How to Hem Pants That are Too Long

by Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

How to Hem Pants That are Too Long. If you have a pair of pants that you'd like to wear, but they are just too long, this article is for you. With just a needle and thread or some iron-on tape, you can hem the pants so they fit and look good. There are a few ways to hem pants, so follow the steps below and you will save money by doing it yourself.

Items you will need

  • Straight pins
  • Scissors or pinking shears, depending on fabric
  • Iron-on tape
  • Steam or dry iron and ironing board
  • Needle and thread to match the fabric
  • Sewing machine

Iron-on Tape Method

Step 1

Pin the pants at the length you want. This step is easier if you get someone to help. Put the pants on and stand on a step stool. Have the assistant turn the fabric under and pin each leg to the correct length.

Step 2

Take off the pants and evenly fold the fabric under all the way around each leg where the hem needs to be. Pin the layers together with straight pins. Push through both layers of fabric close to the folded edge.

Step 3

Cut off any excess fabric to within two inches of the bottom fold. Press the fold lightly with an iron that has been preheated to the right temperature setting for the fabric.

Step 4

Apply the tape to the cut edge of the fabric and the inside of each pant leg. Set the tape with a warm iron as directed on the package.

Hand or Machine Sewing

Step 1

Follow Steps one, two and three above. Then use a needle and thread or sewing machine to make the hem for a more durable result.

Step 2

Sew a straight seam through the two layers of fabric around the edges of the legs about 1/4 inch from the bottom fold. Fold the fabric up one more time to hide the cut edge and form a finished hem. Press the folds flat with an iron.

Step 3

Finish the sewed hem by hand or machine using a blind hem stitch all around the bottoms of the legs. A blind hem stitch only catches a tiny bit of the fabric on the inside so that it doesn't show on the outside.

Tips

  • Bending over can distort where the hem falls naturally when standing, so it is best to have an assistant pin the pants. If you don't have an assistant, bend over and mark where the pants need to be hemmed by inserting a pin. Then take the pants off, turn them up and pin them all the way around. After pressing the hem lightly with the iron, put the pants on to ensure the edge is straight. Use pinking shears instead of plain scissors if the fabric is thin and prone to ravel. Use the blind hem stitch for dressier or more formal pants. Hem jeans and other sportswear using another straight stitch all around the bottom about 1/4 inch from the edge through all layers of fabric.

Warnings

  • Keep an eye on your iron when it is hot. Don't place the iron where you can tip it over or trip over the cord. Be careful with sewing needles. Use a thimble to protect your fingers when sewing by hand. Don't get your fingers under the needle on an electric sewing machine.