Yesterday, we covered how to hem your jeans the professional way. There’s also a post entitled, How To Hem Jeans Using the Original Hem, and both of these posts recommend that you use a Jean-a-ma-jig to help you hem them easier.
A Jean-a-ma-jig, what is that?
Well, they are a tool that helps you maneuver the thick double stitched seams and hems that you find in jeans and other heavy duty garments and outdoor gear, for example.
They look like this:
They are made of hard plastic and they measure 1 1/2″ x 2″ in size and they are not quite 1/4″ thick.
Sewing without one, means that you break alot of needles and/or your thread gets all caught up in the bobbin and you have a bird’s nest of thread to cut and pull out of there…a total mess.
Have you had that happen when you’ve sewn on jeans before?
When you use this gadget, it keeps the presser foot flat as it sews over this thick junction and you have success. I don’t know the physics or anything, I just know it works!
News Flash: In this post, I will use the words “gizmo” and “gadget” interchangeably. It’s only so I don’t have to type “jean-a-ma-jig” over and over.
So, now let’s look at how to use it.
When you are sewing the hem and you are approaching the big hump on a pair of jeans or heavy jacket or whatever, you stitch right up to the hump and then lift your presser foot and slide the gizmo behind the presser foot like this.
Then, make sure you put the presser foot down and stitch until you sew to the edge of the hump. (this may be four or five stitches.) At that point, if your hump is not too big, you may be able to lift the presser foot up, take the gizmo out , put the presser foot down and just continue sewing.
Sometimes, I just keep sewing and the Jean-a-ma-jig will just drop off behind and that’s perfectly fine. It sort of knows when the job is done.
However, if you have a really huge bump, (Like Levi jeans have) you can lift the presser foot up, move the jean-a-ma-jig to the front of the presser foot , put the presser foot back down and contunue stitching until you have passed the danger zone (until you have sewn past the hump area completely). Just make sure that the gadget is positioned so that the long narrow opening is in front of the needle, like it is in the photo below.
Do you see how I have the gadget butted up against the seam where it is the thickest? You can tell I’ve already stitched the seam, but I wanted to let you see how the gizmo lines up with the seam. Once you have sewn over the hump and completely passed it, then take the gizmo out and make sure the presser foot is still down and continue sewing around the hem. It’s easier than it looks, but e-mail me or leave a comment if you have any trouble. I’m all about helping you get it right!
I use this gadget for so many other projects as well: back packs, cushions, jackets, heavy zippered areas, jean and pant zippers, etc.
Here’s where you can buy a Jean a ma jig.
I’m trying to link smaller stores to keep our small businesses open, but you can probably find these cheaper in larger retail stores. And for now, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s still honor awesome coupons.
See how inexpensive your toys are when you sew?!!!
i have been hemming jeans for at least 40 years, and all the problems i have encountered (i.e. matching thread, that bump on the seams, etc) have all been solved. thanks! i will continue to check in with you from time to time, to what else i will learn.
Thanks for your reply. Let me know how the jean-a-ma-jig works for you. Happy sewing!
Thanks so much!
I am still having trouble getting over the inside leg hump( Levi jeans) even with Jean a ma Jig.
After you have folded and pinned the hem, lay the jeans on something sturdy and pound the seams thinner with a hammer. I like to think of it as very aggressive ironing 🙂
Thank you for your reply Pearl.I decided to overlock the edge and then I only had to turn back once.Still had to use the Jean-a-ma-jig for the inside seam and it worked like a dream.Enjoy your week!
This is too funny but I may try it while I wait for my Jean a Ma Jig to arrive in the mail.
Jean-a-ma-jig is a great tool for anyone working with denim and heavy “duck” jeans, jackets and work clothing. I made my own version of this handy gadget but I have several thicknesses depending on the weight or thickness of the hem. I made them out of lexan…one is 1/8″ thick, one at 3/16″ thick and another at a full 1/4″ thick…they work great, I just wish I thought of it a hundred hems and a thousand needles ago!
Oh, and by the way, I have also made these from masonite board. So what you like about men that sew but we do come up with some great ideas too!
Say what you want that is…
Happy Holidays…Adam in NY
I am trying to construct a jean purse using the front and back part of jeans. It is VERY thick at the top, where the waist is, so do you think that it will work for that ? I have one but only used it once for hemming.
Will this work on a jeans purse where at the top of the purse I will be sewing through VERY thick pieces that are the waist?
Thanks for explaining this. A similar device came with my sewing machine. It’s nice to know what to do with it after all these years!
Thanks for all of your help with almost everything I ever needed! You are my first place to look when I am trying to do something new or just want a tip to make it easier! You are awesome for sharing. I can not tell you how many times you made my sewing easier…..Thank you again!
Wow, thank you so much, Larissa, for your sweet comments. I have enjoyed writing this blog hoping that it would be of help to many and my prayers have been answered! Thanks for letting me know.
I thank you for your great idea to put jean-a-ma-jig in the front of presser foot. I’ve been sewing for 35 years. I have used the jig Many times xxxxxxx. I never thought about using it in front. Learn something new Everyday! Thank you, sincerely Mrs. B
Thank you for your kind comment. I’m glad it helped. You might just have the record for using the jig the longest! I’m sure the company would be pleased to know you’re such a loyal fan!
How do you get the stitch to look like a professional Jean stitch? I’m new to selling and would like to know. My stitch doesn’t look the same as the professional stitch. What am I doing wrong?
If you could email me a photo of what yours looks like, that would help me diagnose it. Thanks!