How to Hem Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

In one of my garage sale outings, I swung by a small sale that had a few toys I was interested in. I’m so glad I stopped because the mom selling the toys was also selling a few items of clothing. I spotted some Big Star jeans I liked and saw they were exactly my size… for a dollar! One dollar for Big Star jeans? Yes please! I knew they were a bit too long but I didn’t let that stop me.

Being able to hem my own pants and jeans has proven to be a very useful tool to have. Especially when you garage sale shop as much as I do. I like to keep the original hem on my pants- especially jeans so I’ve learned a quick and dirty way to do this. Here’s my trick:

How to hem jeans and keep the original hem

Step One: Measure how much length you want off your jeans

Put on the shoes you’d most likely wear with your jeans. Now fold them up to the length you prefer. As you can see, this pair of jeans was 3 inches too long. (Ya ya… I’m short, I know).

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

Step Two: Measure and pin HALF of the length you want cut off… NOT including the hemline.

OK- pay attention to this. Whatever your measurement was above, take half that amount and measure it out on the jeans. DO NOT INCLUDE THE HEMLINE in your measurement. See the picture below to help you understand what I mean.

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

All pinned up and ready to sew!

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

Step Three: Sew along hem line of jeans

With blue thread that somewhat resembles the color of the jeans, sew as closely to the hem as possible. Make sure to double back when you start and when you finish.

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

Step Four: Cut off excess material

Now that you’ve sewn all the way around, cut off the material below your stitch line.

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

Use an iron to flatten out your new hemline!

As you can see below, I’m not a professional (or a perfectionist). This happened because I wasn’t very careful about keeping the seams lined up when sewing. Dang!

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

Regardless of my little mistake, I think they turned out pretty good. I doubt anyone will be looking that closely at the seams of my pants.

How to hem your own jeans and keep original hem

Perfect fit! I’m pretty proud of my one dollar jeans.

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  1. Savannah Kvanvig says

    The jeans are fabulous! You are going to be soo stylish! It was really nice to meet you tonight. Thanks for being so welcoming. You made me feel right at home. Hope to see you around:-) -Savannah

    • Polly says

      Haha- thanks! It was nice to meet you too, Savannah. Looking forward to seeing you around more!

  2. michelle says

    Great tutorial! Wish I had seen this before paying $20 to have a tailor do it! Will be trying this next time 🙂

    • Polly says

      Yep. I’ll never pay a tailor to hem pants again!

  3. Rachel says

    This is awesome. I’m 5’3″ and there are NO jeans out there that are the right length for me!!! I’m pinning this to my “genius” board. 🙂

    • Polly says

      Ditto! Power to the short people!

  4. Darlene says

    I just did this and it really works! I am amazed and will surely be using this technique again. Short people live in our house. I only wish would have known this a long time ago. Thanks!

    • Polly says

      I’m glad it worked! It can be a HUGE money saver for the shorties!

  5. Jenn says

    Thanks for the how to. I did this for my son’s pants but I didn’t cut the excess off so as he grows I can take the hem out… If they last that long.

  6. Kim says

    Hi there! Since it’s been a while since this has been posted, I was wondering if cutting your jeans made the fabric fray at the cut at all? I wasn’t planning to cut mine, but taking off 4 inches made it pretty bulky/stiff in there 😛

    • Polly says

      You know, it has frayed a bit but all I have to do is trim off the strings.
      One flaw in this way of hemming I have found is that it makes the seam a bit weak. So if you are short like me and still occasionally step on the back of your pants when you walk, the seam starts to give a bit.

      I guess when you cut corners, you pay a little price in the long run, huh?

  7. Millie Utt says

    Cut the excess material off with pinking shears, this will stop the raveling…

  8. Katherine says

    Thanks for the post. I know the post’s been around a while, but it’s clear and easy to follow. Many other hem tutorials have fallen short in some way. I’ll be able to get my pants done today thanks to you!

    • Rachel says

      Ah, thanks! I’ll let Polly know about your sweet comment.

  9. CarHoyte says

    Amazing! I will try this!