I like a 29-inch inseam on my trousers. I hate it when pants drag along the ground and become tattered, though that’s what most of the young men today seem to prefer – ragged pant bottoms. But it’s hard to find pants with 29-inch inseams, most are 30-inches or more,
So, get them altered, right? Not if you want to pay a tailor almost as much for hemming as you did for the original price of the pants. Hemming a pair of pants today costs from $10 (good luck) to as much as $20.
There was a time not so long ago when folks sewed and altered their own clothes with a Singer sewing machine. My grandmother had a manual Singer machine which you pumped with a pedal. My Mom had an electric one. I remember when we bought it. Everyone gathered round and oohed and aahed. It was like getting your first set of encyclopedias. Mom sewed a little, mostly altering or patching up old clothing. When we first married, Nancy and I also invested in a Singer. I think it was about seventy-five bucks.
Singer sewing machines have been around for quite a while, since 1851 to be exact. During WWII, the Singer factories ceased making sewing machines and switched to army equipment, including M7 sights for anti-aircraft guns. After the war, Singer began kicking out reasonably priced, electric sewing machines and nearly every household in the country had one. Lots of folks made their own clothes.
I remember in third grade we had a school play and Mom made my entire costume out of a green satin. I think I was to play a Colonist or a Pilgrim or something like that. All the kid’s moms made their costumes.
But no more.
Today, instead of mending or altering clothing, you just toss it in the trash and buy new stuff.
So, back to my 29-inch inseam. Rather than taking a major hit at the local tailor’s, I ordered something called Stitch Witchery. It fuses cloth by ironing. I bought 4 pairs of pants on sale with 30-inch inseams, tucked the cuffs under, Nancy ironed them, and they no longer drag the ground. It worked, but not as well as one of the old Singer sewing machines.