How to Hem Slacks

While pants for men typically come in sizes that take the waist and inseam length into account, most women's pants are purchased only by the waist size. That means many women need to hem their pants and slacks after bringing them home from the store. Luckily, hemming is an easy skill to learn and requires only a little practice and patience. Here's how to hem slacks so you can avoid paying for alterations and still look neat and stylish.


  1. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 1
    Try on the slacks you need to hem.
    • Put on the same shoes you will wear with those slacks.
  2. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 2
    Ask a friend to put a straight pin in the fabric of one leg at the midpoint of your shoe's heel to measure hems.
    • You may prefer your slacks a little longer or shorter, but take care that the hem does not drag on the ground when you are standing nor ride up above your ankle when seated.
  3. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 3
    Take off the slacks and turn them inside out.
  4. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 4
    Lay out the slacks flat on their side.
    • The zipper should be at one side and the middle of the seat should be at the other side.
    • The leg with the pin in it should be on top.
    • It can be helpful to pin the 2 sides of the waistband together to help keep the pant legs even while you measure hems.
    • Smooth the fabric of both legs from the waist to the existing hem.
  5. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 5
    Mark a straight line using tailor's chalk across the pin in the pant leg, perpendicular to the length of the leg.
  6. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 6
    Use a measuring tape to make new chalk marks 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) below the original mark. This will be your cutting line.
    • Move the top leg slightly to see where the chalked lines intersect the bottom pant leg.
    • Make a small chalk mark at the intersecting lines on the bottom leg.
  7. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 7
    Flip the pants over and chalk the 2 straight lines across the other pant leg.
    • Make sure the fabric is still even at the waist and smoothed out through the leg.
  8. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 8
    Cut a hem in the fabric of each leg at the bottom chalk mark.
    • Use short, even cuts with fabric shears.
  9. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 9
    Pin the fabric.
    • Fold half of the raw fabric in again, press and pin hem at 3 to 4 inch (7.6 to 10.2 cm) intervals.
  10. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 10
    Thread a needle with matching thread and sew the hems.
    • Bring the stitch from the top of the fold to the fabric of the adjacent leg. Pick up only 2 to 3 threads from the fabric of the leg.
    • Keep stitches 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) apart while sewing a hem.
    • Tie off thread with small, short knots.
  11. Image titled Hem Slacks Step 11
    Try the slacks on again in front of a full-length mirror. Make sure the hems are even and smooth.


  • It can be helpful to stand on a small stool when trying on slacks to be hemmed.


  • Stitches that are too far apart can get caught in your heels and tear out. Stitches that are too close together can leave telltale marks on the outside of your pant leg.

Things You'll Need

  • Slacks
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric shears
  • Straight pins
  • Needle
  • Thread to match pants

Article Info

Categories: Sewing Pants