Tutorial: How to Hem Jeans {And Keep The Original Hem}

Tell me you don’t have at least one pair of jeans sitting in your closet, waiting to be hemmed. You don’t want to pay someone to hem the jeans for you, but aren’t quite confident in your hemming skills. Hence, the jeans continue to sit… Sound familiar?!

No more excuses! Give your wardrobe and your confidence a boost by hemming them yourself! This easy method is both fast and easy, and even allows you to keep the original hem. Your jeans will fit like a charm in no time, and soon all your friends will be dropping off their too-long jeans for you to hem!

Got 15 minutes? You’re golden. Here we go…

Materials:
Your favorite pair of too-long jeans!
Measuring Tape
Thread

Instructions:
1. Try on your jeans and fold the hem up (right sides together) to the length that you’d like your finished hem. Remember to wear a pair of shoes that you would normally wear with the jeans. If you wear flats most often, throw on a pair. If you like to wear wedges, go with those.

2. Take off your jeans and measure from the bottom fold to the bottom of the original hem.

3. Divide the measurement from step 2 by 2. Example: I folded my jeans up 2 inches in step 1, and divided that 2 inch measurement by 2 to get 1 inch. Using the new measurement, fold the hem up again and pin in place (remember to ignore the original hem when measuring).
4. Continue pinning each pant leg as in step 3, until both hems are completely pinned.
5. Using a zipper foot, stitch around each jean leg, through both layers of jean, as close to original hem as possible. Note: Do not stitch ON original hem, but immediately adjacent to it.
6. Turn folded edges to inside of jean legs and try your jeans on to make sure you’re happy with the new length!

7. Press the folded edges upward toward the inside of each jean leg. You can also sew a couple of hand stitches at each side seam on the inside of each leg to tack the folded edges in place if you’d like. Note: If you had to hem a large amount from your jeans (I’d say greater than 2 inches or so), you may prefer to trim the folded edge and serge or zig zag the edges to reduce bulk. Make sure to press each jean leg from the outside as well to give a nice clean hemline.


Now, go grab your favorite flats…
And feel confident in your newly hemmed jeans and in your new skill!

Comments

  1. Thanks for the tutorial! I just did this to a pair of jeans last week, but was afraid to hem too much. So, I ended up hemming too little and they’re still too long. The thought of unpicking all that sewing is not appealing. I’ll probably leave them. Grr.

    • Always best, when sewing (found this out myself) to start out with largest basting option, then when you try on and see you need more or less length, you can remove thread easily. I usually do an odd color so it can be seen better when removing. Then if it’s perfect just use the color that matches and use the tighter sewing option!

  2. Where’s the like button!
    Brilliant thanks!

  3. What a great idea! Whenever I hem my jeans the new hem never looks worn and faded like the original hem. Thanks for sharing! I am off to try it!

  4. Thanks for sharing this idea. I’ve been sewing for 35 years, and I never once thought of doing it this way. Excellent!

  5. too funny, I have a post half written on this exact trick! Mine isn’t as pretty as yours, love the shot of the hem/shoes, so looks like I’ll put off posting this!

    http://itssewforyou.blogspot.com

  6. Awesome!

  7. awesome! I have actually done this one, too! I am not short by any means, but sometimes I find nice namebrand jeans sold for dirt cheap on ebay that are ‘tall’… no problemo, I can fix that! :D I actually did this and another trick to turn tall bootcut London Jeans I bought for .99 on ebay(win) into white skinnies to go with the current trend. (and my fav thing is that I am gonna dye those suckers so hard once the trend passes. win/win/win.)

  8. It’s funny that something so simple is so exciting! I am really excited to try this. My jeans are always to long and I never knew a great way to hem them. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Wow! so simple but so brilliant! thanks for sharing!

  10. Neat idea, even a bachelor could do this! Thanks for sharing on Show-Me-How.

  11. What a great idea! I’ve always just made a new hem, but it’s never the same. Thanks for sharing!

  12. OMG –brilliant!

  13. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I have a pair of jeans that I LOVE but I’m afraid I’m going to ruin because I keep stepping on them. This seriously makes me so happy :)

  14. Super cool! Thank you for this useful bit of info and the great pics too. I had a friend ask me a couple of weeks ago to hem a pair of jeans and I had to say no :( I have jeans that I can’t wear because they’re too long, so excuse me while I go dig them out!

  15. that is awesome!! My girls are so short and they are always wanting their jeans hemmed. This is the way it’s going to happen next time.

  16. I sew all sorts of things… but hemming jeans always makes me nervous. So like you said, they sit in a neat pile awaiting my confidence level boost. This was a great post – thanks for sharing!

