How To Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

How To Hem Jeans and Keep The Original Seam

Are your jeans too long? Seems to me designers are making jeans for giraffes… not normal women. Don’t get me wrong… I would love to be taller with longer legs… but it’s not going to happen… so I need to shorten my jeans.

My favorite way of hemming jeans is to reuse the existing hem. This way the jeans don’t look home sewn. In fact, with this method, no one will know you hemmed your jeans yourself!

1. Put the jeans on and fold the jean legs up to find the new length. Measure from the bottom folded edge to the bottom edge of the jeans. This is the amount you want to take off.

2. With the jeans still cuffed up, adjust the cuff so that the  distance from the bottom folded edge to the edge of the existing jean hem is HALF the amount you measured in step 1. Measure in several places to make sure the hem is even all the way around.

For example, if you want to take off 3 inches total from your jeans. Cuff up your jeans so that the distance from the bottom folded edge to the inside edge of the existing hem is 1 1/2 inches (half of 3).

3.  Using thread that matches your jeans thread along with a jean sewing machine needle, stitch along the existing stitching line on your jean hem.

4.  Press the extra fabric inside and upwards… inside the pant leg. If you have too much fabric on the fold and you need to cut it off…   then cut it to about 3/4″ from the stitching line.

That’s it!

I found a terrific sewing tutorial for this with really nice photos. I never got a chance to make a video of this… but I’m so glad I discovered this posting.

Please go here to see photos and excellent step by step instructions to hem your jeans => How To Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

Happy Sewing!

Jenny T.

8 Comments on How To Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

    September 28, 2009 at 8:35 pm (8 years ago)

    Jenny ~
    would you do a quick video of this?


  2. monica torrico
    February 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm (8 years ago)

    How do I reuse the existing hem? Why do I have to sew only half of what I have to hem? What do I do with the other half. It says I only have to press it without sewing it? Sorry but I read this several times and I am still confused. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thank you!

    • Jenny T.
      February 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm (8 years ago)

      What you will do is cuff up your jeans so that the cuff is on the OUTSIDE of the jean leg.

      You will end up stitching along the existing seam line of the old bottom hem.

      So, if you want to shorten your jeans 3″ and you cuff up the full 3″… you’re really using up 6″ of fabric. Because if you stitch along the old hem with the jeans cuffed up a full 3″, your jeans will be 6″ shorter.

      If you still can’t picture it, take your jeans and cuff up your jeans a certain amount. Say 4″. Now measure from the seam line of the bottom hem to the waist. Notice how the length of your jeans is NOT 4″ shorter but 8″ shorter.

      So, first fold up your jeans so that you have the length you want. And measure from the bottom folded edge to the stitching line of the pant leg bottom hem. Divide that in half.

      Now re-cuff your jeans so that from the bottom folded edge to the stitching line is that new measurement.

      Then stitch along the stitching line of the old hem. You can cut off all that folded fabric when you’re done.

  3. Jennifer Quilty
    November 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm (7 years ago)

    Could you clarify what you mean in step 3? Stitch along the existing stitching line? Does that mean that I’m not stitching all the way around? Thank you for your help. Sorry if I’m a little dense on this one!

  4. Josee Perez
    November 12, 2011 at 3:27 am (6 years ago)

    I am a new member, i would have liked pictures and or diagrams.

    • Linda Berkheimer
      April 7, 2015 at 6:02 pm (3 years ago)

      If you click on the link above, How To Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem it has step by step pictures of how to do this.

  5. Donna
    April 7, 2015 at 6:47 am (3 years ago)

    I sew jeans like this as well but it will only work with strait leg jeans, you mentioned manually sewing over the heavy part of the jean, this is an idea that worked for me I pounded down the heavy part with a hammer and it flattens out and you can sew right over the area, hope this of some use. Donna

  6. Mel
    April 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm (3 years ago)

    Still a little confused, a video would really be great. Thanks


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