How to Hem Jeans (While Keeping the Original Hem)

How to Hem Jeans (While Keeping the Original Hem)

I am not a tall person. According to my husband, I’m not short, I’m “fun-size!” This means that jeans don’t usually come in the right length for me. I have tried buying the “Petite” sizes but they just don’t fit right – they are usually too short. It seems that I am somewhere in the middle of regular size and “fun-size!”  So I have to buy regular sized jeans and hem them to the right length for me.  In the past, I have hemmed jeans using that special tan colored thread made for top-stitching on denim, but it just doesn’t look the same. I came across this technique for hemming jeans and now this is how I always do it! I find that it is helpful to use a heavy duty needle, but other than that, no special thread or machine is needed. If you have a zipper foot, it is helpful, but not necessary.

step 5

Start by measuring the amount of length that needs to be removed. Fold it up and press it in place  using the steam setting on your iron.  This will give you a nice crease. I like to use a seam gauge to make sure it is even all the way around. step 1

Stitch as close as possible to the original edge. See photo above. This is where the zipper foot will come in handy. It helps you to get really close.

step 6

Turn it to the right side and press well (using a steam iron.)

step 4

(Look closely where the yellow arrow is pointing at the photo above.) As a finishing touch, sew about a 1″ length of top-stitching using matching thread on the front of the leg and the back of the leg just to hold the hem in place.

step 3

Then, on the inseam and outer seam, stitch in the “ditch” using matching thread. This keeps the new hem laying nice even after laundering. It will not be noticeable when you’re wearing the jeans, unless you are really looking for it.

8 thoughts on “How to Hem Jeans (While Keeping the Original Hem)”

  1. that seems neat if you dont have to take in too much, but what about if you have to take them up about 6 inches? wouldnt it be bulky? i’m very inexperienced sewer, and my boyfriend wants me hem new jeans he bought that are much too long…so afraid of messing it up

    1. I think if you need to remove that much of the length, I would just trim away the excess fabric after completing all of the steps. (Maybe leave an inch or so…) I hope this helps!

  2. Oh my gosh thank-you! I have been given some really nice jeans from my tall sister. I’m the “fun-size” sister lol. I’ve been dying to hem them but I had no idea how to do it so the hems still look good and don’t look all hand sewn. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been trying to find a good option for hemming jeans so they’ll still look good. I’m tall but, “tall” jeans can be way too long, while “regular” lengths are always too short. This will be perfect for me to hem my daughter’s jeans, as well, while she grows into the length. Looks like it wouldn’t be too hard to cut the hem out later.

  4. Make sure if you trim the material you leave enough to zigzag the edge .. I trim and didn’t do this .. it . The material frayed Up through the sewed hem .. I had had a terrible mess .. it some time to fix it by hand sewing .

  5. I really liked the way mine turned out. I not only zig zagged but tacked it every 1 1/2” to keep it from bunching up in a poofy mess after washing. It worked on denim, linen and corduroy

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