Hemming Jeans the Easy Way

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Introduction: Hemming Jeans the Easy Way

I can't even begin to tell you how many needles I've broken while trying to hem jeans. At one point I was going to don safety glasses to protect my eyes from flying needles! But no more! I thought there has to be a better way and today I will show you just what I do. I consider this my 12 Step Program to Hemming Jeans.

Step 1: Measuring

Start out by measuring from the inner crotch to how many inches long the legs need to be. My husband has short legs and needs his pants to be 27 inches. I need one inch to fold up so I mark 28 inches with a Sharpie.

Step 2: Ruler

Mark straight across with a ruler.

Step 3: Cutting

Cut and save the piece.

Step 4: The 2nd Leg

Use it to measure the second leg, mark and cut it.

Step 5: Serger or Sewing Machine

If the only reason I bought my serger was to hem jeans then it was money well spent! Serge all the way around, just barely trimming. Yes I know it's white thread, and I know I should change it to blue, but I hate changing it and besides who's going to see the inside of Hubby's pants? If you don't have a serger I'm sure you could do a zig-zag stitch using your sewing machine. We just want to stop the fray.

Step 6: Pinning

Remember that extra inch when you measured? Fold the jeans up one inch and pin.

Step 7: Pin All the Way Around

Pin all the way around.

Step 8: Lay Flat

Make sure everything lays flat.

Step 9: Stitching

Use your sewing machine, and with blue thread, stitch all the way around. I like to follow the serger line.

Step 10: Ironing

Iron everything flat.

Step 11: Optional (for Looks)

This step is purely optional but it will look more professional if you do it. Change your thread to gold and, using your sewing machine, sew around about a 1/2 inch from the edge.

Step 12: Backstitching

Because the hem is only doubled over you can even backstitch over the seams, something I could never do if I had them folded up twice without risking a broken/bent/flying needle.

Step 13: Finished

Finished.  After a few washes the hem looks even more authentic, and if you're impatient you can rub sandpaper or a nail file over the hem for that original look.  I'm sure there are a zillion different ways to hem jeans but this is what works for me. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial :)

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    46 Discussions

    Great post! This is how I hem all of my pants made from patterns.

    This is terrible advice. I'm a seamstress, and you should NEVER cut the fabric off any pants you are hemming. For one thing, if the person you are hemming the pants for is still growing, they will be SOL and you'll have to buy an entire new pair of pants. Secondly, it ruins the jeans, and if you mess up the length, you'll be screwed. Instead, remove the original hem, measure the correct length you want to take up, make sure the measurement is accurate all the way around, and sew away. I've hemmed about a hundred pairs of pants. It's not the "easy" way, and it can be time consuming, but you'll be saving yourself a huge headache in the long run.

    3 replies

    I had to laugh at your response on this and am still laughing, but in friendliness. Not picking on you, but my husband has dwarfism in his legs. What do I do with the extra foot of material? LOL

    I hem my sons sweatpants pretty much the same way and use the extra material to make caps for him, they were popular in school for awhile. I don't think it would work for jeans though... You could use them for patches.

    Firstly, my hubby is 51 so the chances of him growing anymore are pretty slim to none.
    Secondly, don't screw up the length, if you measure properly you won't be screwed, as you put it.
    Hemming "about a 100 pairs of pants" doesn't make you an expert and there is more than just your way.

    My dear husband used to repair his work pants with fine steel "parts wire". Sometimes he would fix a long rip, then get machine oil and grease on it. I had to remove the wire before I could wash his pants; then sew it up afterwards.

    Oh my I saw a tip and tried it and it was so nice. You take a hammer or rubber mallet and hit the rolled over jean edges on the hem. It softens the seam and threads and works so much better.

    Will try it that way next time - will save needles, I'm sure.

    This is great - I'll try it with my 1896 Singer flying shuttle sewing machine !

    You will be HORRIFIED at this next disclosure ! I wear black jeans as workwear, and was in a hurry to shorten them one morning. No time to get the sewing machine ready. I turned them inside out, put super glue all around the bottom quarter inch, folded the hem up and held it until it dried ! It worked ! For fabrics, only do it on one surface, though, and for hems the glue has to go all around the hem to stop the feet from catching in the hem when putting them on !

    But my best jeans, I will hem in the way you describe - I promise !

    4 replies

    LOL! Actually my Dad used to use Speed Sew on his jeans! I came in one day and he was sitting on a telephone book with his jeans underneath and I said "What are you doing?" I guess once he spread the gluey stuff on he wanted to make sure it was good and stuck, lol.

    I'm not horrified, at all! LOL! I've been known to use masking tape at times when I needed a hem turned up NOW, and had no time to do it. It's temporary, but gave me time to get a nice hem in the garment, when I wasn't under pressure. Oh, the tricks we come up with, huh? :)

    Goes to show what a logical and resourceful person that you are ! Masking tape sounds a good way to get an accurate positioning to sew them up later !

    Good to hear from you - thanks for your reply !

    Me parece mas practico que de la forma acostumbrada ya que se hace menos gruesa la tela lo voy a intentar así.

    If you still want to "double fold" the hem, I have a tip for getting over the seams. My sewing machine is set up 10 feet from my husbands work bench. After I double fold and pin the hem, I walk over to the work bench, place the seam of the hem in my husbands vice, turn it as tight as I can, wait a couple minutes, take the jeans out of the vice. The seams are flattened and ready to sew! Oh, do one leg, one seam at a time.

    Hey there!! I just have a few comments to your ible,great information in all the posts, yes I am another male that sews, mom's mother was a seamstress in a small western pa town..sewed for everyone in town. she taught me before she passed. I work for a large retailer and need to hem trousers..I got mom's sewing machine.its Montgomery Wards(singer) and its atleast 55yr old and still going.I did try hand sewing but realized the end product buttons need to be on the outside of a shirt,LOL also I replaced a long coat zipper in a winter coat several years back so I have the talent, just need to brush up on it..yes I want to get one of those hem-a-ma-jigs at our local Jo-Ann's..

    Hey there! Just a couple of comments, to your ible, another male here that sews, Grandma was an excellent seamstress and taught me how to sew before she passed on, now I know why she kept a small ball peen hammer around her sewing machine, I did try hand sewing,when I tried to replace buttons on a shirt it's nice to have buttons on the outside of the shirt!!, I did replace a zipper in a coat once also..so that was a feat that my mother never attempted!! LOL great information on all these posts and I want to get one of them hem-a-ma-jigs at our local Jo-Ann's I have trousers that I am walking on and need hemmed up nice..wish me luck!!

    The only thing I would add to this is that you can buy heavy duty "Jean" needles for your sewing machine. They cost a tiny bit extra, but are WAY worth it. With them, and a normal sewing machine, I've been able to hem jeans with no broken needles.

    Yes, I'm a guy who sews. I sew the patches on the girl scout and boy scout uniforms. I hem jeans. I take in clothes that are too big. I even do my own laundry. Deal with it. :)