I've been spending rather a lot of time the past few weeks in helping assign and fit uniforms for Julia's marching band at high school. There is surprisingly little about mending band uniforms on the internet -- I suppose that means that either the people who do mend uniforms aren't hanging around on the internet much, or that, which I fear might be the case, people don't bother to mend uniforms any more, either because they can't or because it isn't worth their time to do so.
But I will happily say that our school's uniforms, while older than most of our students, are still going strong in their 100%-nylon near-indestructibility! -- aside from a few hiccups, that is. And so for those who Google "mend band uniforms" or "alter band uniforms" and come up empty, here are two of our solutions.
This particular jacket had a dark grey spot on the outside of a sleeve, which has resulted in it being passed over for a number of years, even though it would otherwise have been a perfect fit for someone. I had thought I would just sew a patch over the spot, but this ended up being too thick, and therefore quite obvious. (Yes, an iron-on patch would have been a simple matter, but in my experience iron-on patches come off, leaving a bigger mess than they were originally hiding.) An old-fashioned darn might have worked, but while I understand the principle behind darns, mine don't even come close to looking neat. I decided then to simply cover the spot with satin stitch, using the method called encroaching satin stitch or long-and-short satin stitch. I'm not much of an embroiderer, and so I found the tutorials here and here to be helpful -- essentially, working the padding as here without that one's finishing layer. I used plain white embroidery floss, partly because the color was a better match than white sewing thread, and partly because I had the feeling -- which proved to be the case -- that floss would lie flatter in the end, and look smoother. The spot is still obviously mended, but is much less visible from even a short distance, let alone from the 50-yard line, than it was!
Many newer band uniforms have a snap system for altering the length of legs and sleeves, but ours don't, and so we have to do this by hand, in order to have the alterations as invisible as possible on the legs, and for the jackets because there really is no other way, since they have angled trim -- in two colors and gold braid! -- which means that you can only turn up the hem until you come to the braid, and no further. We discovered this enormously helpful video a few years ago --
I have found since then that you can actually do the hem in one go, instead of stopping at the creases as the lady in the video does, if you begin at one of the seams, stop hemming an inch or so before the crease and simply run the thread through the folded hem (inside the trouser leg!) to about an inch after the crease, then hem around, again skipping a short section at the other crease, back around to where you started. This method also seems to suit us well for hemming jacket sleeves too, just being careful that the stitches don't show -- which usually means tacking the hem onto the lining in places, if the hem is really deep.
You have to do this, i.e. not attach the turned-up hem the entire circumference of the leg, because the leg is not a perfectly straight tube; since it narrows as it goes downward, the circumference at the very bottom is smaller than the circumference even an inch or so higher, and the ratio only increases the more you have to shorten the leg. If you stitch it down all of the way around, you will end up with ugly puckers in the fabric. Leaving an unsewn "gap" lets the turned-up hem "float" on the inside of the pants leg, and the best place to leave it is at the two creases, so that they stay nice and sharp. You just can't leave too big of a gap or the wearer will catch his or her toe on it when dressing!
There is a good introduction on the Colette blog here about different methods of hand-hemming. I usually use a variation of the blind hem, instead of the herringbone-like catch stitch in the video -- I don't think it matters, whatever is easiest for the sewer and shows the least from the right side!