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Learn how to sew a new hem on your jeans when they are too long for your height or the shoes you wear with them.
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Have you noticed that jeans, at least “premium” jeans, these days don’t seem to be made for people of a normal height? Maybe I’m supposed to wear heels with my jeans every day, but I don’t. I’m not going to. I never will.
It’s not that I’m short — 5 foot 6 — but most all of my pants are at least an inch too long, and one pair I bought online is so long it still drags the ground even when I wear my highest heels (which are boots, but still).
I usually try to remember to fold up the hem of my jeans, but it doesn’t always happen, meaning that I’m walking on the cuff, dragging it along under my shoe.
I love this pair of jeans — they’re from Seven for All Mankind, probably the first “nice” pants I bought after I had my daughter.
So I definitely wanted to salvage them, and in this case the torn-up hem wasn’t a bad thing, because I could cut it off and when I hemmed them again they’d be the right length.
I know sewing a hem on your jeans sounds scary, but it’s actually really easy. Let me show you how.
The One Must-Have for Sewing a Hem on Jeans
If you’re going to hem your jeans, there’s really one tool you have to have. Well, two.
A sewing machine with a strong needle, and jean thread.
This special thread is made for sewing on denim. It’s often reinforced polyester and cotton thread for extra strength, and it’s gold colored to match your jeans.
Different brands have slightly different shades, so take your jeans along with you if you shop for this thread in person. The thread I used is a little more golden than the jeans I used it on, but you have to look pretty close to see the difference, and honestly, no one gets that close to my feet.
Preparing to Sew a New Hem
Before you can sew a new hem on your jeans, you need to get rid of the old one. Use sharp scissors to cut as evenly around as you can, removing the old hem.
If your jeans are more than an inch or so too long, try them on first, mark where you want the new hem to be, and trim off most of the excess, leaving enough to fold over for sewing.
If you have more length to play with, you can fold the hem over double, which encloses the raw edge so you won’t have to deal with raveling when you wash your jeans.
I didn’t have that much length so I just folded over once and will trim the inside as needed (doing some zigzag stitching over the raw edge might help, too).
Sew a New Hem on Your Jeans
Fold the raw edge to the back and pin around the leg hole. Make your hem as even as possible around. Repeat on the other side, ensuring your pant legs end up the same length.
Sew the seams using the jeans thread. I used a quarter-inch seam, which is probably what was on your jeans to begin with.
If you have trouble getting even stitches when you sew on denim, increase your tension. You might also need to buy a jeans needle (100/16 or 100/18), which is more heavy-duty than a regular needle for powering through many layers of thick material. My regular needle worked fine, but I probably should replace it soon.
You can also try using a longer stitch length when you sew denim. I used mid-length stitches to match what was already on my jeans.
Now I have jeans that are a little shorter, with hems that aren’t all torn up. How lovely!
Have you ever mended or altered your jeans before? I’d love to hear how it went and if you have any tips.