How to Hem Dress Pants

Two Parts:Pinning the hemSewing the hem

Hemming dress pants requires a basic knowledge of a sewing machine, basting, measuring and inspecting.

Part 1
Pinning the hem

  1. 1
    Using a tape measure, measure and mark with a white fabric pencil the length you would like the dress pants to be. It is preferable to have the person who needs the pants altered to be wearing them when you are measuring the required length.
  2. 2
    Cut off the current excess hems of the dress pants. Leave enough room to fold halfway to the desired hem length. Cut off any long frays to ensure they don't show after the second folding of the hem to create a tidy hem line.
  3. 3
    Turn the dress pants inside out. Fold the bottom hem halfway towards the desired hem length. Press with an iron.
  4. 4
    While carefully keeping the new hem in place, insert a straight pin directly through the folded hem. You will need to insert the end of the straight pin back up so that it is now showing through to the inside of the dress pant hem. Ensure that when you pin the hem, it gathers as little as possible. Using only enough pins to hold the hem in place, continue pinning around each hem.

Part 2
Sewing the hem

  1. 1
    Thread a sewing needle. The length of the thread should be roughly the length of your arms, spread out to the sides. Take the end of the thread and insert through the eye of the needle. Gently pull through. Holding the thread you just inserted into the eye of the needle between your fingers, spread your arms out with the other hand holding the spool of thread. Bring your hands together in front of you and snip the thread from the spool.
  2. 2
    With both ends of the thread even with each other, knot the bottom once, leaving roughly an inch or so (around 2.5cm) of thread dangling from the end. This will let you know while you are basting the hem that when you feel resistance, you are near the end of the thread and are ready to make the next basting stitch.
  3. 3
    Baste around each hem. Do this loosely, so that you can remove the these threads by hand afterwards. Make each basting stitch roughly one inch (2.5cm), leaving roughly one inch (2.5cm) between each stitch. Double check before stitching that the hems are even.
  4. 4
    Once each hem has been basted, remove all of the straight pins.
  5. 5
    You are now ready to sew each hem with the sewing machine. Choose the stitch you would like to use and place the hem under the needle. Match the colour of thread on the bobbin and the spool to the colour or complimentary colour of the dress pants. You will be stitching near the top of each folded hem.
  6. 6
    Once you have sewn each hem with the sewing machine, remove the basting. It should come out easily.
  7. 7
    Iron the hems. Fold once more so you can pin and baste the hems once more to the desired length. Iron and sew as in the previous steps. Remove the basting stitches. Press with an iron.


  • Make sure you have enough light to see the details of the stitches.
  • If any of the cut hem becomes frayed, gently snip the frays off using sharp scissors.
  • If possible, have the dress pants measured while the owner of the dress pants is wearing the pants.


  • Make sure you have removed all of the straight pins before you sew with the sewing machine.
  • Make sure that your hems are folded neatly and evenly.

Article Info

Categories: Sewing Pants