Hem Protectors On Vintage Clothing

So you're checking out these cool vintage palazzo pants, and they're awesome, but what's that on the hem?
It's not a trim or a border print... It's actually a piece of muslin fabric rolled over the hem and stitched loosely (a.k.a. basted) in place.  What is it?  A hem protector!
And as the name implies, it protects the hem of a garment.  That bit of muslin (or often clear plastic) was stitched on loosely so that you can easily remove it.  Hem protectors are a sure indicator that a vintage item was never worn, because like tailor's basting on men's suits, it was meant to be pulled off before use.
Today, hem protectors are sometimes seen on wedding gowns but rarely anywhere else.  In vintage clothing, they are also a clue that the item was expensive.  We have seen them only in the deadstock of high-end boutiques.  They're used only on floor-length items like these wide-legged pants, as well as evening gowns and vintage bridal wear.
Back to Vintage Clothing Glossary