How to Measure Pants For Hemming

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

Wear the shoes you will wear with the pants while you measure the hem.

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If you have a pair of pants that fit perfectly but are too long, you can hem your pants yourself to save money on a tailoring job. To get the most accurate measurement, have someone make the measurements while you are wearing the pants. This way, you can adjust the hem to be exactly where you want it before you cut. To make it easier on the person doing the measuring, stand on a stool or other sturdy raised surface while your new hem is measured.

Put on the pants you need to hem, as well as the shoes you are going to wear with them. While you stand up straight, ask your helper to turn the edges of the existing hem under until your desired hem length has been reached.

Use straight pins to keep the new hem in place. Ask your helper to insert the pins while you are standing straight.

Remove the pants. Turn the pants inside out. Measure the seam that runs from the crotch down the inside of the leg. This is the inseam. Measure the inseam on a pair of pants you already wear, then measure the pants you are going to hem to make sure your measurements are correct.

Make a measurement about 1 inch up from the new hem line on the fabric you folded under. Pin all the way around each new hem at this measurement. Cut off any excess material. Do not cut at the new hem line, as you need to leave enough fabric to sew your new hems.

Turn your iron on to the correct setting for the fabric of the pants. Once the iron is hot, press the new hems on both legs of the pants.

Turn your hems under about 1/4 inch, and re-pin. Iron your new hems again. You are ready to sew your hems.


  • You can check the new hem line quickly against a pair of pants you already wear by laying the pants flat, one pair over another. Make sure you make your measurement along the inseams of the pants, not from the waists. If you are unsure of your measurements, baste the hem with a quick stitch before you cut any fabric off the pants. Try on the pants to see if you like the new hem length. Make note of the original hem if you would like to reproduce it in your new hem.

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