How To Hem Jeans

Two months ago I found a pair of jeans that I loved, but of course were way too long for me. I’m 5’1, so naturally I have a difficult time finding pants that fit my short self! I’ve spent money in the past for a skilled tailor to hem my pants to fit me, and was thinking about paying him a visit when I decided to be bold and attempt to hem them myself. I’ve watched the tailor do it before, and it’s taken them only a few minutes (of course they are a pro and do it for a living). How difficult could hemming my own jeans really be?

So I challenged myself to save a little money and learn how to hem my own jeans. I watched multiple YouTube tutorials and read a few articles online and I was ready to complete the challenge! I’m here to teach you how to hem your own denim jeans (in about 20-30 minutes)! First, gather all of your supplies: sewing machine, denim needle, thread, jeans, tape measure, ruler, seam ruler, chalk pen, scissors, and straight pins.

Next, decide how many inches you need to hem your pants. In my case, I needed 3 inches taken off the bottom.

Next, you want to pin the jeans at your desired length, and try them on. It’s always good to double check before you cut. Once you cut the jeans their is no going back!

Next, you’ll want to take the pins off the jeans. Then, using a ruler and a seam ruler begin marking out the three inches. I went inch by inch making sure that my line was exactly three inches throughout my markings.

Once you’ve marked the three inches you will want to mark another line one inch below the hem line. This will allow a one-inch seam allowance.

Here is the big moment, you cut the first chalk line. You’ll notice you still have a yellow chalk line visible. That is where you will fold the jeans.

Fold the jeans, and begin to pin. Using your seam ruler double check to make sure that your seam allowance is exactly one inch all the way around the pant leg.

This is what your pant leg should look like before you begin to hem.

Begin sewing a straight stitch on the edge of the jean leg. Once you’ve sewn around the pant leg, press the seam using a hot iron and steam. Repeat this step for the other pant leg.

Wear your pants proud knowing that you hemmed your own jeans!

And because I hardly ever share photo’s of our dog, Lola, on Sew Woodsy… here is Lola posing with my hemmed jeans!

*UPDATE–I left the cut jeans raw and did not surge or stitch around them (just wasn’t thinking about it at the time I was hemming my jeans). Yes, the edges have frayed a little bit, BUT it’s not noticeable. This is something I will take into consideration on my next pair of pants I hem!


  1. Awesome tutorial girl! Thanks sharing–maybe I’ll get the guts to try it myself 🙂

  2. Lucky your jeans are too long–mine are always too short, and there’s no getting around that!! 😉
    Those jeans look super cute!! 🙂

  3. I usually hem my kid’s pants keeping the original hem. Also, on my own pants, less scary than cutting them and then having them crooked! I followed a tut like this one: (not my blog, but super helpful fi you want to keep the hem!)

  4. A great explanation. Any beginner could follow your tutorial. However, I am surprised you did nothing to finish the raw edge before you sewed. A couple of options: 1. Press over 1/4″ on raw edge first, then fold over and stitch. 2. Run a zig-zag stitch along raw edge before you press and sew new hem. if you have a serger, serge and sew away! Good job and keep going. After the first 100 hems, it gets easyier!

  5. Great tutorial. I too have to hem my jeans. *sigh*

  6. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are leaving an unfinished edge on your hem. You should add at least 1/2″ more to fold under and have a nice clean finish to the inside of the hem.

  7. Seems very easy! Does the hem fray since you don’t turn it under?

  8. I too have to hem just about any pair of pants I have. One thing I have learned – especially with jeans – wash them at least twice before you hem! The first time I didn’t wash, I had to make them into capris…

    Although a serger is not necessary, they sure make life easier. I got mine off Craig’s list for $100. I highly recommend one, especially if you are going to be hemming clothing a lot.

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