How to Hem Pants With Sewing Machine

Three Methods:Measuring the AdjustmentsCutting the PantsSewing the Hem

There's no need to take your long pants to the seamstress. You can hem those legs on your own with a sewing machine. If you have access to a sewing machine, it'll take you no time to create the perfect hem. Practice on a few pairs of pants, and then offer to hem your friends pants. Practice makes perfect.

Method 1
Measuring the Adjustments

  1. 1
    Measure for someone else. Have them wear the garment. They should stand on a step stool or an elevated surface to help you gauge the length. Ask the person approximately how high they would like the new hem to be. Fold it on the outside, do not tuck it into leg, and ask them to confirm the length.The wearer can now remove the pants and give them to you.
  2. 2
    Measure on yourself. You can roll the pants up to the desired length gradually with one fold. Make sure to stand up straight when pulling up the fold to make sure it sits at the proper length. You can now remove them.[1]
  3. 3
    Compare to another pair of pants. If you have a pair of pants that fits you perfectly, use that pair as a model for the pants in question. Lay out the pants you're planning to hem, and then lay your ideal pants directly on top of them. This should show you the excess of the pants you need to remove.
  4. 4
    Mark the length. Use a piece of chalk to mark the location you want hemmed. Make sure that the pants are unfolded and you create a clear mark on each leg. Measuring from the previously-made line, measure and mark three lines at 1/2-inch intervals. There should now be four white chalk lines going down to the edge of the pants.[2]
    • Typically, hems will be about 1/2 an inch wide, so use 1 1/2" of fabric below the new hem to make a clean edge.
    • Make sure the lines are even on both legs.
  5. 5
    Measure by ironing. Once you've decided on the length, fold your pants to the desired hem. Iron the crease of the desired fold. Take a piece of chalk or a pencil and mark the halfway mark. This is the halfway mark between the edge of the fold and the crease. Unfold the leg and mark the crease if you want. The ironed crease should be bold enough to see. [3]
  6. 6
    Use a ruler. To perfect a clean line to guide your scissors, use a ruler. Make sure you position the ruler's edge to the mark.

Method 2
Cutting the Pants

  1. 1
    Get your scissors out. If you don't have sewing scissors, consider buying a pair. You can also use your regular everyday scissors, but it is easier to use a sharp pair.[4]
  2. 2
    Start at the bottom. Cut the line closest to the bottom first. Be patient and avoid cutting fast. This will create messy zig-zags instead of a neat edge. Creating multiple lines isn't necessary, but it helps with your accuracy.
  3. 3
    Use pins. Pins are the perfect tool for cutting adjustments to your clothing. Stretch the width of each leg out and use pins to hold them. This will create a tension in the legs that will make them easier to cut.[5]
  4. 4
    Cut till the middle line. Cut the following lines above your initial cut until you reach the line under the top line. Focus on one leg at a time. Don't cut the topmost line or crease. This line marks where your pants will be hemmed.
  5. 5
    Cut loose threads. Use your scissors to cut any loose threads that got left behind. You might need to repeat this step near the end or after you wash the pants.

Method 3
Sewing the Hem

  1. 1
    Fold the pants inside out. Fold the pants so that the outside of the pants are facing out. You should be able to see the inner seam. This will make it easier to sew the hem. You could simply fold the legs inside out without doing this to the entire pants.
  2. 2
    Fold the hem. Fold up the hem from the edge up to the top line. Make sure your top line or crease is on the edge of the fold. This edge will be the hem. Make sure the size looks good before you finalize the job.
  3. 3
    Iron the fold. Take your pants onto an ironing board. Wait till the iron is fully heated. Then iron the fold down. This will create a professional fold and ensure that you don't have any uneven lines.[6]
  4. 4
    Load your sewing machine. Load the bobbin with the thread of your choice. You can use matching thread to blend in, or a contrasting color, like the gold thread used on most denim jeans.
  5. 5
    Set your machine. For a simple hem set your machine for a straight stitching, or a small or medium straight thread.[7]
  6. 6
    Begin stitching. Make sure you position your pant leg so the machine only stitches the hem and not the leg's opening together. Sew about 1/8 inch from the top of the hem. Continue sewing in a straight line around the circumference of the leg.[8]
  7. 7
    Repeat on the other leg. Follow the same steps on the other leg. Don't forget to iron the seam on the opposite leg and compare the length with the finished leg. This is your last chance to fix any irregularities in the length.


  • Always remember to pin. Pinning is your best friend.
  • Be patient with yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing Machine
  • Dress pins
  • Pants
  • Iron
  • Chalk or a pencil

Article Info

Categories: Sewing Clothes