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How to Hem Dress Pants: Sewing Machine Tips (2024)

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how to hem dress pants with a sewing machineAre you ready to take your hemming skills to the next level? According to a survey by The National Sewing Council, an estimated 85% of Americans don’t know how to sew or alter their clothing. If you’re one of them and want a professional-looking finish on dress pants, learning how to hem with a sewing machine is for you.

Here I’ll explain step by step exactly what it takes – from determining the desired pant length all the way through pressing your finished new hems – so that anyone can master this simple yet satisfying skill in no time!

Let’s get started with understanding how long should our pants be when hemmed using a sewing machine.

Key Takeaways

  • 85% of Americans can’t sew or alter clothing.
  • Learning how to hem dress pants with a sewing machine.
  • Hemming pants requires accuracy and precision.
  • Using a sewing machine provides faster and more efficient results with a clean and professional finish.

How to Hem Dress Pants With a Sewing Machine

How to Hem Dress Pants With a Sewing Machine
Tailor to tailored, let’s discuss how to hem dress pants using a sewing machine. Determine the length you desire, prepare the pants by pressing and pinning the hem, utilize the blind stitch on your machine, or hand-stitch for an invisible hem.

Determine the Desired Pant Length

Try the pants on to determine how long you’d like the hem to be for the perfect fit. Pin the hem while wearing them to get an accurate length that’s right for you. Ensure both legs are pinned at the same spot for even hems.

Mark the fabric along the pin line, then cut off any excess material. For best results, focus on precise measuring and cutting.

Prepare the Pants for Sewing

Having pressed the raw edge first under 5/8 inch, then 1 and 7/8 inches, fold the hem inside so that the inner crease sits within the pant leg while the outer crease points upward.

  • Focus on keeping the fold even and flat.
  • Check that the pins are perpendicular to the fold.
  • Consider using tape for added security.
  • For best results, iron the fold before pinning.

Sewing With a Machine

After equipping yourself with this ingenious automated marvel, gently guide the marked fabric beneath its piercing needle to join the layers with nearly invisible stitches. Carefully position the folded edge of the fabric beneath the presser foot and activate the machine’s blind hem function.

Allow the mechanical assistant to handle the precise work while you steadily feed the pant legs through. With the appropriate settings, the sewing machine produces a clean, inconspicuous finish that resembles custom tailoring.

Alternative Hand-Stitching Method

For a subtle finish, hand-stitch your hem with matching thread in small, alternating stitches.

  • Use a blind hem stitch for an invisible look.
  • Choose a small, sharp needle.
  • Take your time for neatness.

Basic Supplies for Hemming Pants

Basic Supplies for Hemming Pants
Scratch the dress code, grab a seam ripper for undoing original hems, and pins to temporarily tack folds before using that sewing machine to repair pantaloons.

Ensure you have the essential tools for hemming success. Get quality shears like the OLFA rotary fabric cutter for precise trimming. Use the sturdy Dritz seam ripper equipped with a blade guard to undo stitches. Consider getting Crafter’s Companion’s ergonomic version to minimize hand fatigue.

Don’t forget supplies like an iron, pins, tape measure, and fabric marker for preparing hems.

Press creases on the hem allowance as a critical step. Set up an organized sewing station with all the necessary supplies. Make sure to properly measure and mark the pant legs. Use helpful tools like ergonomic seam rippers and rotary cutters.

How Long Should Your Pants Be?

How Long Should Your Pants Be
Now that you’ve gathered your basic supplies for hemming pants, it’s time to delve into the crucial aspect of determining the ideal length for your dress pants. Achieving the perfect length is essential not just for aesthetics but also for comfort and functionality.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your dress pants are the right length for your fashion style and footwear pairing:

  1. Try them on: Begin by putting on the dress pants and stand naturally, allowing them to fall to your shoes.
  2. Measure and mark: While wearing the pants, measure and mark 2.5 inches from the fold for the deep hem.
  3. Hemline measurement: Use a tape measure or hem gauge to determine the new hemline’s length.
  4. Trimming: Carefully cut off excess fabric along the marked line, keeping your lines straight for a clean finish.

These simple steps will set you on the path to perfectly hemmed dress pants that complement your style and footwear. In the world of alterations, precision is key, and these hemming tips will empower you with mastery over your dress pants’ length.

Pinning the Pants to the Perfect Length

Pinning the Pants to the Perfect Length
With the pant legs on, pin them to the perfect length based on your measurements, ensuring both legs match. Evenly distribute the pins around the hemline to hold the fabric in place. Use curved quilt pins placed perpendicular to the hemline for easier sewing.

Check that the same amount of fabric needs to be hemmed on both legs by using a hem gauge or ruler.

Now you are ready to sew using my Tailoring Tricks for flawless hemming. Check out the handy reference below for key tools and tips in achieving the ideal pant length alterations and adjusting hems using a blind stitch.

Tool Use Tip
Fabric Tape Precise measuring Measure inseam with weight on both feet
Hem Gauge Mark lines evenly Align to grain for straight hems
Curved Pins Secure fabric for sewing Perpendicular to hem prevents puckering

Measuring the New Hemline

Measuring the New Hemline
Before trimming, gauge the new length you desire with a tape measure. Once the pants are pinned up, carefully measure the new hemline all the way around each leg with a measuring tape.

