Ways & How

How to Hem Jeans

How to Hem Jeans

Unless you want to keep paying an average of $20 to have your excessively long jeans fixed, you really have to learn how to hem jeansyourself. Sure, $20 may not be too much for some (especially for individuals who would spend upwards of a hundred bucks on a pair without batting an eyelid), but the costs do add up. Consider how many pairs of jeans you have in your closet right now, and then think about how many more pairs you are going to buy over the next few years. Unless you happen to be a supermodel with uberlong legs, you are likely going to have to chop a few inches off the bottom of many of those pairs of jeans. Even if you are not a sewing pro, you can learn how to hem jeans. This skill should come in handy if your household has growing children. This tutorial will show you how to make your jeans shorter while maintaining the original hem—and when your kids shoot up a few more inches within the next few months, you can simply let them out instead of buying a new pair. Nifty, huh? Here’s how to hem jeans while keeping the original hem:

  1. You will need some dressmaker’s pins, a ruler or a measuring tape, some denim thread or ordinary sewing thread that matches the stitches on your jeans, a clothes iron, a sewing machine fitted with a denim needle, and of course, the pair of jeans which needs to be hemmed.


  2. Put on the pair of jeans along with the shoes you would normally wear them with. The shoes are important because they will determine how much of the length needs to be taken away. Obviously, jeans that are going to be worn primarily with heels or wedges need to be a few inches longer than those that are to be paired primarily with flats.

  3. Determine how long you need the jeans to be—the rule of the thumb is that the (new) hem should just barely graze the floor when you are standing straight with your shoes on. Take some dressmaker’s pins so you can pin the area where the new hem should be.

  4. Take off the jeans, being very careful not to stick yourself with the pins or disturb them.

  5. Lay the jeans on a flat surface and carefully measure out how many inches need to be taken out. Do not include the original hem when you measure.

  6. Divide the length by two. For instance, if the jeans are about three inches too long for you, then you get 1.5 inches. If so, then you need to turn up the bottom hem and pin it 1.5 inches all the way around (again, not including the hem in that measurement). Position the pins as near the fold as you can. Keep on measuring as you pin, to make sure that you get a straight edge later.

  7. With the legs pinned down, get your sewing machine and run the stitches along the pants leg as close to the underside of the hem as possible. At this point, it will look like you are sewing on a tuned out cuff to the bottom of your pants leg.

  8. Once both legs are finished, fit the jeans again to make sure that you have the perfect length. Tuck the “cuff” up inside the leg to get it out of the way—you will see that the jeans are now shorter, with the original hem intact.

  9. Take the jeans off and iron the cuff and the new hem down so that everything lies nice and flat. You can put some discreet stitches on the inside seams to secure the cuff in an upward position.

This tutorial shows you how to hem jeans without doing any cutting. So you can just take out the stitches after your kids have gone through a growth spurt. If you would rather do away with the extra length altogether, turn the jeans inside out and cut off the cuff about half an inch away from the new seam. Use an edging machine or an auto-edger on the ragged edge to keep it from fraying.


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