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Hemming Jeans Like a Pro

Want to easily hem your jeans, keeping the original seam? Originally posted on Fig and Plum's post Hemming Jeans Without Looking Stoopid, Redux was a Word document that had disappeared from Cavaricci's site. I had put up an html version just to make it easier to read a while back. Not everyone has Word and seeing it in your web browser is convenient. I'm reformatting it so I can refer to it more easily and hope it helps you as well.

Make sure to send your thanks to Fig and Plum, a great site to add to your feed reader! I've also made several edits to make the 9 steps more clear. Add your own tips and ask questions in the comments! Have you hemmed your jeans?

Step 1: Make the cuff


Start by making a cuff, like this one. The idea is to have the wear on the hem stitching show. Then figure out how many inches you need to take off.

Step 2: Measure and Pin

Now for the fun stuff! Divide the amount your taking off in 1/2 and place your tape measure or small ruler on the edge of the hem. Measure the same amount all around the hem, and pin in sections to make sure you will take off the same amount all around.

Step 3: Stitch


Place the sewing foot on the edge of the hem, like shown above, and slowly stitch the cuff all the way around. Make sure that it measures the same all the way around.

Step 4: Check your work


Okay, the hard work is all over. The original worn hem and stitching should be visible. If it's not, then it's either time to start over, or it's time to let the pros handle it.

Step 5: Cut the Excess


Push the extra fabric inside upwards if it is a small amount. If it's a huge wad of fabric then grab your scissors and cut off some of the extra fabric, leaving about 3/4" to allow for fraying in the wash.

Step 6: Press Flat


Turn the leg right side out and lay it flat. With your fingertips, press the seam you just created flat.

Step 7: Iron the inside

On the inside of the leg, use your iron to press the extra fabric upwards.

Step 8: Iron the Outside

Then press the outside of the leg until it is nice and flat.

Step 9: Admire your work!

There you have it! Can you tell the difference?

This forum thread on linked to this page with some additional suggestions to ensure an even better hem. "...just line everything up, and every couple of inches, make a stitch through the folded fabric, and then through your jeans (be sure to go vertically so it blends better). Go around a couple times in the same area (1mm apart x 3stitches is the best bet) and then tie them in double, triple, whatever knots, tie very well, and tight, and then snip off your excess. Maybe hit the fabric glue right on the knot to stabilize it." 

If you've ever had a frustrating experience threading your needly, you might like to read 7 ways to effortlessly thread a needle. I'm really glad my sewing machine has a simple needle threader! It seems like a simple thing, though it saves so much frustration when the thread slips out or I need to quickly change it. For basic hand-sewing, these tips are invaluable.

My Favorite Sewing Books




More resources

How to Hem Jeans from Dacia Ray

Hemming Jeans, A Tutorial from Canadian Crafter

Blind Hem Jeans from Burda Style

Reader Comments (20)

Fantastic!! I'm absolutely thrilled with the result. I can barely notice any altering has been done, and I still have my original hem. :o) I'm a novice when it comes to sewing, and I found this method very easy to follow and achieve! Thanks so much.

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

Very cool technique. I've always liked it best if they fit properly off the shelf.

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August 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLes

Thank you, oh thank you, thank you, thank you!! I always have to hem my pants after having bought them from the store, and I usually just remove the excess length, fold once and stitch a straight seam all the way around. Your method is just as easy as that, but the end result is sooo much better! Thanks for sharing :-)

August 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoar (from Norway)

omg this is fantastic, ive just done this and it didnt take long at all, and the result is great.
seen as im young it is the first time i have sewed, and the first time ive used an iron and still the result is great :D
thankyou ever so much =]=]=]=]=]=]=]

September 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterheather


This is so fantastically simple!

November 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This method allows you to unstitch the hem if you get it too short/long, then redue it. You can then trim off the excess inside the pant if it bugs you. Thanks to much !

January 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

THANKS! I have been sewing for over 40 years. I am tiny, under 5 feet. My daughter is even shorter. I have always hemmed jeans by the labor-intensive, cutting and remaking a new hem. It never looked original -always home-made. So even though I am an experienced seamstress, having sewn for theatre productions -this was NEW and exciting! You CAN always teach an old dog NEW tricks!!!

January 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I sew. I have never done a blind hem and I get confused VERY easily. This was -so- easy! My hems came out beautifully! They were even destroyed with huge holes from my heels! I was able to work around it using your directions. You are awesome! Thanks!!!

July 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Thanks for this great tip. I used to wear "longs" but all of a sudden, "longs: are way too - you guessed it - long! I have been sewing for years, but never would have thought to use this method on my own. It was super easy and came out really great. I had to take off 3 inches from a pair of jeans, and it was not too bulky on the bottom. You can't even tell when you look at them that I altered them. They came out perfect!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I loved it! The directions were easy to use and it took me less that 1/2 hour to hem my pants instead of how long it takes when you cut and fold to make an original hem.

September 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

It worked and I love it. I am a beginner in sewing and I did it in less than 1/2 per pair. It is so easy and thanks so much for your help.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnh

Ohhh.. Perfect job ! thanks a lot.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterABRIELLE

Hi, So, If I need to shorten the pants 3 inches, I need to turn up just 1 1/2 inches to start with? Is this correct? I have heard about hemming this way but never tried it. I am doing some jeans for someone else so sure don't want to ruin them , most especially since they are high dollar jeans. But they recommended doing them this way. So, thanks for any additional tips. Vicky

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVicky

That sounds right, Vicky! You can always practice the folding and steps before you do the sewing. Pin it to make sure you get the length right
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October 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian E. Young

Social comments and analytics for this post...

This post was mentioned on Twitter by aoiwowie: @elorg Don't feel bad. I have to hem my pants that don't come in "short" length. It sucks to have inadequate legs. BTW,

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenteruberVU - social comments

In response to are correct. Fold and measure half the amount you want to shorten making sure to measure from the existing hem not including the hem. The reason you measure half is because when it is folded you are looking at half the measurement and the other half is on the other side.

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGayla

Ingenious!!!! What a great tutorial! Thank you so much for posting it!

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Excellent! A friend asked me to hem her jeans and I needed to make sure I was planning on doing it the correct way before actually doing the alteration. Question: is there a special thread for denim that I should have her pick up? Thanks!

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

Loved reading this post, do you also have some sort of newsletter?

February 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbolsas

I bought jeans in Turkey and they were too long in the legs,One minute,said the shopkeeper,our man will fix them and I`ll be back in 15 min.Ok,said I and was wondering how anybody could hem jeans that fast.15 min.later he came back with my new bought jeans and the right lenght and the jeans hem intact.How on earth did he do that? I was intriqued and had a good look when I got back to the hotel.I could not believe it to hem jeans could be that simple.Wonderful. To day I found this page and just done a pair of my husbands jeans and a pair of his black cargos.Thank you very much.

July 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelisa Jones-Brown

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