Imagine this: you’re going shopping, and you spot the perfect pair of pants lining the clearance rack. They’re your size, at least so far as the tag’s concerned, and just the color you’ve been missing from your wardrobe.
Sadly, there’s no fitting room. All sales are final. You know the pants won’t be there when you return. So, you make the investment.
You get the pants home and put them on. To your utter dismay, they’re too long. Now what? Will you have to fight the store’s return policy?
Not necessarily! If you know how to hem pants, you can save yourself time, trouble, and money.
Don’t have any sewing experience? Not a problem! Our step by step guide for hemming pants will show you what to do!
How to Hem Pants By Hand
If you’re not fortunate enough to have a sewing machine verified by good Sewing Machine Reviews, or at all, you’re not out of luck. Hemming pants by hand can be a straightforward process, once you know what you’re looking at.
First, Gather Your Materials
Before you begin hemming pants by hand, you’ll need certain materials. These materials include, but are not limited to:
- A seam ripper
- A needle
- A thread of a similar color to that used on the pants
- An iron and ironing board
- Fabric scissors
- Chalk or a washable pen
- A ruler and tape measure
Once you have your materials, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Second, Remove the Original Hem
This is where you’ll use your seam ripper. Look on the inside of the pants legs for the original hem. Once you find it, cut it open on both legs. This will also give you the chance to see what color thread will work best for your new hem.
After the original hem comes out, you’ll want to iron the pants so that any potential creases are eliminated.
Third, Find Your Personal Hem
Before you start sewing the hem, you need to find where your new hem rests. There are many ways you can do this. Many sewing guides recommend measuring your inseam.
Your inseam is the distance from your crotch area to where you like your pants to rest. If you want your pants to rest near your ankle, that’s where you should measure. If you prefer pants that skim the tops of your shoes, measure to the top of your feet.
If you’d rather not mess with all that measuring, you can put the pants on and fold or roll them in until you find your preferred length.
Fourth, Stick a Pin in It
For this part of the process, you may want to have a friend or family member help you out. If you’re working solo, stick a pin in the front side of the pants to hold your new hem fold in place. You can copy the measurements of it to the other side later.
However, if you want to save yourself a step, you can have a friend pin the hem in place for you. Then, they can go around the leg, sticking pins in the hem fold to make sure it’s even and stays in place.
Fifth, Make Your Mark
Once your hem gets secured in place, measure two inches above your fold. Then, mark using your pen or chalk around both pants legs.
If you’re trying to do this yourself, you’ll want to remove the pants after you pin the hem. Otherwise, the marks may not be steady. If you have help, just make sure they can keep a steady hand while marking the fabric.
Sixth, Ditch the Excess Fabric
After this point, you’ll need the pants off so you can work, whether you have an assistant or not. Once you have your pants spread on a flat surface, It’s time to grab your fabric scissors. Just make sure no one steals them for cutting paper!
Then, cut along the marks you just made. This will get rid of the extra fabric.
If you did these steps to one leg at a time, repeat steps 2-6 on the other leg. If you’re working on both legs at once, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Seventh, Flip Everything Topsy Turvy
Unpin the hems and roll them back down on both pants legs. Then, turn your pants inside out. This will let you see what you’re doing.
The last thing you want when shortening pants is to end up with uneven hems or stitching!
Eighth, Crease Your Hems
Fold your pants legs back up two inches so you can iron your hems in place. Press the fabric on all sides until there’s a defined, solid crease. This will hold your hem in place even without needing pins.
Take the top of this hem and roll a quarter-inch of fabric underneath. Then, press this secondary fold so that it remains in place.
Ninth, Get to Sewing
Thread your needle with the color thread you want to use, then stitch the top part of your hem together to hold it secure.
“But wait, I don’t know how to hem pants! I don’t know what stitches to use!”, you might interject. No worries! We recommend using a standard hemming stitch, like a slip or blind stitch to hold things together. Once you have one leg sewn, repeat the process on the other.
Congratulations! You now have a pair of well-hemmed pants!
Time to Review!
Knowing how to hem pants is a skill that everyone should learn. It can save your wallet and fashion in minutes. Once you have the process down, you’ll never again find yourself rushing to make returns on pants that are too long for you.
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