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How to Hem Pants

Pants too long or too short? Skip the cost of a tailor – hemming your own pants is "sew" easy.


  • Step 1: Let hem out Let out the existing hem with a pair of scissors or a seam ripper.
  • Step 2: Try pants on Try the pants on with the shoes you’ll wear them with. Have a friend help determine the right length and pin the pant legs at your new hemline.
  • Step 3: Fold at pin line Take the pants off, turn them inside out, place them on an ironing board, and fold the bottom at the pin line.
  • Step 4: Measure new hem Measure from the pin to the bottom of the pants; then measure your fold all the way around each leg to make sure it’s the same.
  • TIP: Trim excess material if the hem allowance is more than an inch and a half.
  • Step 5: Iron in new hemline Iron each leg at the pin line and fold the hem allowance in half so the raw end is tucked into the new hem for a more finished look; then iron them again.
  • TIP: Use a dry or damp cloth between the iron and material to protect your pants from a too-hot iron.
  • Step 6: Hem pants Pick a matching thread color and sew an invisible hem by using a loop-type stitch between the hem allowance and pant leg, being careful not to stitch all the way through the pant leg or pull the thread too tight.
  • Step 7: Try pants back on Turn the pants right side out and iron a final time. Double check your hem length by trying on the pants and shoes.
  • FACT: The earliest known sewing needles were made of iron and date to the third century B.C.E.

You Will Need

  • A pair of pants
  • Scissors or a seam ripper
  • Shoes
  • A friend
  • Pins
  • An ironing board
  • Measuring tape
  • An iron
  • Thread
  • A needle
  • A dry or damp cloth (optional)

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