Hemming an Article of Clothing by Hand




Sewing machines can be expensive and are not easily transportable. When you want a shirt or pair of pants shortened but do not have access to a sewing machine, you can easily hem the article of clothing by hand. All you need are these tools:


  • Piece of clothing you want hemmed
  • Threaded needle
  • Scissors
  • Washable fabric pencil
  • Pins

Caution: Pins and needle can be very sharp. Be careful when handling.

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Step 1:

Start with the fabric right side out.

Step 2:

Determine how short you want the article of clothing (a ruler is optional).

Step 3:

Mark the desired length on the outside of the piece of clothing with a washable pencil.

Step 4:

Cut any excess fabric if needed.

Step 5:

Fold the fabric at the marked line, toward the inside, and pin to secure. Do this all the way around the garment.

Step 6:

Fold the entire article of clothing inside out, being extremely careful with any pins.

Step 7:

With the piece of clothing inside out, poke the needle from the inside of the fabric to the outside, and pull through till the knot is resting on the inside of the fabric.

Step 8:

Now that the needle is on the outside of the fabric, poke the needle from the outside in, a quarter of an inch from where you started. Pull through until there is no slack thread.

Step 9:

Repeat steps 7-8 until you have stitched around the entire piece of clothing, back to the starting point. Carefully remove the pins as you stitch around.

Step 10:

On the last stitch, poke the needle from the outside of the fabric to the inside.

Step 11:

Create a double knot on the inside of the fabric so it is not seen when wearing the piece of clothing. You should have two knots on the inside of the fabric.

Step 12:

Cut the thread a quarter of an inch away from the knot.

Step 13:

You have now hemmed your piece of clothing by hand!

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    4 Discussions


    1 year ago

    That's a good thing to know how to fix when they wear out :)

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    I agree with you about how expensive and awkward sewing machines can be. I own 2 but it is a pain to get one out for a small task like hemming something. There are too many people who fear hand sewing. It is just like writing--with practice, you get neater and faster. You did a nice job of presenting a useful beginner project to take away some of the scariness.

    1 reply