How to hem jeans

I have so few pairs of pants that fit anymore (but not much budget for new ones), so I was really excited when I found this pair of Zara jeans at a consignment shop for $14.

Just one problem. They were a tad too long.

But I bought them anyway, because I learned a few years ago that even someone as impatient as I am with sewing can hem their own jeans in less than half an hour for a cost of nothing.

See? This is an old pair of jeans that I hemmed myself.

When you look closely you can see the little line of not-so-expertly-sewn blue stitches. But I doubt anyone is going to bend over and examine your cuffs that closely.

So yeah. There are many ways to hem jeans. This is just how I do it.

First you put on the jeans so you can figure out where on your leg you want the bottoms to hit. Then you start folding the fabric, kind of pushing it up inside itself so that the new fold meets the little stitch line of the original hem.

Once you have both sides looking right, pin them all the way around.

Now, carefully, take the jeans off. The place where you folded the new hem will probably seem a little thick. So you want to iron it nice and flat.

Now you’re ready to sew. Choose a thread that matches the jeans as closely as possible. In my case, they were so dark I went with black.

You want to line up the new fold with the old hem as closely as possible so that you can still see the original hem stitches, but there is no space between them and the fold. Leave about an 1/8-inch space between the fold and your new stitches. It’s pretty simple. Just sew a straight line all around.

You’ll probably have to speed up your machine as you go over the bumps on the sides of the jeans.

Inside, you will see the fold, but outside no one will know it’s there.

The only time it’s an issue is if you want to roll up your cuffs, say to wear them with rain boots. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. You can also press this fold from the inside if you want it to lay a little flatter.


Top-secret hem line. Shhhh.

Oh, and one more thing. With most jeans the bottoms are a little bit wider around than the few inches above, so you may have to pinch your fabric a little to get it to line up correctly. This is no big deal. You just sew over it.

Voila, jeans that fit like they were made for you.