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How to Hem Your Pants 3 Different Ways

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How to hem your pants. Hemming sweatpants and jeans is an easy job. Learn how to do it yourself.I finally decided to work on a boring project. These are the projects that pile up in my sewing area that I never get to because, well… they’re boring. I have never hemmed a pair of pants. And I’ve also never found a pair of jeans that fit me well enough that they didn’t need to be hemmed.

This means that I’ve got three choices:

  1. Find shoes with really big heels
  2. Trip over my pants whenever I’m walking, get the hems soaked in bad weather, drag all that rain water or snow into my home when it’s icky out, and tear up the poor hem from all the wear and tear.
  3. Hem my pants.

I’m 31 and 1/2 years old… and for my entire adult life I’ve chosen either options a or b! And more often than not, I chose b, especially since becoming pregnant then having my son. Some moms can rock big heels while pregnant or carrying a 20 lb baby, but I’m just not that cool or coordinated. Nor do I like clothes or shoes that much to bother. I’ve been wearing jeans (they fit! woo!) or sweatpants… usually sweatpants, yay… since Baby G has been born seeing I’ve been down to working only part time. I wear jeans to work… the benefit to working on Friday nights and Saturdays. But yeah, it’s time to hem. I was stumbling over the hem of my really cute yoga pants that I scored at Goodwill for a 20 min walk yesterday. Now they’re icky. I’m so stupid. I have this sewing machine and sew EVERYTHING else… not sure why hemming my pants is such a big deal.

So this is exciting.

Removing the Old Hem

First try, I was seam ripping my gray sweatpants to redo the hem. This is called a coverstitch and it was the stitch that will never let go. So it took me about an hour to get one pant leg seam ripped. There might be a better way of seam ripping, but I don’t know it.

Hemming sweatpants. Removing the old hem.

I started to use a tutorial for this, then got frustrated so I just did my own thing. I think I had the right idea. It worked out anyways.

Seam ripping the old hem on sweatpants.
Seam ripping… P.I.T.A.

Put the shoes on that you want to wear with your pants…

Pinning where I want the new hem on my pants.
Put on the shoes that you want to wear with your pants. God forbid I ever decide to wear heels again (of course, I don’t think I’ll be wearing heels with the sweatpants, but still).
Creating a new hem.
I tried it this way, but it’s wayyy too hard to pin your own pants while they’re on you. I ended up just pinning on one point- the back of the pants- and then figuring out how many inches from the original hem it was. Then I used a piece of chalk to mark that distance all around my pant legs, added a 1″ seam allowance (my preferred amount), cut the pants at below that, folded over the seam twice so there’d be no edges to fray, and then I used a simple straight stitch with matching thread.
Hemmed sweatpants.
After- similar to pinning your own pants, it’s also difficult to take pictures of the back of one’s own pants while wearing them.

Try #2- Jeans

Hemming jeans with a ripped seam.
This is how bad my jeans were frayed from walking on them. So I needed to get rid of the original hem. Not as nice looking after, but better than frayed.
Cut off the ripped part, assuming the jeans will still be long enough.
Seam ripped here. Then I cut off the extra, folded over the fabric to create a nice new seam, and sewed.
Hemmed jeans.
After picture.

Hemming Pants While Keeping the Original Hem

Yay! There’s a lazy way. This is the tutorial for keeping the original hem. I couldn’t do my jeans like this because my hem was destroyed.

Hemming sweatpants while keeping the original hem.
I top stitched after this picture was taken, but this is it hemmed.
This is all the extra hem. I cut this off and then used a zigzag around the edges to prevent fraying.
Hemmed sweatpants with the original hem.

Using Hem Tape to Hem Your Pants 

I’m lazy so I’ve done this once before to fix part of a hem (but never to correct the whole thing). I don’t have any info on this, but here’s the stuff you can buy. It worked well when I used it. I don’t trust anything that is that easy. Nothing I sew tends to unravel because I go crazy sewing things so they won’t ever rip. You should see me install a button by hand… omg. I never lose buttons. Ever. So hem tape is a great quick easy fix, but I don’t trust that it’ll last as long as sewing it would. BUT it’s also not as permanent so I imagine that if you change your heel height, you could readjust if needed. Not familiar enough with hem tape to be sure.

Buy Your Hem Tape on Amazon

I wore my light gray sweatpants today and it was such a unique experience, not tripping over my pants all the time. It was pretty exciting. I’m not sure why I never did this before!?

Like to fix old clothes? Here are some ways you can make old things new:

New to Sewing? Here’s some beginner tutorials:

How to Hem Sweatpants and Jeans: Three Methods

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Saturday 20th of August 2022

Very good tip! As a woman who is 5'3 I always step on the hems of my pants! I usually don't mind dragging my hems across the ground(as I'm stepping on the hems of my baggy sweatpants rn)but this tip comes in handy thanks!