that need weight for the pant leg to fall correctly
3. In the corner of the front wrap of wrap dresses.
4. Jackets coats and blazers
You can spend $4-$8 on already prepared weights, you can buy lead weight tape used in drapery or you can do what I do and use whatever I have at home, LOL. I use and have used a variety of things like flat buttons, pennies, nickels and even quarters. The fabric weight will determine the weight of your weight so if your fabric is a lightweight you may be able to get away with using a penny to add that extra bit that you need with out changing the hand of the fabric too much.
Because I am making M6083 in a rayon jersey and am taking the hem of the pant leg to the floor and over my shoes I needed to make sure the hem sat perfectly.

Get Started

Step 1. I used 4 nickels and interfacing
 (I used interfacing because I can fuse the pockets together but you can use lightweight fabric and sew the pockets closed)

Step 2. Fold your interfacing so you can cut on the fold and make 4 boxes 2″ x 2″

Step 3. place the nickel in the pocket and fold over

Step 4. Press your pocket to fuse the edges together or sew your pocket closed if you used fabric.
(remember fabric will add weight as well so make sure to use a very lightweight fabric)

Step 5. Once fused all the way around cut off a bit of the top as needed but don’t cut to far down, you will need the space to sew onto your hem.

Here all four of my prepared weights. I am using 2 for each pant leg, one on each seam.

Step 6. Mark your hem where you plan to fold up and mark, place your weight on the mark and sew down  (you won’t see it on the outside because you are sewing on the hem before turning up the hem)

Step 7. Sew around the weight attaching it to your hem

Step 8. Fold up your hem along the marks you made earlier and stitch your hem in place
(this is how it looks on the inside of your pant leg)
This is the outside finished hem πŸ˜‰

I will show you guys tomorrow how my jumpsuit turned out.

mimi g.


50 thoughts on “Weighing Down Hems: Trousers, Coco Chanel + How To’s

  1. OMG, Mommy, I mean Mimi! That I have to definitely try. I'm too damn tall for a jumpsuit, so I doubt I'll try that sewalong, but I'll keep this tip in mind!!

  2. May God continue to bless you Mimi, because you’re not afraid to share the knowledge that God has blessed you with. God blesses us all to be a blessing. He never gives us blessing, knowledge, wisdoms, understanding, etc for us to keep it to ourselves. You seem to be a very humble person and you get a thumbs ups aside from your beauty, talent and success. Thanks for this very informative information. And,that's real talk :-)))))

  3. Great tip. I knew about the Chanel Jackets but I never knew about pants. Quick question. Do you ever worry that over time and washing that the coins may discolor the fabric?

  4. Yes sew along please. I have been staring at this pattern for 2 months now. I have my fabric and everything. I wanted to make view E but I'm smaller than a 4 on top and have no idea how to go about altering this pattern.

  5. Mimi, this tutorial came at the perfect time! I'm in the middle of sewing a very Chanel-esque type top and was thinking about using weights but wasn't sure. After reading your post, I really think I should. And you made it look so easy! Thank you!

  6. That is an awesome awesome tip. I never ever thought of that in all my years of sewing. Thanks Mimi. P.S. Can you still machine wash the garment without any harm???

  7. I love everything about your blog, cant wait to see the pictures today..I have this pattern so I might sew it, for this weekend and use your tips, thanks.

  8. OMG! Ann Taylor does something similar to this. They actually added sewn in pouch and they added a heavy button to the front of a blouse to create a scoop neck effect. This is simply genius! Thanks for the tip Mimi!

  9. Wow, what a great idea. I love this post–sewing wisdom about fabric weight! It's such an ongoing learning process. I love wide leg linen trousers and wear them frequently in the summer and this will really make them look better.

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