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How to hem pants with or without a sewing machine

How to hem pants with or without a sewing machine
IndiaLatest5 min read

How to sew an original hem on jeans

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

  • Fit is everything when it comes to a polished, professional-looking pair of pants.
  • Properly hemmed pants won't drag across the floor, so your pant legs won't get ruined.
  • Hemming pants with a sewing machine or by hand is easier than it looks.
  • Here's how to hem pants with or without a sewing machine.

One of the simplest things you can do to look more professional and polished is to hem your dress pants or jeans when they're too long. It's easy to spot when pants are too long. They're either dragging on the floor, or the break (the fabric that pools on top of the foot on the pant front) is too big.

The good news is that hemming pants is not hard and it can save you money. The average cost to hem a pair of dress pants averages about $15. If you are like me and have short legs or you have fast-growing kids, you are spending a lot of money on pant hems.

Hemming pants is so easy that leg length should never stand between you and an awesome pair of pants you snag on sale. If you know how to hem pants, then you've got the advantage every time you go shopping. In this guide, we break down how to hem pants and everything you need to do it with or without a sewing machine.

How to hem pants in a few steps:

  1. Measure your inseam to find the right length.
  2. Remove the original hem.
  3. Measure the amount of excess fabric and trim it.
  4. Fold the new hem.
  5. Sew new hem by hand or with a sewing machine.

Here's what you need to hem pants:

How to hem jeans 2

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

How to measure the inseam

How to hem jeans

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

The proper length for your pants will depend on the shoes you plan to wear with them. The shoes will change the amount of space available on the front of the foot for a hem to hang freely. Put on the shoes you plan to wear the most with the particular pair of pants are hemming. To measure your inseam, measure the length from the crotch seam to the bottom of your shoe - this is your inseam.

Remove the original hem

  • Remove the stitching from hemline that is already there with a seam ripper.
  • Unfold the hem completely so that it hangs loose.
  • Iron it flat to remove the creases.


How to hem jeans

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

  • Turn the pants inside out and lay the pants flat on a surface.
  • Measure the same length of your inseam, starting from the crotch of the pants.
  • Mark the proper inseam length on the pants plus one inch of seam allowance.


How to hem a jean

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

Use a rotary cutter and ruler (or scissors) to cut off the excess fabric.

Measure Hem

How to hem jeans

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

  • Set your sewing gauge to ½ inch.
  • Fold up the edge of the pant leg to ½ inch.
  • Use to the sewing gauge to make sure the fold is ½ inch on both sides of the fold.
  • Press in place with the iron.

Fold the hem

  • Fold the edge of the pant leg up ½ inch again.
  • Double check the width of the fold with the sewing gauge.
  • Once fold is evenly ½ inch wide, pin the hem in place.
  • Repeat on the other pant leg.

Sew the hem with a sewing machine

How to hem jeans

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

  • Load your bobbin and top spool with the same color of thread.
  • Set your machine to medium straight stitch.
  • Stitch a ¼ inch seam allowance from the top of the hem.
  • Go all the way around. Remove the pins as you go.
  • When you get to the beginning, lock stitch in place, then remove from the machine and cut the excess thread.
  • Repeat with the other pant leg.
  • Finish by turning the pants right side out and press the hem.

Sew the hem by hand

How to hem jeans

Debbie Wolfe

If you don't have a sewing machine, no worries. Hand sewing a hem is simple and won't take up too much time. Just a needle and thread will give you the same perfectly hemmed pair of pants.

  • Cut a matching piece of thread that's double the length to go around one leg.
  • Thread your needle and tie the cut ends together so that you're sewing with two strands.
  • Use the pins to hold the hem in place.
  • Insert your needle into the seam allowance on the inside leg to start your thread and pull it through.

How to hem jeans

Debbie Wolfe/Business Insider

  • Insert the needle in the back of the folded edge and bring the needle out about 1/8 inch from the edge and pull it through.
  • Pick up a few threads of the fabric right below (but not where you first inserted the thread) the stitch and slide your needle through.
  • About ⅜ inch up from where you pulled the thread through, insert the needle in the back of the folded edge and pull the needle out the front.
  • Repeat around the pant leg. You should only see minimal stitch marks on the right side of the pant legs.
  • Once you are done with the hem, press in place with the iron.

Fiskars Sewing Essentials Set, $37.10

Brother Project Runway Sewing Machine, $115.99

Sunbeam Compact Non-Stick Soleplate Travel Iron, $12.99

SINGER 01125 Assorted Hand Needles, $3.34

Rimobul Flat 1.9-inch Flower Head Pins, $7.99

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