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How to Hem Pants Shorter

measuring tape

Store-bought clothes are great, but they don’t always fit perfectly. For example, you might purchase some pants that fit you great around your waist and hips, but are far too long. You can take your pants to a tailor, but it's not hard to hem your pants shorter on your own without spending the extra money. If you take your time and have the right tools, you pants will fit beautifully and look sharp for any occasion, whether it's an important business meeting or a night out with friends.


Determine the proper length

First, put the pants on and get them measured to the correct length. Pants should rest on the shoe with only a slight bit of pooling. If you hem your pants above the shoe, they will be too short, so make sure you keep plenty of length in them without a lot of pooling. Generally, the back of your pant leg should land about halfway up the back of your shoe. Mark the desired length with tailor’s chalk or straight pins in both the front and the back. After measurements are taken, you can put on a more comfortable pair of pants or shorts while you work on hemming your long pants.


Measure twice, cut once

Your pin or chalk marks will be your guide to the hemming process. Take a look at where the marks fall and decide how you want to roll your hem up. If you're hemming up a lot of fabric, you may want to remove some of the excess by cutting it off. Just remember to leave plenty of fabric so you can roll the hem twice before stitching it down. If you don’t have a lot of extra fabric to work with, you may want to take out the original hem before you put your stitches in. This way, you will reduce the risk of odd bunching or rolling.


Stitch without a hitch

After you have the desired amount of edge ready for hemming, use a seam gauge to make an even hem all the way around. You can simply roll the bottom of your pant leg up once and stitch it in place, but it will look nicer if you roll twice so that you don’t have any cut edges. Use an iron to press your hem in place, then secure with pins before you stitch. Since the hem runs around a pretty small circle, you want to make sure nothing moves as you stitch or you may end up with odd bunches or wrinkles.


Place your pant hem around the arm of the sewing machine, with the right side visible. You want to make sure you can see your topstitching as you sew the hem, to catch any errors or bunching along the way. This is where those precise measurements come in handy; if you measured properly, you should be able to use the measurement markings on your machine to get an accurate hem that catches all the fabric the first time around. Just stitch around your pant leg; once you've done that, you will have successfully hemmed your pants.


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