  17. Clever idea–wish I could put it to use, but I don’t ever have this problem! Any ideas for lengthening jeans? It’s a much harder nut to crack. ;)

  18. Thanks for the tutorial. You make it look so easy. I may just bite the bullet and try it. :-)

  19. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [21 Jun 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  20. Wow -so easy thanks, I just paid ( feeling very guilty)to have a pair hemmed like this – no excuse next time. The pair I had done were very dark denim and the shop also stitched in matching dark blue thread above the original hem to keep the pressed bit to stay put which looks good too.

  21. love this! thank you for sharing!!!

    I have some jeans that need this and now i know how!!1

  22. This is great for kids’ jeans, I always buy a size or 2 up for my daughter, I can just rip the hem out when she pops up an inch!

  23. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing in easy step-by-step photos and instructions!1

  24. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to tell you that I love your red chair! Random comment..I know. :)

    –SaraLyn

  25. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [22 Jun 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  26. Very cool! Thanks for sharing that, I have about 10 prs of pants to hem for my very petite Mom!

  27. I’ve seen this before and I love it. I taught my mom to do it! Fortunately & unfortunately, I don’t have this problem b/c my pants are usually too short, but I do pass along the tip to anyone who mentions that they need to do it!

  28. THANK YOU! As a tiny (in height) person I alway need to hem. You will be saving us money- now that I can hem my own jeans.

  29. I’m so short I need to hem all of my pants, including my jeans. The photos really helped in your tute. I’ve read others but really needed the visual to get it. Thanks!

  30. Great tip! Have you had trouble with the hem peeking out?

  31. As a matter of fact I do have a pair of jeans in my closet that I was going to hem today. Thanks such a timely tutorial. I LIKE!

  32. Love this idea and I’m only 5’4″ so I’m constantly needing my jeans hemmed! I would also LOVE if you would link up your project to our {{What I Made Wednesday}} linky party…it’s going on now! And, I’m your newest follower! =)

    ~Briana
    sweetpeasandbb.blogspot.com

  33. I’m in the minority here, but why would you hem jeans this way? There’s a lot of extra bulk and stiffness with that extra fabric there. If you don’t trim off the extra tucked fabric, you end up with an internal cuff. Unless the pants are absolutely straight at the bottom, it can’t possibly lay flat inside the pants leg because it will either have a larger or smaller circumference. It will affect the way the hem hangs. It’s more noticeable than a neat, compact normal jeans hem. It’s ok for a quick fix but I’d never consider leaving it this way.

  34. Mrs. Tommie – Hemming jeans this way does add bulk, but for me personally, nothing that makes the jeans sit differently at the hem or changes the way they appear or feel when wearing. As I mentioned in the tutorial, you can always trim the folded edge and serge or zigzag it to reduce some bulk. And as long as the jeans aren’t super flared, the difference in circumference shouldn’t be enough to cause any problems, especially with the bit of stretch that most jeans have now. I encourage you to give this method a try, you just might surprise yourself and love it :)!

  35. Wish I knew tip years ago. I can’t wait to try it out.

    Thanks so much.

    Diane

  36. Hello—
    Popped over from Just A Girl.
    Clever idea. A keeper!

    Melinda

  37. I’ve been frustrated with too-long jeans for years – I always leave them in the store rather than pay someone to hem them. This is an amazing new trick. Thanks for sharing at Paisley Passions. I “followed” your blog while here :)

  38. This is great Abby!

  39. Thanks for the tutorial!! I am so short and I can never find jeans on sale because they are too long. Just got a sewing machine and this will help!

  40. Thank you! I had a pair of jeans I bought a YEAR ago, and I hadn’t hemmed. it was so easy and I wore my year old-brand-new jeans today!

  41. I love the way you have hemmed your geans, you have made a difficult job easy. Thanks for posting.

  42. Nicely done!!!

    Unfortunitly, I have the opposite problem! I have a hard time finding jeans long enough for me!

    Ashley
    http://www.simplydesigning.blogspot.com

  43. I truly wish I ever had the problem of my jeans being too long :) but your method is so very creative! Maybe I can create some floods or capris from some of my too short jeans instead :)

  44. Thanks for this great post. I’ve heard of this method, but had never quite pictured it. Now I know how I’ll hem up all my daughters new school pants (she’s a shorty, poor girl.)

  45. My friend just tried this and loves this!

  46. I found your post today and bet my husband I could hem my new jeans in 15 minutes and still have them look good. He gladly took the bet because he knew there was no way. Boy, was he shocked when I did it. This post made my whole day and since I am 5’2″ probably changed my life! Thanks!!!!!!!

