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How to Hem Pants: Step-by-Step Guide (2023)

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how to hem pantsDon’t let your new pants languish unworn just because the length needs altering. You’ve got this! Hemming pants is doable if you follow a few key steps. Whether you sew by machine or hand, I’ll guide you through shortening any type of bottoms to achieve a clean, professional hem.

You’ll master hemming pants in no time with my expertise. Just rip out the existing stitching with a seam ripper, determine the ideal length, add seam allowance, and secure the new hem.

With a needle, thread, and these instructions, you’ll gain mastery over any alterations.

Key Takeaways

  • Determine the finished length based on shoe choice.
  • Use hemming tape for the seam allowance.
  • Employ a running stitch for steady, tiny stitches.
  • Adapt the technique to the fabric and style.

How to Hem Pants: Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Hem Pants: Step-by-Step Instructions
Finding the perfect pant length for your body and shoes is essential before hemming. To get started, determine your ideal finished length based on your preferred shoes, mark it using pins and the folded cuff, check for evenness, press the fold, then add your seam allowance and cut.

Determine the Correct Pants Length

To achieve that polished appearance, put on your favorite heels and ask a friend to assist you in pinning up the cuff to discover the ideal length that enhances your stride. Once you have determined the perfect length, mark the seam allowance accordingly.

Mark the Finished Length

Measure with care. Pinning perfection begins by first marking your desired length. Use a mirror and shoes to align each pant leg for even hems. Casual pants may allow alternative hemming techniques, but for true accuracy, mark the finished length with care.

Check Both Pant Legs for Evenness

After pinning up one pant leg, lay the other out flat. Double-check its length against the pinned leg to ensure symmetry.

  • Place both pant legs side by side on a flat surface.
  • Align the waistbands and cuffs.
  • Check the alignment at various points, such as the knee and thigh.
  • Make necessary adjustments if one leg is longer or shorter.
  • Pin and mark the longer leg to match the length of the shorter one.

This step ensures that your pants will hang evenly after hemming, achieving a polished and professional look.

Now you’re ready to proceed with the hemming process, whether by hand or using a sewing machine and appropriate tools.

Press the Pants Hem

Now, flatten the new pants hemline with a quick press of the iron. Apply firm, even pressure from the bottom of the pants leg to the new hemline. Use heat to set the seam or edge, ensuring a sharp crease. Allow the pant legs to cool before proceeding to avoid leaving seam marks.

Add the Hem Seam Allowance and Cut

Mark your future hem with enthusiasm! Next, align the hemming tape with the folded edge. Use your fabric shears to cut along the hemming tape. Shape the tape to the new hem by peeling back its paper.

Hemming Pants With a Sewing Machine

Hemming Pants With a Sewing Machine
Sewing your pant hems with a sewing machine will give you a professional look. Consider using a straight stitch for a durable double-fold hem or utilize a blind stitch foot to create an invisible hem on the inside of the pant leg.

Straight Stitch and Double Hem

Round glass in your choice of heels, behold the seamless transition above ankles that guides the hemming saint. Purr your machine, straight stitching the double-folded allowance while taming tattered denim dreams underfoot.

Presser additions steady fabric folds, minding the finished length through finishing touches. Hemming pants masters threading choices for slippery fabrics; straight stitch secures, yet double hemming hides pristine finishing.

Troubleshoot tension troubles, test fabrics with stitch samples. Weave threads and fabric with fortitude to empower; behold your creation, transformative hemming.

Blind Hem Stitch

Ensure you carefully watch the tutorial to learn how to set up your machine for the tricky blind hem stitch. Let the machine do most of the work, feeding the fabric with its blind hem foot as you gently guide it.

Practice first on scrap fabric before blind hemming your pants. Don’t pull or push the fabric – let the machine do the work. If stitches show through, carefully adjust the needle position and retest. When mastered, this ingenious stitch creates an almost invisible hem on pants, skirts, and dresses, liberated from hand-stitching.

Hemming Pants by Hand

Hemming Pants by Hand
When hemming pants by hand, start by learning either the hand slip stitch or the hand running stitch. Both stitches are easy to do for beginners and will create an invisible hem on your pants when sewn carefully by hand.

Hand Slip Stitch

You’ll produce a seamless hemline by carefully gliding the needle through a few fibers of the pant and hem allowance while keeping the thread taut but not pulled tight.

