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How to Hem Jeans or Pants on a Flat Bed Sewing Machine Full Guide of 2023

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I’ve heard it a million times– “I want an all-metal, vintage machine, but I MUST have a free arm so I can he pants.”

Really? It’s easy to hem jeans or any other pant leg on a flatbed sewing machine. So much so that I don’t use the free arm for this, even on machines with a free arm.

What is the “secret”?

Just sew on the INSIDE of the tube instead of the outside.

a002a a002

Before you sew, press the seam with a hot iron and lots of steam. Pinch the fabric at the thick seams with a pair of pliers or give it a few good whacks with a hammer.

This makes the “hump” somewhat flatter and makes it easier to feed evenly. It is also important to use the correct needle for the job.

I recommend a 14, 16 or 18 denim or sharp needle, depending on how heavy the denim is and the thickness of the thread being used. I use a thicker quilted thread, so I chose an #18 denim point.

Here are some more tips for sewing over the “hump”

a004Once you approach the bump when the needle is in the fabric, lift the presser foot and insert slightly under the presser foot, behind the needle to level the foot. I used an empty needle case as my shim in the photo.

By keeping the foot level, the fabric feeds evenly and prevents the dreaded “jamming”. This is when the foot does not go over the hump.

a006When you come out of the thick seam, use your shim at the front to keep the foot level again, as shown in the photo above.

Jenny—Sewing Classic

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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.