  47. I’d never heard of this method before. Great idea!! Thanks for sharing.

  48. Can’t believe I have been paying a tailor all these years when it could be done this simply! No more waiting a week to wear new jeans!!!

  49. My son is a dwarf, or “little person.” He will only be 4’6″ when he’s done growing. I forsee many years of hemming jeans in my future. :) Thanks so much for this tutorial, and all the wonderful photographs you included. I will be turning to it many times in the years to come!

  50. Thank you for sharing this. I hem jeans for my husband all the time. But I always cut the original seam. Now I won’t need to.

  51. Do you have any info about the super-cute brown flats in the picture? I have been thinking about them for DAYS .

  52. Thanks for adding this section! I now have 2 pairs of jeans that look great and I wont trip over. :)

  53. Oh my holy cheesecake! I totally found this, and I bought some cute grey pants yesterday that are too long! Thanks so much for the tutorial!! ♥

  54. My friend sent me this link a few weeks ago so as soon as I got my zipper foot in the mail I tried it. OMG so easy!!!!! I am 5ft tall and not one single pair of pants fit me right. This is a lifesaver! I am waiting to trim the leftovers until I understand my serger but plan to trim some (I had to go up 3″ before folding in half!!)

  55. I scored a way too long pair of $70 pants on clearance for $9. Planned to have them hemmed professionally but saw this and gave it a shot. This method works GREAT. It literally took me less than 10 minutes to do both legs, and there is no weird visible bulk or bulge. Now my clearance pants are even MORE of a bargain! Thank you! Will be featuring this on my blog.

  56. This is absolutely wonderful. I have this great – but too long – pair of jeans since summer and I dreaded hemming them. Now I know how to do it – thank you!

  57. Thank you so very much! Going to try this tomorrow.

  58. THANK YOU!THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I have been just cutting the hem off and letting it fray when they’re too long. This is genius!! Thanks again!

  59. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Just wanted to say a huge thanks for this tutorial. I just hemmed two pairs of jeans and it worked a treat! I’ve always hated how ‘altered’ jeans look with a new hemline, so I’ve actually got better results by doing it myself than I used to get by taking them to the tailor and paying! Thanks so much.

  60. I love you! I just hemmed my first pair of jeans, I always used the sticky iron tape, well no more thanks to you!

  61. Can you put up a picture of how to trim off the bulk from the inside. My jeans need about 6 inches or more cut off. Thanks… Great site!

  62. what u do when the inside is too large do u cut it off

  63. I love you. :) I just used your very easy-to-follow instructions and whipped out a hem job on some jeans that have been driving me crazy. Thank you so much!

  64. I’ve saved this comment from my blog and I’m going to attempt to do it tomorrow! Cross your fingers for me!

  65. Thank you so much for this! I’m 5’0″ and always have to hem even short length jeans. I bought myself some expensive Silver jeans, and the shop where I bought them told me about hemming this way. They send stuff out to be hemmed like this, but I didn’t want to pay someone to do it. Your tutorial is perfect! I always hate cutting off the real hem of jeans because it takes way some of the style. I posted a link to this on my Facebook page.

  66. Great idea! I have a pair of slacks that I picked up at a yard sale that this trick might work for, too. :)

  67. This is awesome – thanks so much for sharing your tutorial. I hemmed my maternity jeans finally tonight and they look super! Thought I’d better get them done while I can still wear them, lol.

  68. Anonymous says:

    I am hemming a pair for my grand daughter and need to take quite a bit off. Because they were a boot cut I have a large amount of extra from old hem to new. Any suggestions for this. On one pair I opened the side seem and took of the excess.

  69. Anon – With your case, I’d do it just how you did the other pair – open up the side seam and take it in so there’s not so much taper in the leg. Good luck!

  70. I would love to know what sewing machine you use? I am currently looking to buy a new machine that will stand up to denim as hemming my jeans is what I will mainly be using it for.

  71. Laura – I have a Janome Decor Excel. I’ve had it for 8 years now, and it has been great! It does a great job through thick layers :).

  72. You’re a star! I just hemmed my first ever pair of jeans, despite being 27 years old & owning a sewing machine, I have always got Mum to do it or paid someone else. This time my $15 jeans remained $15 total! They look fab. Thank you from a very happy Kiwi :)

  73. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I’m a beginning sewer but was able to follow your tutorial and hemmed my jeans in about ten minutes. Thanks so much for the clear instructions and great pictures.

