Have you ever been stuck in the pants department, trying to decide between buying a pair of pants that is way too long or a pair of pants that is just a little bit short? You might not have to stress about such a decision when you know you can hem your pants longer after you take them home. While it isn't possible to do this with all pants, some have enough fabric in the hem that you can easily lengthen them a couple of centimeters without having to go up in size. If you know how to hem your pants properly, you'll be able to save time and money as you get a perfect fit every time.
If you find yourself holding a pair of pants that fits perfectly but the inseam is too short, take a couple of minutes to look at the hem. Flip the bottom of your pant leg inside out and see how much fabric you have in your hem. If you're looking at a pair of jeans, you will probably discover that there isn’t much fabric in the hem. However, dress pants often have at least an inch or two of fabric to spare. If the hem is rolled under (which means no rough edges are showing), you may have even more fabric to work with. This type of pant can usually be hemmed longer. Also, take a look at the care tag to see what type of fabric you're working with; a sturdy cotton or wool will look fine after re-hemming, but delicate fabrics like silk may scar or rip as you tear out the old hem.
Once you have taken your pants home, use a sharp seam ripper to take out your old hem. Unroll the hem and press it flat. You may not get the old hem crease out on the first try. As long as your garment is not dry clean only, you can mist it lightly with some water before you iron to help release the old crease line. If it doesn’t come completely out the first time, let your pants sit for half an hour and then try again. Once the old hem is removed, you can put your pants on and measure for a new hem. Remember that your hem should pool slightly on the top of your shoe and rest about halfway down the back of your heel.
Mark your new hem with any fabric-marking tool. Pins are a great non-permanent way to mark your hem, but can leave holes in delicate fabric. You can also use tailor’s chalk or marking pencils to note where the new hem should fall. Once you have your new hemline marked, you can roll up the fabric and press it into place. Be sure that your hem is the same width all the way around. You can use the help of a seam gauge to double-check your work. Finally, you can stitch your hem in place. Remember to take your time and keep the outside of your pant leg visible so you can ensure that your topstitching looks perfect.