Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Illustration by Sofia Bews.

Hemming your own clothes is really cool, but I do not have the patience to learn this skill. That gives me a couple choices, then: I can either wear my clothing item with a ragged, unflattering, or too-long hem, or I can take it to a tailor, which is $$$. I, for one, find both options to be simply unacceptable. Why spend money or have pants that are too long when there is duct tape? I think you know where this is going, gracious darlings: I’m about to tell you how to make a duct tape hem. It’s soooo easy.

Let’s say you find an amazing deal on some jeans that are perfect, except that they’re two inches too long. All you have to do is turn the jeans inside out, put them on, and roll them up to where you want the hem to be. When you find the sweet spot, fold the pants down crisply and evenly. We want this hem to look professional! Rip off a few two-inch pieces of duct tape, then, without unfolding anything, firmly tape the original hem to the jeans. When you place a piece of tape, make sure its end overlaps with the end of the last piece you put down. This will help the hem stay secure and the fabric smooth-looking after the hem is completely taped and you turn the pants right-side out (the fabric will bunch if there are gaps between tape-pieces). When you finish the first leg, do the exact same thing on the other side, being careful to match the hem lengths.

This works for skirts and dresses, too. (Not pleated ones, though—it’s too hard to tape the pleats and make them look right.) Want that calf-length skirt to be knee-length? Duct tape! That knee-length skirt to be a miniskirt? DUCT TAPE! And the beautiful thing is that you aren’t permanently altering the piece, so you can always go back to the way it was before.

Most duct tape hems will stay put for quite some time; with a little maintenance, you can keep yours going for years. YES, it’s so weird, but the average duct tape hem will stay put between five and 10 washings, and that’s a conservative estimate. I’ve worn a duct-tape-hemmed dress since 2011, and it STILL HAS its original tape hem, wtf. My mom, who is a professional seamstress, turned pale when I showed her the hem, but I took that to mean she recognized I was on to her tailor’s game. You won’t see me shelling out for hemming when there’s duct tape! And no one will ever be the wiser. ♦