Picture of Awesome Jean Shortening Technique
This instructable is to show you how to shorten your jeans without changing the look of the jeans. I have short legs and it is very difficult to find jeans short enough to fit and this is how I modify them.

This instructable assumes that you understand basic sewing concepts.

Sewing tools required:
-scissors (good sewing scissors that can cut denim),
-a straight edge ruler
-marking tool (tailors chalk, or sewing marker - a regular pencil/pen can work too)
-seam ripper
-sewing machine with heavy duty needle (size 16, 18 or a denim needle)

Step 1: Determine desired length

Picture of Determine desired length
The first thing to do is determine how long you want your pants to be. Put the jeans on and wear the shoes you will likely wear with the pants so you don't make them too long or short.

I have turned the extra fabric to the inside. I placed a pin at the outside and inside seams of each leg to mark the length I want. Be sure you do this to both pant legs.

Take the jeans off. At this point you need to determine the line you will cut to shorten the jeans. Lay the pants out flat. Compare the insides of each leg. If your pins aren't exactly aligned, place a new pin half way between the original pin on both pant legs to find the average desired length.

Compare the outside leg seams in the same way, adjusting the pins to find the average.
niftyneedler7 months ago

Extremely clever!!! Saving you for future reference!!!

andrew.kreuer7 months ago
There are much easier ways to do this. Fold the pants up half the length you want to shorten minus the hem, Sew just above the hem in blue thread and then cut off the remainder. Simple and looks like professional.
erohloff1 year ago
Really Nice instructions but Why would one want to go to all this trouble just to have a hem look like it wasn't hemmed? So people look that carefully at a pant leg?
momlady74 years ago
Thank You! I'm too short for average, too tall for petite... this is perfect! Now, if I can just find enough time around kids, school, art, :) Heck, I'm worth it.
adelhid5 years ago
Nice job!
vaggelas5 years ago
 yes great technique,
i don't think its necessary to rip the old hem at the finishing too,
if you rip them you have to find the same yarn used for the outer sewing in the jean,and sometimes this is not easy.
i think maybe its better if you rip the secret sewing in the side of the leg of the jean a few inches kai you do the same in the cutted finishing and then sew them together.Then you just sew the hidden side again with any colour of yarn you have,cause is hidden and won't make a difference.
This way(if you rip the side),it will fit perfectly,because elseway if you fold the cutted finishing over the jean,it won't fit 100% right
This happens cause it's usually exactly the same width,and when you fold two round clothes with the exaclty same width,the inner part wrinkles/folds a little.
socalgrl6 years ago
presser foot question: in the 5th step, image #3 (I think) You show a close-up view of the final sewing phase. Your presser foot looks unique. Is this a stepped foot or something like that? BTW: folding up the seam allowance into the existing hem is brilliant! Thanx!
antibromide (author)  socalgrl6 years ago
I keep the Blind Hem foot on my machine for all my sewing. It is just personal preference - the shape of the foot seems to work best for most of the fabric I sew. And, thanks! :)
lberry15526 years ago
I have read about this in other sewing books, but it never made sense before - The pictures really help me to understand and your step by step is great! thanks for a great Instructable.
Very nice instructable.
Bitsi6 years ago
In step 3, you advise ripping out the old hem. And then in the last step, you sew it up again. I can't figure out why. Why not leave the old hem intact? (That's how I do it)
antibromide (author)  Bitsi6 years ago
I tuck the raw edges inside the hem and re-sew it for a clean seam finish. I just added one more picture to the last step to show the inside of the pant leg so you can see how looks with this technique. This way you don't have extra bulk at the bottom edge with an extra seam finish.
Ah. That makes sense. Thanks.
seamster6 years ago
Hey, now this is my kind of stuff! Great instructable. I'm not necessarily a short-legged person, but I've been doing basically the same thing for years to modify second-hand pants. Good work! What kind of machine is that you have?
antibromide (author)  seamster6 years ago
Thank you! I have a commercial grade Singer machine (CG-550 specifically).
wow! this is such a great idea. never would've thought of doing that to make them not looked "shortened". great job!
antibromide (author)  Brock Samson6 years ago
Thank you!
Ninzerbean6 years ago
Wonderful! Thank you ever so much.
antibromide (author)  Ninzerbean6 years ago
I'm glad you like it!
foobear6 years ago
reusing the original hem is brilliant! It does not look "hemmed".
antibromide (author)  foobear6 years ago
It is so great to be able to shorten my pants so they fit right and don't look like they were altered. I'm glad you like my Instructable!
kcli6 years ago
Great instructable! You don't know how many sewing machine needles I have broken (or shades of orange thread I've purchased) in trying to shorten a pair of jeans. This makes so much sense! (Last week a coworker told me their tailor was going to charge $24 for this technique) Thanks for sharing!
antibromide (author)  kcli6 years ago
Thanks! I was excited when I figured out how to shorten my pants this way. Good luck if you try this for yourself!
caitlinsdad6 years ago
Hmmm, this is an open seam hem transplant. Dr. Jeanvik would be proud. The missus always had a tough time finding the right jeans since most stores did away with the petite section.
antibromide (author)  caitlinsdad6 years ago
My pants are always too long too. I hope this helps!