Tall Mens Fashion Advice

How to Hem Jeans: Step-by-Step Guide

Jeans too long? Learn how to properly hem your jeans here.

How to Hem Jeans

Original Hem

To hem your own jeans mark the new hem line with chalk or pins and fold the original hem up to the new hem line. Mark it with chalk and fold the fabric up to its new position. Measure from the hem to the folded edge and refold the hem approximately 50% of the amount that was previously measured. Lock in the new hem with pins, and use the sewing machine to do a zigzag or serger stitch around the entire circumference of the pant leg. 

This is How to Hem Jeans: Step-by-Step Guide.

The length of your jeans should be long enough so that it comes to rest gently on the top of your shoe. If your jeans are too long there are several ways to shorten them, but the most permanent way is to hem them.

The reason most people don’t hem their own jeans is because it requires the use of a sewing machine. Most people don’t have a sewing machine or don’t know how to sew in the first place. 

If you do not want to sew your own jeans, but still want them hemmed, consider tailoring your jeans at a local alteration shop. A second option is to take them to your local dry cleaner, they often offer altering services. Find out how much does dry cleaning cost and how long does dry cleaning take.

You may also cuff the bottom of your jeans in order to shorten the length. Some of most popular types of cuff include with single cuff, double cuff, and skinny cuff. 

Shrinking your jeans in the washing machine and dryer may also shorten your pants enough so that you don’t need to hem them. 

Learn how to hem other pants in your closet.

Continue reading to learn how to hem jeans, how to cuff jeans and how to shrink jeans.

How to Hem Jeans

If your jeans are too long and you want to make them shorter, read our detailed instructions below and learn how to properly hem your jeans. 

  1. Lay the jeans on a flat surface.
  2. Use chalk or pins to mark the new hem line
  3. Fold the original hem at the bottom of your pants upwards to the new hem line. 
  4. Once again, use chalk or pins to mark a new line that is the same as/equal to the current hem height
  5. Adjust the hem and fold it up to its new position.
  6. Use a measuring tape to take a measurement from the hem to the new folded edge. 
  7. Refold the hem. Refold approximately 50% the amount that was previously measured.
  8. Use pins to lock the new hem in place. 
  9. Use a sewing machine to stitch the new hem around the entire circumference of the leg’s end. Make sure to stitch the new hem as best as you possibly can. 
  10. Cut the excess denim off the bottom of the jeans. 
  11. Use a serger stitch or a zigzag stitch to finish off the new hem.

How to Hem Jeans: Tips

  • Sew a basting stitch at the point at which you want the hem to be turned up.
  • Iron the hem up using the basting stitch as a guide.
  • Fold the raw edge to the fold.
  • Sew the hem from the right side of the fabric to give you a more even finish.
  • Pull out your basting stitch by pulling gently.

Hemming Alternatives

If you would like to shorten the length of your jeans but do not have access to a sewing machine, there are still two effective methods you can use. 

Continue reading below to learn how to cuff jeans, as well as how to shrink jeans

By keeping the original hem, you preserve the look of the denim with all it’s unique distressed and washed out features. Furthermore, you keep the contrasting thread color from the original hem."

1. Cuff your Jeans

Cuffing the bottom of your jeans is a great way to shorten the length of your jeans, while also looking stylish. 

The single cuff, double cuff, and skinny cuff are three of the most popular ways to cuff the bottom hem of jeans. The bottom of your jeans should sit at the top of your shoe, so the type of cuff you choose to use, while mostly depend on the length of your jeans.

Read our article how to cuff jeans to learn more about these cuffing methods and more. 

2. Shrink your Jeans

Jeans have a good ability to shrink, since denim is made out of 100% cotton fibers, and cotton is very prone to shrinkage. Using the washing machine and dryer is the most convenient and effective way to shrink jeans. Read more into how to use a dryer properly so you can best shrink your jeans in the dryer.

Turn your jeans inside out and place them into the washing machine on the hottest water temperature setting possible. Run the cycle and then move the jeans into the dryer. Tumble dry your jeans on tumble dry high, checking periodically until your desired level of shrinkage has been reached. The tumble dry low setting will not be hot enough, keep this in mind.

If your jeans are sufficiently shrunk then you can dry them without a dryer. It’s best to do this by line drying or laying your jeans flat to dry (dry flat.)

Hang your jeans or fold them to properly store them until ready to wear.

Read our complete step-by-step guide on how to shrink jeans to answer any questions your may have.

How to Hem Jeans FAQ

Hemming jeans properly requires the use of a sewing machine, which is not the easiest thing to do. If you are looking to shorten the length of your jeans easily, then you should look to cuff or roll the bottom of your jeans. Try using the single cuff, double cuff, skinny cuff, or the pin roll method.

Written and reviewed by
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
Paul Marlow, standing at an impressive 6'7 (201cm) and weighing 225lb (102kg), is a mental health speaker, fashion expert, and ex-athlete who excels at helping tall men find well-fitting clothing and teaching them how to style it effectively. As a model in the fashion and film industries, Paul shares his expertise in tall men's fashion, offering valuable advice on measurements, tailoring, and alterations. In addition, he founded Never Alone, an organization that provides mental health and therapy inspiration, and started the Mental Growth Newsletter to support those facing mental health challenges, drawing from his own experiences.

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