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How to Hem Pants for Beginners: a Foolproof Guide to Perfect Hems at Home (2024)

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how to hem pants for beginnersTo hem pants for beginners, first mark and measure the desired length.

Remove the original hem using a seam ripper or hemming tape.

Cut the fabric 1-2 inches above your mark, finishing the raw edge.

Fold the hem allowance up, pressing each fold for a crisp crease.

Pin the folded hem in place 1/2 inch from the edge.

Sew by machine or hand, backstitching at the start and end.

Press the finished hem for a polished look.

Alternatively, you can use hemming tape – a quick no-sew method.

Master these steps, and you’ll achieve a professional finish every time.

Key Takeaways

  • Accurately measure and mark the desired hem length to ensure an even, professional finish
  • Carefully remove the original hem using a seam ripper or hemming tape for a clean slate
  • Fold and press the new hem allowance, pinning it in place before sewing or using no-sew hemming tape
  • Take time to sew the hem neatly by machine or hand for a polished, tailored look

How to Hem Pants for Beginners?

To hem pants as a beginner, first determine the desired length and remove the original hem. Then, measure, fold, and press the new hem before pinning it in place and sewing it by machine or by hand. Alternatively, you can use hemming tape to hem pants without sewing.

Determine the Desired Hem Length

Determine the Desired Hem Length
You’ll want to start by determining the desired length for the new hem. With the pants on and shoes that will be worn with them, mark the desired length all the way around each leg using pins or a fabric marking pencil, ensuring the hem will be even.

Mark the Desired Length With Pins or Chalk

To mark the desired length, try on the pants with your desired shoes and use pins or tailor’s chalk to mark the new hemline.

Carefully measure the distance from the floor to the pin or chalk mark, ensuring it’s the same all the way around.

This will create an even fold crease when you press the new hem.

Use a tape measure, ruler, or hem gauge to get an accurate measurement for the perfect pants length.

Ensure the Hem is Even All the Way Around

To guarantee the hem’s uniformity, meticulously examine both pant legs.

Measure the intended length, including a seam allowance, and indicate the folded edge with tailor’s chalk.

Verify the lengths are equal on both legs by trying on the pants with footwear. This step is essential for a polished hem.

If the lengths vary, modify the markings appropriately before trimming the excess fabric and pressing the altered hem.

Remove the Original Hem

Remove the Original Hem
Now that you’ve determined the desired length for your pants hem, it’s time to remove the original hem.

Using a seam ripper, carefully pick out the stitches to detach the existing hem. This will give you a clean slate to work with.

If the pants have a blind hem stitch, you may need to use the seam ripper more delicately to avoid damaging the fabric.

Alternatively, you can opt for hemming tape, which allows you to skip the removal step entirely.

Once the original hem is gone, press the pants leg to remove any lingering creases.

With the raw edges exposed, you’re ready to measure and cut the new hem to the perfect length.

Stay focused, and soon you’ll have a freshly hemmed pair of pants.

Measure and Cut the New Hem

Measure and Cut the New Hem
Determining and cutting the new hem is a significant step in hemming your pants. Begin by establishing the desired hem length – for dress pants, aim for approximately 1/2 inch above the floor when wearing footwear. Utilize a measuring tape, ruler, or hem gauge to denote the cutting line 1-2 inches above the secured fold. Ensure that you measure and mark both pant legs with precision.

Subsequently, consider the fabric type to guide the hem width. For denim, a 1/2 inch hem is appropriate, while dress pants may benefit from a 1 inch hem. Cautiously cut along the marked line, employing sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to achieve a clean edge. If preferred, finish the unfinished edge with a zig-zag stitch or serger to prevent unraveling. With the surplus fabric removed, you’re prepared to fold and press the new hem.

Fold and Press the New Hem

Fold and Press the New Hem
To create a crisp, professional-looking hem, take the time to carefully fold and press the new hem.

Start by folding the raw edge of the fabric up by the desired hem allowance, typically 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Press this first fold with a hot iron to create a sharp crease.

Then, fold the fabric over again, encasing the raw edge, and press a second time. This double-folded hem will give you a clean, finished look.

Be sure to use the presser foot on your sewing machine to guide the fabric as you sew the hem in place.

For an even more invisible finish, consider a blind hem stitch or a hand-stitched rolled hem.

Alternatively, you can use hemming tape to fuse the hem in place without any stitching.

Pin the Hem in Place

Pin the Hem in Place
Now that you’ve carefully folded and pressed the new hem, it’s time to pin it in place.

Grab some sharp pins and start pinning the hem around the entire pant leg, about 1/2 inch from the folded edge.

Be sure to place the pins perpendicular to the hem, with the pin heads facing down for easy removal later.

Take your time and check that the hem is even all the way around. You may need to adjust the pins as you go.

When pinning delicate fabrics, use smaller pins to avoid leaving holes.

For heavier fabrics, longer pins will hold the hem securely.

With the hem pinned in place, you’re ready to sew it down, either by machine or by hand for a beautiful, professional finish.

