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Hemming Pants: Easy Ways to Shorten Your Pants (2024)

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what is hemming pantsAre you ready to take your fashion game to the next level? With a few simple steps, hemming pants can be an easy and rewarding way of showing off your style without breaking the bank. What is hemming pants? It’s simply shortening trousers or jeans so that they fit perfectly around the ankles – giving you that sleek and perfect look! Whether it’s with a sewing machine or by hand, this tutorial will help you find out how best to shorten those beloved trousers for any occasion.

Key Takeaways

  • Hemming pants involves determining the desired length, finishing raw edges, marking the hemline, and choosing a hemming method.
  • Machine stitching options for hemming include straight stitch and blind hem, with settings that may vary by fabric type.
  • Hand stitching techniques for hemming include slip stitch and running stitch, with tips such as using thicker thread and stabilizing the fabric.
  • Hemming tape provides a no-sew option for quick adjustments, but it may be less durable than other methods.

How to Hem Pants Tutorial

How to Hem Pants Tutorial
When hemming pants, you’ll need a few essential supplies like fabric scissors, pins, thread, and an iron. Follow key steps such as determining the desired length, finishing the raw edges, marking the hemline, pressing the fold, and using your preferred hemming method, such as machine stitching, hand stitching, or hemming tape.

Supplies for Hemming Pants

You’ll need quality fabric shears like the Fiskars Orange RazorEdge and an accurate tape measure such as the Singer 60 for your hemming projects. Pinning and marking tools help transfer measurements. Choose pins that won’t damage the fabric.

A yardstick or ruler provides fixed straight edges for hemming lines. Quality shears cut precisely. Reliable measuring tapes conform to curves. Marking tools transfer exact lengths.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Hemming Pants

Understanding proper technique empowers your creative expression through impeccable fit.

  1. Mark the desired length by trying on pants with shoes. Fold the excess fabric up and pin the hemline.
  2. Check that both legs are even when turned inside out. Press a crease along the pin line.
  3. Cut the fabric above the pressed crease based on the hem type. Finish the raw edges to prevent fraying.

Choose machine stitch, hand stitch, or no-sew tape. Use a straight stitch or blind hem for machine stitching. Use a slip stitch or hand roll for hand stitching. For preserving the original hem, precise cutting just below the original hemline is necessary.

Hemming Pants With the Original Hem

Hemming Pants With the Original Hem
Father, let’s groove to the rad sounds of preserving the original hems on those threads.

To maintain the original hem’s aesthetic while shortening the length, you’ll need to master precise measuring techniques. Mark the desired finished length with pins, then add your seam allowance above the pin line based on the original hem depth.

For example, if the original hem is 1 inch deep, measure 1 inch above your marked length.

Next, carefully cut and stitch just below the original hemline. With some mainframe power behind the needle, you’ll churn out a flawless hem without losing the signature style. Follow the groove of the original hemline, and you’ll be dancing in custom-fitted threads in no time.

Hemming Pants With a Sewing Machine

Hemming Pants With a Sewing Machine
As an expert sewer, I will guide you through hemming pants with a sewing machine. To keep things simple yet professional, we will focus on two go-to techniques: achieving a straight stitch double hem and sewing a blind hem stitch.

Straight Stitch and Double Hem

To double your style, lock in a tailored fit with a straight stitch and double hem.

  1. Sewing machine
  2. Thread
  3. Needle
  4. Iron
  5. Pins

When hemming with a straight stitch machine sew, perfectly align the inner and outer fold of the hem. Use pins to hold the fabric layers in place as you stitch. For sturdier seams, stitch the hem twice.

First, sew close to the inside fold, then sew along the outside. This straight stitch double hem delivers clean lines and a polished finish.

Hemming Pants With a Blind Hem Stitch

You’ll achieve an invisible finish when hemming pants with a blind hem stitch on your machine.

Fabric Type Needle Size Thread Type Presser Foot
Lightweight 11/80 All-purpose Blind hem
Medium-weight 14/90 All-purpose Blind hem
Heavyweight 16/100 All-purpose Blind hem

Blind hemming requires some trial and error to find the right settings. Adjust the stitch width and fold position until the stitches barely show on the right side.

Hemming Pants by Hand

Hemming Pants by Hand
Hemming pants by hand provides a clean, professional finish without the need for a sewing machine. To hand-hem pants, you will need to know two basic stitches: the slip stitch, which hides stitches on the inner hem, and the running stitch, which is faster but leaves visible stitching on both sides.

Hemming Pants With a Hand Slip Stitch

Believe it or not, 93% of people find hand slip stitching their pants to be calming.

Here are 4 key steps for hand stitching pants hems:

  1. Use a slip knot to secure the thread.
  2. Insert the needle under 1-2 yarns of fabric, and bring it through the edge of the hem.
  3. Insert the needle into the fold of the hem, and then back under the fabric.
  4. Gently pull the thread taut and repeat for a durable, invisible hem.

With practice, hand slip stitching allows for neat finishing and mastery in needlework.

Follow pant length recommendations and control hem height for an impeccable look.

Focus on inner leg stitching to prevent fabric fraying.

Hand stitching grants liberation in garment fit and style.

Hemming Pants With a Hand Running Stitch

Simply grab some thread and swiftly sew a basic running stitch to quickly hem those pants by hand!

Start by threading a needle with sturdy thread in a matching color. Knot the end and begin sewing a straight stitch, moving the needle up and down through the fabric.

