Skip to main content

How to Sew a Hem

Sure, you can always use iron-on hem tape to shorten those pants, but maybe it’s time to join the 35 million Americans who can sew—yes, with a needle and thread—a hem.


  • Step 1: Remove the original hem using a seam ripper.
  • Step 2: Put on the garment, with shoes, and fold it under to the desired length. Use a floor-length mirror to make sure the new hem is an equal distance from the floor.
  • TIP: Garments should always be washed and dried before hemming to reduce shrinking.
  • Step 3: Pin the hem into place.
  • Step 4: Take the pants off, being careful of the straight pins, and turn them inside out.
  • Step 5: Iron the pinned hem to create a crease, and then remove the pins.
  • Step 6: Turn the extra fabric in to meet at the crease and pin it in place.
  • TIP: If the extra fabric is longer than two inches, trim to two inches before folding it.
  • Step 7: Try on the garment one more time to make sure the pinned hems are even. Make any adjustments at this point.
  • Step 8: Hand-sew the top of the hem, using small stitches all the way around.
  • FACT: The first sewing needles were made out of bone approximately 17,000 years ago.

You Will Need

  • A seam ripper
  • A floor-length mirror
  • Straight pins
  • An iron
  • A sewing needle
  • Thread

Popular Categories