  74. This is great! I just have to ask if there’s a specific feature of sewing machine that can alter/hem jeans. I do not own one and was thinking of buying since I have lots of jeans who needs adjustment.thanks again.

  75. Anonymous says:

    It worked. Very happy with the results! Even managed to do the job without a zipper foot (my machine is ancient!) and I didn’t break a thing!

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial Abby.

    From Abi! (UK)

  76. can dress pants be hemmed this way. if not, do u have a simple method to hem them.

  77. I’ve been hemming pants for years, and this was by far the easiest way to do it. It was also nice that you could undo it instead of hoping you didn’t cut off too much fabric. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  78. Anonymous says:

    Do you have ANY idea how many pairs of jeans I’ve hemmed in my life?? For sure every pair my son ever purchased! Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial!! :)

  79. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I just hemmed a pair of jeans this afternoon, and they look a million times better than the rubbish job I did before. The hem is hardly visible, and the line of the bootleg style is maintained …. unlike before. Thank you SOOOOO much!!

  80. I printed this out and got my grandmother to hemm my jeans this way for me! I don’t have a sewing machine :/ could I do this by hand?

  81. Kendall – I’m sure you could do it by hand, I would just make sure to double up your thread so it’s a little more sturdy!

  82. just used this method to hem up my hubby’s pants. LOVE it! thanks for the great tute! he will be so impressed!! ;)

  83. Thank you for this tutorial! I’m only 5′ tall, and finding jeans that fit is near impossible.

  84. Thank you, amazing job! This was the information I required.

  85. Oh my goodness! I cannot thank you enough! I read your post, ran and got the sewing machine and tada! My jeans are wearable for Thanksgiving weekend! And they look amazing!!! Tons of hugs going your way!!! BY

  86. My first sewing project and it turned out great! Only problem I had was accidentally sewing the leg closed on my first try (easily remedied). My point is, your instructions were so great that even a dummy like myself could understand your tutorial! Thanks so much! lOl!

  87. Thank you!!! Read this a while ago, but did it twice today! I am tall and always envied short girls who can find pants to fit and only have to hem. Found two great pairs of very long jeans at a thrift store, so this was my chance to do this for the first time. Perfect! My son could not even see the seam – he could not understand what I had done until I showed him the inside.
    Thank you for sharing! You are a genius!

  88. Thanks for the tip! It worked great! I bought a pair of $80 herring bone pants for $20 but they were too long. You can’t even tell that they are hemmed. Great tutorial! The pics really helped.

  89. Such a great post!! Does this method also work for hemming skinny jeans?

  90. My daughter needed her jeans shortened. She said her stepmom did her daughters some way it did not show & still had the orginal seam I googled it & found yours to be the easiest way. Took me about 20 min of my time Very easy. THANKS!!!!

  91. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much! Saved me a $15 trip to the tailors, which would have cost just as much as my jeans.

    If you ever have the time, could you post a follow up tutorial on how to cut out the extra part of the jeans if it’s too long? I know in this tutorial you mentioned it but it would help immensely if you included some pictures on how to sew/cut it.

    Either way, thanks for sharing!

  92. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the easy-to-follow guide! I usually have the opposite problem, jeans which are too short, but I just found a pair on the cheap that were perfect besides being way too long. I took them up to where they needed to be and they look great :)

  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. I really love your blog. You are a wonderful teacher. Thanks for making seemingly hard sewing tasks simple. I have learned so much from you. You are my go to site for all things sewing.
    Thanks!
    Melissa from Colorado :-)

  95. What do I do if the hem of the jeans is smaller in circumference than the jean fabric around the thigh (where I cut the fabric)? The fabric is bunching up “inside” the hem (I just have them pinned right now). What can I do?

  96. Liz – If you’re getting a lot of bunching, this technique may not be the best for your pair of jeans. Are you making your jeans into shorts? To compensate for the difference, you would need to take in the side seam (outer would be best as you won’t have to unpick topstitching)so that it’s closer in circumference to the hem.

  97. I just picked up a couple pairs of amazing Levi’s at the local thrift. My usual problem of too long jeans. Def trying this. Any tips for those of us who have no sewing machine?

  98. I have a pair of jeans that were hemmed this way professionally. Unfortunately, within six months the hemmed up fabric left a white line at the top of the hem. Any way to avoid that happening, now that I’ve returned to sewing and hem my own pants and jeans?

  99. This is an absolutely fabulous idea…..this technique however will only work with straight leg jeans. If you bring up a part of the pant leg that is flared, the inside hidden hem won’t lie flat and can look bulky. Love the idea though! :-)

  100. Anonymous says:

    This is my FIRST project with my sewing machine…and it turned out great!! Great tutorial!! Thank you!