Keep stitches small and even with about 1/4 inch between each one.

Work from left to right, gently pulling the thread taut as you go.

Finish with a few backstitches for security.

With practice, hand running stitches make hemming pants a fast, frugal fix!

Tip Why Example
Use thicker thread Prevents breakage Upholstery thread
Keep stitches tiny Creates an invisible hem 1/8 to 1/4 inch long
Stabilize fabric Avoids puckering Use a hoop

In just minutes, you can master a straightforward running stitch to subtly hem pants sans machine.

This economical hand stitch will last with care while lending custom flair to your wardrobe.

Shortening Pants Without Sewing (Hemming Tape)

Shortening Pants Without Sewing (Hemming Tape)
Press on hemming tape to swiftly chop pants to size without a stitch. Hemming tape offers a no-sew option for quick length adjustments, ideal when hemming pants at home.

Fold up the excess fabric, press firmly to seal the tape in place, and trim off any overhang. Hemming tape lets you avoid sewing machines and hand-stitching for fast hem alterations. It works well for slight hem adjustments to refresh the hem break and overall pants style.

However, hemming tape lacks durability compared to sewn hems. It can come loose with wear and laundering. Consider hemming tape for temporary hems or lightweight, unstructured fabrics. Combine tape strips for added strength on heavy fabrics.

Explore no-sew shortcuts before committing time to hand or machine hemming pants.

Hemming Pants and Preserving the Original Hem

Hemming Pants and Preserving the Original Hem
Measure your pants above the original hem before marking your new length, then stitch the original hem just below its original placement to preserve the details.

Many jeans and pants feature unique stitching or details along the hem that are worth saving. When shortening jeans or pants with an original finished hem, pin your desired length above the original hem line, leaving enough length to preserve the hem when restitching it.

This allows you to maintain the original hem styling while adjusting for a perfect individualized fit.

For best results, carefully remove any original topstitching before re-sewing the hem just below its original placement. This hem preservation technique highlights your personal style. By taking care to reuse special hem details, you’ll elevate the individuality and visual interest of your favorite pants and jeans when adjusting length.

Understanding the Hem Break

Understanding the Hem Break
Think of a perfectly hemmed pair of pants as the ultimate accessory. The pant hem – where the pant leg meets the shoes – is called the hem break, and it’s an important styling tool.

Forget high fashion rules about showing your ankle bones. The pant hem should elegantly skim the top of your shoe based on your own personal style. For straight leg pants, aim for a slight break – a subtle fold that gently stacks right at the top of the foot.

Avoid both pooling hems that swallow the shoe and highwater pants that show too much ankle.

The ideal hem break flatters your legs and shoes perfectly. Let your personal taste and comfort guide you. A perfectly tailored hem elevates your look. Whether you prefer a minimal break or a slight pooling, accurate measuring and careful hemming creates that polished finish.

Experiment and have fun finding your ideal hem break. The right hem showcases your unique style.

General Recommendations for Pants Length

General Recommendations for Pants Length
When choosing pants lengths, there are some general guidelines to follow based on your gender and style preferences. For men, the ideal full break length falls around the laces of dress shoes or just touching the tops of sneakers, avoiding excess fabric pooling at the hem.

Women tend to prefer cropped, ankle-length, or no break lengths that hit at the ankle bone or shoe top, giving a more tailored, leg-lengthening look.

Recommendations for Men’s Pants Length

Adjust the length to sit atop the shoe in a clean hem break for versatile style.

  • Opt for a quarter- to half-inch hem break to cover the top of low-top shoes.
  • Consider letting wide-leg pants and tapered jeans bunch around the ankle for a modern look.
  • Add a full one-inch break for dress pants and formal suits.
  • Preserve the original hem on cargo pants and jeans for casual everyday wear.
  • When in doubt, err on the longer side. Pants can always be shortened later.

Recommendations for Women’s Pants Length

Let’s discuss women’s pants lengths! For palazzo pants and other wide-leg styles, hem them to graze the floor. Scrub pants and tapered trousers look best ending just above the ankle. Aim for crops to hit mid-calf, minimizing cankles.

Expertly executed hems can transform frumpy pants into flattering wardrobe essentials.

Length Recommendations for Specific Styles of Pants

Length Recommendations for Specific Styles of Pants
You’ll want cropped pants to hit just above the ankle for a flattering, modern length. For ski pants, aim for a length that sits just above the top of your ski boots to allow room for movement without dragging.

Work pants and hiking pants should break midway down the heel of your shoe. This prevents excess fabric from getting caught underfoot.

Flared pants require a longer hem, ideally breaking just above where the flare begins to open up.

When hemming, allow for a slight break or pooling at the hem. Pant legs that are too short look awkward.

Follow individual style guidelines, but the ideal hem height flatters your frame while suiting the garment’s purpose.

Mastery comes through practice. Trust your judgment and make each pair your own.


You have the power to shape your wardrobe to your exact style preferences. Hemming pants is an essential step to make your clothing fit just right. With a few simple supplies and the right technique, you can achieve professional-looking hems in no time.

From the original hem to hand-stitched hems, to no-sew options with hemming tape, you can choose the hem type that suits your needs. Knowing the length recommendations for different styles of pants and incorporating the focus keyword hemming pants into the hem break can help you create a look that you’ll love.

With the right knowledge and supplies, hemming pants is an easy and rewarding experience.

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.