Here are 4 key measuring techniques to get a perfect hemline every time:

  1. Mark measurements directly on the fabric with a fabric pen or tailor’s chalk.
  2. When in doubt, measure twice to verify accuracy.
  3. Use a yardstick for lengths over 12 inches.
  4. Recruit a helper to measure the inseam length while pants are worn.

Accurate measuring is crucial for even hems. Mark the new length clearly before cutting to prevent mistakes. Take your time. Precision and patience lead to professional results when hemming dress pants.

Cutting Off the Excess Fabric

Cutting Off the Excess Fabric
Having marked the hemline, take the OLFA rotary cutter and remove any excess fabric for a precise new edge.

With one smooth motion, use the rotary cutter to slice cleanly along the marking line. This precise trimming eliminates bulk and creates a smooth fold line for your hem. As you cut, don’t saw back and forth or you may end up with jagged edges. Simply position the rotary blade above the mark, then draw it straight across the material in a continuous slicing action.

After removing the excess, inspect the raw edge to ensure it lies flat and even all around.

With the new clean-cut hemline established, you’re ready to create that flawless blind hem stitch.

Pressing the New Hem

Pressing the New Hem
After snipping off the overhang, flatten and straighten the new raw edge of your trousers with some vigorous ironing.

With the pant leg laid flat, run a hot iron along the inner fold to define a crisp edge. Flattening the fabric edge removes any wavy ripples that could lead to hemming trouble. Take care as you iron for pressing precision, keeping the iron moving to avoid scorching.

With diligent ironing and fabric flattening, you’ll achieve a smooth, even platform for stitching on the ultimate blind hem.

Sewing the Hem With a Sewing Machine

Sewing the Hem With a Sewing Machine
With the new hem pressed and pinned in place, you’re ready to sew it using your sewing machine. Set your machine to the blind hem stitch, with a stitch length around 2.5mm and width of 4mm.

Sew with the hem side facing up, so the zigzag stitches grab the tiniest bite of fabric. Take it slow, lifting the presser foot to pivot at curves. Though hand-sewing yields the most invisible hem, the sewing machine creates a clean, sturdy hem in far less time.

For best results, test your settings on scraps first. With the right technique, you’ll have expertly finished hems ready to show off.

How to Hem Pants by Hand

How to Hem Pants by Hand
Your needle guides the thread through this path of enlightenment, stitching the spirit of hope into each fold. Hand hemming pants may seem daunting, but with some practice, it can be a relaxing, therapeutic endeavor.

  • Invest in quality hand-sewing needles, like sharps or milliners. Their thin profile makes tiny stitches nearly invisible.
  • Polyester or cotton-covered polyester thread usually matches most pants fabrics. Avoid cheap thread that tangles or breaks.
  • Use a blind hem stitch, taking minute catches of only a few fabric fibers on the right side.
  • When hemming jeans, use upholstery thread and needles as the fabric is thick and challenging to penetrate.

With mindful focus on each penetrating plunge of the needle, hand-hemming evolves into a meditative practice of intention and creation. Soon those pants will walk steadfast into the world, imbued with the spirit of your devoted stitches.

The Benefits of Using a Sewing Machine for Hemming Pants

The Benefits of Using a Sewing Machine for Hemming Pants
Let’s get your pants hemmed up in no time! Using a sewing machine to hem your pants is much faster and more efficient than hand sewing. You’ll be amazed at the clean, professional finish that comes from using a sewing machine’s built-in stitches and precise adjustments for the perfect hem.

Faster and More Efficient

You’ll breeze through hems when using a sewing machine. A blind hem stitch on your machine allows efficient techniques for quicker hemming. Simply prepare your fabric, set the machine properly, and sew your pants hem to precise measurements.

With streamlined dress hemming and time-saving tips like machine hemming, you’ll get professional-looking results fast. Locking stitches ensure a secure hem so pants maintain their new length. Quick sewing methods help you avoid procrastination and make hemming a breeze.

Clean and Professional Finish

Don’t worry about an amateur-looking hem – using a sewing machine gives your pants a clean, tailored finish. The invisible stitches and precise tension settings sew up a crisp, smooth hemline every time.

Adjustable stitch length and width settings let you customize them for your fabric. With some practice on scrap fabric first, you’ll have this sewing technique mastered. Soon you’ll hem pants like a pro, creating subtle finishes that complement your style.

Your wardrobe will receive an instant upgrade with the polished, quality hems a machine affords.


Hemming dress pants with a sewing machine is an art form that requires patience and precision. The process can be intimidating, but with the right supplies and skills, you can achieve a professional finish.

On average, a sewing machine can help you hem a pair of pants in approximately 20 minutes, compared to a traditional hand-sewing method, which can take up to two hours! Whether you use a sewing machine or opt for the hand-stitching route, the key to success is taking your time and measuring twice.

With practice and patience, you can master the art of hemming dress pants with a sewing machine in no time.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.