How To Hem Pants Properly – 3 Ways

Written by , MSc Pratima Ati MSc
Last Updated on

Hemming pants is the horror story of most of our lives. Here’s how the story goes. You find that one pair of jeans that fits perfectly, slides seamlessly up your thighs, and sits beautifully on your hips. That would be an ideal fairytale. Since we do not live in a perfect world, and every story is followed by a ‘but,’ most of us end up having to hem the pants because they are too long and bunch up around the ankles. Thus begin the endless trips to the tailor. If you have a good tailor, great. If not, it’s a rant for another day. So, what if I tell you that you can fix this problem with a simple trick? Follow me through, and we’ll talk about it in a bit.

What Is Hemming?

Jeans, trousers, pants, skirts, and all other bottoms have an inseam, which is essentially the fabric folded at the edge. There is a standard measuring value depending on the type, size, and pattern of the garment. Since we are all of varying heights, for some, the length may fall shorter. However, for most people, it is usually longer. This is why there is a need to learn the hemming technique. Hemming can be done very easily, and there’s a high chance you’ll find all the supplies at home. Let’s see how to do that.

3 Easy Ways To Hem Pants

1. How To Hem Pants By Hand

What You Will Need
  • Needle and thread
  • Paper knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Scissors
  • Iron box/board
  • Safety pins
  1. First, rip off the old inseam of your pants.
  2. Do this with the help of an envelope or a paper knife, which makes it easier to rip the seams than the regular scissors.
  3. Make sure you are being delicate and removing just the thread of the inseam and not the fabric.
  4. Wear usual go-to footwear and then put the pants on. This is to get an estimate of how the jeans will finally look.
  5. Stand in front of the mirror and fold the ends of your pants inwards.
  6. Hover, walk around, and see how it looks. The edges of the pants should not be too short or look shoddy. They should fall neatly over your ankles.
  7. Make sure the folds are symmetrical on both legs after you make final adjustments.
  8. Take a few safety pins and pin along the exact folds.
  9. You can now take the pants off and hem them.
  10. With a measuring tape, check the length of the fold and make sure it is uniform all over and on both legs.
  11. Mark it with a tailor’s chalk, which will be the indicator for hemming them.
  12. Iron along the fold until you see a crease.
  13. Repeat this on the other leg.
  14. Remove the pins and prepare to cut the extra fabric.
  15. Measure another 1.5 inches from below the ironed folding and mark that too.
  16. Trim your pants along the line you just marked below the ironed crease and ensure that it is not very distorted.
  17. Fold along the ironed crease/hemline.
  18. You can now sew the hemline with a needle by leaving a gap of half an inch.
  19. Follow the same procedure for the second leg.
  20. Try the pants on and look for any anomalies.

2. How To Hem Pants With A Sewing Machine

How To Hem Pants With A Sewing Machine
Image: Shutterstock

Hemming your pants with a sewing machine is the easiest and fastest way to go about it.

  1. Make sure the spool is loaded with a thread of the same color as the fabric of your pants.
  2. Set the machine to small or medium stitch.
  3. As we discussed earlier, leave about an inch and a half from the hemline and start stitching.
  4. Follow the circumference until you reach the starting point.
  5. Do the same for the second leg.

3. How To Hem Pants Without A Needle/Thread Or Sewing Machine

How To Hem Pants Without A NeedleThread Or Sewing Machine
Image: Shutterstock

If, for some reason, you do not have a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you can still hem your pants.

The solution is fabric tape.

  1. Open the original inseam and wear your pants.
  2. Fold it and follow the same procedure as stated above for marking your hemline.
  3. With a tailor’s chalk, mark a line all along and trace the hemline.
  4. Trim the excess fabric from an inch and a half below the hemline.
  5. Stick the fabric tape on the inside of your pants, all along the hemline. Remove the lining paper.
  6. Make sure you do this carefully to avoid asymmetry and a funny looking hemline.
  7. Fold the hemline over the fabric tape, following it all along the circumference of the leg.
  8. Repeat this for the other leg.
  9. Place a spare cloth over the hemline and set your iron box to the corresponding heat setting.
  10. Press and iron the hemline. This will help the fabric to stick and stay in place.

Try this out, and let us know how it went. If you are not very confident about hemming, try it on an old pair of jeans or a pair you don’t mind experimenting on. If anything, you’ll end up with an extra pair of ankle length denims. Formal pants are a little tricky and need a little practice. But that’s nothing you can’t manage. Have you tried hemming at home? Do you have any hacks up your sleeve? Let us know by dropping in a text in the comments section below.

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Pratima Ati
Pratima AtiFashion & Lifestyle Writer
Pratima Ati is a postgraduate in International Business from Staffordshire University. After working in Marketing and Business Development for a few years, she jumped ship to pursue two things she loved – fashion and writing.

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