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Hemming pants 101

Woman sewing on sewing machine

One of the most common style issues of plus-size ladies is trying to find pants that fit well around the waist, hips and legs, that don’t drag along the ground because the legs are so long.

The good news is that the most important parts of your pants’ fit are the hips and rise – everything else is easily changed, including the inseam. Hemming pants can be done quickly and fairly cheaply by a tailor, but if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, it’s a pretty easy task to do on your own as well. Take a look at this guide to hemming pants and jeans using the original hem:

What you’ll need

  • Pants
  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Pinking shears
  • Pins
  • An iron
  • Thread in the color of the pants
  • A needle

How to hem pants

  1. First, find your correct inseam, using a pair of pants that are already the perfect length. Lay them out flat on the floor, and measure the length from the seam at the top of the thighs to the inside bottom of one leg. That number is your inseam.
  2. After taking note of your inseam length, use the measurement and your fabric measuring tape to find the length the pants you’re altering should be. Mark them lightly with a marker, pen or pencil that will wash off, then measure from the mark you just made to the bottom of the pants to see how much length you​’ll need to remove (for these instructions, we’ll say you’re taking 3 inches from each leg).
  3. Now that you know the length you’re going for, it’s time to get started. Lay your pants flat on the floor or a table, then fold each hem up. This part is tricky: You’ll want to fold each hem up half of the length you need to remove without measuring the hem itself. For example, if you’re taking off 3 inches of length total, fold each hem up 1.5 inches from the bottom of the hem to the folded end. Again, since you’re keeping the original hem, it should not be a part of the 1.5 inches, or your pants will still be a little too long when you’re finished.
  4. Once they’re rolled and measured, pin each inside-out part of the pants’ legs in place and use an iron to flatten the folded ends as much as possible.
  5. Using either a needle and thread or sewing machine, begin stitching the folded bottom of each leg right under the original hem. The length under the stitches you’re making will be the 1.5 inches you measured.
  6. When the bottom of each leg is sewn securely, fold the excess back into the legs of the pants. This will turn the hem, which is now at the right length on the bottom of your pants, right side out.
  7. Try the pants on, making sure they’re even and at the length you want. If they are, iron the bottom of the pants again to flatten out the fabric. If you want, you can cut out the excess fabric from each leg, but leaving it in will allow you to let the hems out again if you ever need to.

    Here;s how to hem pants while keeping the original hem.
    Here’s how to hem pants while keeping the original hem.

1 thought on “Hemming pants 101

  1. This is helpful. Thank you.

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