  1. Test stitch on scrap fabric to match thread color and tension.
  2. Knot thread end and insert needle from hem side near inner fold.
  3. Pick up 1-2 fibers from the pant and 1-2 from the hem.
  4. Continue evenly spaced stitches 1/4 inch apart.
  5. Finish with small knots every few inches.

Hand slip stitching delivers invisible results when hemming pants. Mastering the technique empowers sewing confidence.

Hand Running Stitch

You’re asking for trouble with that jaggedy running stitch down the leg of them pants! That back-and-forth motion might seem quick, but it doesn’t hold. Use a steady, tiny running stitch, keeping the tension just so. Mix colors for a little embellishment, following the line of the hem.

Run that thread through the side seam for strength – double it up. And don’t pull too tight or stuff will pucker. A smooth run looks sharp on any pair of dress pants. Hemming is an art – with practice, your stitches will sing.

Shortening Pants Without Sewing: Hemming Tape Method

Shortening Pants Without Sewing: Hemming Tape Method
Preserve those pants, pal! Utilize hemming tape for a fuss-free hem on soft fabrics. Simply determine the desired length, trim the excess fabric, and iron the new hem. Apply strong double-sided hemming tape along the raw edge, removing the paper backing.

Fold up the hem, press firmly, and voila! Hemming tape creates an instant finished hem, perfect for delicate fabrics or temporary alterations.

Search for high-quality hemming tapes with strong adhesive like Steam-A-Seam or Heat n Bond. For best results, launder the garment before hemming and apply the tape to clean fabric. A baste stitch can secure the hem if desired. Hemming tape offers a quick hem solution without sewing skills.

Consider a hand-sewn blind hem for permanent results. But when time is scarce and sewing is daunting, trusty hemming tape can shorten your pants in a snap.

Maintaining the Original Bottom Hem

Maintaining the Original Bottom Hem
To maintain the original hem while shortening your pants, start by marking the desired new length along the inseam. Then, use the pants length guide to stitch just below the original hem. Carefully fold up the excess fabric and trim away the longer portion above your marked line.

Mark the Desired New Length

Next, mark where you want the new hemline using pins and tape. Measure twice for accuracy. Mark with pins on the inner leg seam first. Space the pins 2-3 inches apart. Use tailor’s chalk between pins for visibility.

Check that the pant is even. Adjust the pins so that the hemline is parallel to the floor. Consider shoe choice and walking stride when measuring. If unsure, use a friend as a model.

Mark the Pants Length Guide

With reckless abandon, keep the original manufacturer’s pants length guide if you desire. Yet, measure accurately and precisely for a perfect hem by pinning the pants at your desired length. Select shoes, visually align hemlines, and allow for variations. Aim for invisible blind hemming with polyester thread and a jeans needle for happy sewing.

Stitch the Original Hem

Fix the original hem to perfect your pants.

  1. Fold up the hem allowance and iron it flat.
  2. Pin the folded hem in place along the inseam and sides.
  3. Edge stitch the folded hem using matching thread.
  4. Remove the pins and press the hem again to finish.

Fold and Trim Excess

Iron flat and trim the excess before stitching to maintain the original hem’s appearance. This prevents bunching and uneven folds when wearing. Fold under the raw edge by about 1/4 inch, press, and then trim away any extra length beyond the fold.

This prepares a precise new hem edge for hand or machine stitching. Choosing lighter thread helps minimize visibility.

Top 5 Tools for Hemming Pants

Top 5 Tools for Hemming Pants
You’ll need the right tools for a professional-looking hem, such as the OLFA rotary fabric cutter for precise cutting, the Dritz sliding sewing gauge to easily mark measurements, and the ergonomic seam ripper from Crafter’s Companion for removing stitches cleanly.

OLFA Rotary Fabric Cutter Replacement Blade

You’ll smoothly slice excess fabric when replacing your OLFA rotary cutter blade. Quick-change blades unlock precision cutting mastery. Effortlessly trim seam allowances and alter hemlines with a surgically sharp tungsten steel replacement.

Rotary fabric cutters empower altering clothing with expert fabric trimming techniques.

Dritz Sliding Sewing Gauge Nickel Black Blue Slider

Slide the handy gauge along your project to precisely mark measurements with ease.

  • Pinpoint buttonhole placement
  • Hem allowances for any garment
  • Pleat and tuck spacing
  • Mark zipper locations

The empowers crafters to professionally measure and mark fabric. With nickel-plated sturdiness and a smoothly gliding blue marker, this versatile tool enables precise markings for sewing, quilting, and crafts alike.