Sew the Hem by Machine

Sew the Hem by Machine
Thread your sewing machine with thread that matches the color of your pants. Start by backstitching at the beginning of the hem to secure the stitches, and end with another backstitch to prevent the hem from unraveling.

Thread the Sewing Machine With Matching Thread

Thread your sewing machine with a needle and thread that match the fabric weight.

Adjust the tension settings and stitch length for a foolproof hem.

The right needle size and thread type will help you achieve a smooth, even sew along the fabric’s edge.

Take your time and focus on maintaining consistent stitching.

Guide the pant leg through your sewing machine’s hem foot for professional-looking results.

Backstitch at the Beginning and End

Once you’ve threaded your sewing machine with matching thread, it’s time to start sewing.

Position the presser foot about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the top fold of the hem.

Set your stitch length to medium.

Sew slowly, guiding the fabric gently.

Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to secure your stitches.

This will give your hem a professional, polished look.

Don’t forget to press the finished hem for a crisp, clean result.

Sew the Hem by Hand (Optional)

Sew the Hem by Hand (Optional)
If you prefer a more refined, bespoke look, you can stitch the border by hand using a hidden hem stitch.

This method creates an almost imperceptible border that’s ideal for delicate textiles or formal attire.

Begin by threading a needle with a harmonized thread and securing it with a knot.

Bring the needle up through the folded border, taking minute stitches that merely graze the textile’s edge.

Move the needle back down through the main textile, ensuring you don’t pierce it completely.

Repeat this procedure, taking care to maintain your stitches minute and uniform.

For an ornamental touch, attempt a border stitch or a slip stitch.

With some practice, you’ll be sewing expert-looking hand-stitched borders that enhance the appearance of your garments.

Press the Finished Hem

Press the Finished Hem
Once you’ve sewn the hem, it’s time to give it a final press.

Grab your trusty iron and ironing board – this is where the magic happens.

Carefully lay the pants flat on the pressing surface, making sure there are no wrinkles or bumps. Using a hot iron, press the newly sewn hem, working your way around the entire leg.

This will help set the stitches and create a crisp, professional-looking finish.

Don’t be afraid to use a bit of steam – the heat and moisture will help smooth out any lingering creases.

With a few quick passes of the iron, your freshly hemmed pants will look like they were custom-made for you.

A little pressing goes a long way in achieving that polished, put-together look.

Hem Pants Without Sewing (Hemming Tape)

Hem Pants Without Sewing (Hemming Tape)
If you’re not keen on busting out the sewing machine, hemming tape is your new best friend.

This double-sided adhesive tape makes it a breeze to hem pants without a single stitch.

Simply cut the tape to fit the width of your pant leg.

Slide it between the fabric.

Press with a hot iron to fuse it in place.

The heat-activated bond creates a durable, invisible hem that can withstand washing and wear.

For an extra-secure hold, you can also use a fabric glue along the edges.

This iron-on hemming solution is perfect for quick fixes or tailoring pants to your exact length.

No sewing skills required – just measure, cut, and press for professional-looking hems in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you hem pants without knowing how do you sew?

Just like using hem tape to fix a hem before a night out, you can add semi-permanent double-sided no-sew hemming tape to the inside of your pants. Simply iron for a quick, crisp hem line that will last for years.

Is it hard to learn how do you hem pants?

Hemming pants isn’t overly complicated if you’re patient and follow instructions. With practice, you’ll master an essential skill, gain confidence, and customize clothes perfectly.

How do you hem pants quickly?

To quickly hem pants, fold and pin the desired length, use hemming tape or fusible web, press with a hot iron to secure the hem, and you’re done! Simple and fast – no sewing required.

How to sew a hem by hand for beginners?

You’ll need a needle, thread, and an iron. Fold under the raw edge twice, press, then hand-stitch close to the fold with small, tight stitches.

How do I hem pants with a flared or bootcut leg?

For flared or bootcut pants, fold the raw edge under 1⁄4 inch, press, then fold again at desired length. Carefully pin around leg opening, easing any fullness. Stitch close to inner folded edge, removing pins as you sew.

What if my pants have a decorative original hem?

As symbols of our creative spirit, decorative hems deserve preservation. Carefully unpick stitches, then baste the hem above its original position. Ensuring its memory endures, stitch atop the basting – honoring craftsmanship while achieving your desired length.

Can I hem pants without removing the original hem?

For a temporary hem, tuck and pin the excess fabric inside the pant leg. For a longer-lasting solution, sew a blind stitch along the original hem’s fold, securing the new length underneath neatly.

How do I hem pants with a lining or cuff?

You’ll need to remove any existing lining first. Carefully unpick the cuff or lining before hemming as usual – no workarounds there, I’m afraid.

Whats the best way to hem stretchy or delicate fabrics?

For stretchy or delicate fabrics, handstitching a blind hem is your best bet. Let the weight of the fabric guide you for a light touch.


Voilà! You’ve mastered the art of how to hem pants for beginners. With practice, hemming will become second nature, allowing you to tailor garments to perfection. Remember, patience and precision are key to achieving that coveted professional finish. Now, go forth and conquer those unruly pant legs with your newfound hemming prowess!

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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.