  101. Thank you, thank you, thank you

  102. Thanks Much!!!! This is saving me lots of money

  103. Thank for the info, great Blog,,, it really helps. great job!

    http://jandkretailer.webs.com/

  104. After reviewing several “how to” hem jeans tutorials, yours has proven to be the clearest and simplest to follow! Thanks for the help! The jeans (which have been in my sewing pile for months due to fear of messing them up)are now hemmed beautifully!

  105. Merci beaucoup pour ce tuto !!! Grâce à vous, je fais des ourlets à tous nos pantalons pour le plus grand plaisir de tout ma famille ! J’adore tout ce que vous faites, votre blog est un bonheur à lire !

  106. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I am short and almost never find a pair of jeans that fit properly. Now I do!!

  107. Have used this tutorial to hem my jeans/jog pants many times All been OK, now my daughters/grandchildren have found me out, looks like an going part of my D.I.Y Jobs

    No problem great tutorial

    Cheers

    DaveM

  108. THIS IS GREAT! Just did this on a new pair of jeans and I can’t believe it was so easy! Start to finish was less than 30 minutes too! Thank you!!!

  109. Pat Berteotti says:

    Wow, I just shortened a pair of my jeans that I have been rolling up. They turned out wonderful!!! I have one leg that is .5 inch shorter than the other and I even accommodated for the shorter leg. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. Blessings.

  110. I just started sewing and this is a great tutorial and one of the first things I’m going to try! I do have one question…why are you taking the measurement and dividing it by 2? I mean, why did you only sew 1″ hem when you first rolled up your pants 2″? I don’t quite understand how that works out. Thanks for your help, keep posting.

    • I know it’s a little hard to imagine how it will work out, but it will! Since you’ll be sewing a “flap” with two sides, you have to divide the measurement by two. I promise it will work out!

  111. Question: I want to take about ten inches off the length off an 80′s Gatsby-style cocktail dress to make it a mini for my daughter, but it has about three inches of fringe attached to a velvet ribbon at the hem. The fabric is a thin burnout velvet, and the lining is only attached at two places at the bottom. Do you think this original hem method would work for my project? I would just cut the lining and hem it in the traditional way, and I know I would need to cut out the five inches of ‘flap’ inside. Is this the best way to undertake this shortening?

  112. Awesome! I have seen this done, but your instructions make it so much more clear to me. Thank you for posting this. I’ve always hemmed the old fashioned way, and paid for tailors to hem my designer jeans when I want to keep the original hem. Duh!! Sharing on Pinterest, Facebook etc… You rock!

  113. Thank you! Worked like a charm!

  114. This is a very good tutorial! Thank you. You are brilliant!

  115. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I tried other technique, the onewhere you cut hem with some fabric and then sew it at desired length. But it was so hard to match side seams! And this one is so easy, just finished hemming my Tory Burch jeans. I took hem length into account though. Thanks again for the wonderful tutorial, it’s always not only about the idea how to do stuff, but also about the way it’s presented. Pictures and instructions are done perfectly!

  116. Just tried this out – LOVE it. I’ve had two pairs of jeans that I always have to roll up to wear, and I always felt weird about how unpolished it looked. I just felt goofy, especially going to work at a clothing store, not having jeans that properly fit.

    Now they do! ^_^

  117. Thanks for sharing this. Tried it on my new boot cut jean and it worked like magic. Easier than cutting and stitching new hem and also retains the funky edge of original hem. Can’t thank you enough :)

  118. You can also learn the European method and avoid the extra fold inside the bottom of the leg.

  119. Mea Pierce says:

    Love this! Have hated to hem and the look of cut/hem jeans for years. Just tried this one with a need to shorten by 2.5″, folded to 1.25″ and followed the instructions. Looks really good, have not worn to eee how the fold under feels yet but so far so good. I may tack the fold up to the seams since it is 1.25″. Thanks for sharing this one.

Trackbacks

  1. […] super short, even the shortest lengths are too long for me, so i’ve learned to hem.  i use this awesome tutorial from sewmuchado.com for keeping the original hem and it’s way easier than cutting everything […]

  2. […] I find it easiest to hem those by hand with a blind hem.  And if you are hemming jeans, there is an incredibly easy way to hem them and keep the stitching of the original hems […]

  3. […] I saw this pin for hemming jeans without losing the original hem from sewmuchado.com, I was pretty stoked. The tutorial itself seemed pretty darn simple so this week when I found […]

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