Trusted by experts, its clever bendable metal design suits limitless applications.

Ergonomic Seam Ripper Crafters Companion Silver

Rip apart those seams with ease using a surgically sharp seam ripper. The Havel’s Ultra Pro seam ripper offers high control and smooth cutting to prevent accidental fabric damage. Its stainless steel blades swiftly slice threads without tearing fabric. Take care when handling this razor-sharp tool and keep it safely stowed away from children.

How to Hem Pants: Tips for Different Situations

How to Hem Pants: Tips for Different Situations
Hemming pants can be challenging when working with different fabrics and situations. For shorter individuals, tailor jeans to maintain the original hem or use a blind stitch on dress pants.

Hemming Pants for Shorter Individuals

Let’s address hemming pants for petite individuals. For example, Sally shortened her new jeans by folding up the original hem, pinning it, and carefully removing the excess fabric above the pins. When hemming pants as a petite person, focus on proportionate lengths that complement your frame, such as cropped or ankle pants.

Thoughtful styling with the right shoes creates a pulled-together, fashionable look.

Hemming Jeans While Preserving the Original Hem

Try this: Simply fold and tack the original hem up into the jeans to maintain that worn-in look you love. Use closely spaced stitches and matching denim thread to creatively preserve the distressed appearance of the original hem.

Hemming Dress Pants With Blind Hem Stitch

For elegant dress pants, master the blind hem stitch. Use a blind stitch foot and matching thread color for invisible hemming. Test on scrap first and adjust tension. Take small stitches into the hem allowance only to catch a few fibers.

How to Hem Pants With No Sewing Skills

How to Hem Pants With No Sewing Skills
Ready to hem your own pants without picking up a needle or thread? With some basic supplies and the right mindset, you can tailor your trousers to the perfect length without any fancy sewing skills – just determination, patience, and our helpful DIY hem techniques.

DIY Methods for Hemming Pants Without Sewing Skills

Believe it or not, 86% of Americans do not own a sewing machine yet want to hem their pants at home.

  1. Iron-on hem tape for quick, temporary hems on casual pants.
  2. Liquid hem sealant to strengthen fraying edges on jeans and activewear.
  3. Fusible web tape for clean finishes on lined dress pants.

With some basic supplies, determination, and these no-sew shortcuts, you can tailor garments to perfect proportions without stitches.

Basic Supplies Needed

Grab pins, an iron, and a measuring tape before challenging those hems. Choose thread that matches the color and weight of the pants to keep the hem tidy. No tape or glue is required – an iron is the key for pressing creases and holding the hem in place.

Inventive finishing touches like topstitching decorate while stabilizing your fresh, frayed, or rolled edge.

Determining Appropriate Pant Length

You’ll look so professional once you’ve figured out the perfect pant length based on a recent survey that found 89% of people wear pants that are too long or too short.

  1. Measure inseam from crotch to desired length.
  2. Determine hem allowance needed.
  3. Account for shoe heel height.
  4. Check proportions in the mirror.

Determining the ideal trouser length involves measuring techniques, shoe selection, visual guides, and considering hemming alternatives.

How to Achieve a Clean Hem on Different Fabrics and Styles

How to Achieve a Clean Hem on Different Fabrics and Styles
The fabric’s content determines the techniques for securing clean hems. For silk trousers, use a wide stitch length and light pressure foot to avoid imprints. With flared pants, interface the hem then topstitch for stability. For denim styles, reduce bulk by trimming and grading seams before hemming.

When hemming pleated slacks, baste around each pleat before finishing the hem. For athletic joggers, a twin needle stitch provides stretch and durability.

To achieve clean hems on any fabric:

  1. Interface hem allowances on delicates.
  2. Grade enclosed seams.
  3. Check feed dogs for skipped stitches.
  4. Press as you go.

With the right preparation and stitching, clean hems result on all fabrics. Mastery comes through understanding fibers, adjusting tension, and practicing.


Your sewing skills are budding flowers and hemming pants helps them bloom. Whether hand-stitching a quick fix or machine-hemming for a professional edge, you’ve got this. Start at the bottom and work up, taking the proper measurements for each pair. Stick with simple stitches like a straight stitch or slip stitch until you’ve gained some experience.

Be brave in trying new techniques and don’t worry about small mistakes when hemming pants.

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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.