How to Lengthen Dress Pants

by Alissa Mckenzie

Lengthening dress pants can be a daunting task. No one wants to ruin an expensive pair of pants, but what good are they hanging in the closet because they are too short? Doing it yourself is a simpler solution than going to a time-consuming and costly tailor.

Items you will need

  • Dress pants
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron
  • Shoes worn with dress pants
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing needle or sewing machine
  • Thread to match pants
Step 1

Carefully pull out the old seam with the seam ripper. Press the fold from the old seam with the iron to rid of any wrinkles.

Step 2

Put on the pants and the shoes you will wear with them. Carefully fold the fabric up and inside the opening of the pant leg to the desired length. Place straight pins vertically all the way around the leg. Repeat on other side. Remove the shoes and the pants carefully.

Step 3

Measure each leg of the pants from the hip to the floor and then from the inseam to the floor to ensure they are even. Press the new hem into place with the iron.

Step 4

Baste-stitch the new hem into place using a needle and thread or a sewing machine while pulling out each straight pin. Try on the pants again to confirm length and fit. Remove basting and refit if needed.

Step 5

Finish sewing each leg with a strong and tighter stitch. Remove basting stitches and try the pants on again.

Tips

  • Not all pants can be lengthened. Check your pants first to see if there is enough material at the hem to let them down to your desired length.

    Have a friend help you place the pins around the new hem to make the process quicker and more accurate.

    Placing the pins vertically will make it easier to remove the pins later.

Warnings

  • Different shoes may cause pants to lie differently. Always wear shoes when altering the pants. Try on different styles of shoes if you plan to wear different pairs.

    Consult a professional tailor if you are unsure if the dress pants can be successfully altered without damaging them. Some fabrics are very delicate and require special sewing machines or sergers to hem.

Photo Credits

  • Creative Commons

About the Author

Alissa Mckenzie joined the Knight Center for Digital Excellence in August of 2008 as a content manager. Her responsibilities include managing content for the center’s Web site and maintaining the digital library. Prior to joining the center, she served as the assistant editor-in-chief for Kiwibox.com, an online magazine and social network dedicated to teens.