This tutorial is a complete guide to hemming your jeans. There are two parts to it. The first part is finding the correct length your jeans should be hemmed to according to the style of jeans you have. And the second is how to actually hem jeans while keeping the original hem. This way they can look like they were tailored just for you!
Hope you find this DIY guide on how to hem jeans helpful!
Part 1: What length is the right length to hem my jeans?
You’ve found your perfect pair of jeans, but they’re not perfect until they’re properly hemmed for you.
How to hem your jeans is a big question, it can be a complicated thing, every style of jeans needs to be uniquely hemmed to highlight the best features of the style.
Growing up, I could never get it right. Jeans that are too long look sloppy, jeans hemmed too short and you look like you’ve shrunk your them in a wash.
This post is dedicated to help you find the most suitable hem length for your jeans, whether they are skinny & straight to boot cut and flared.
Still shopping for your perfect pair of jeans?
Check out my post on the Best Places to Shop for Jeans Online!
Traditional Lengths to Hemming Jeans
What length should my jeans be?
In the photo above, I have the 4 basic style of jeans and the appropriate hem length that each should be:
- Skinny Jeans
- Straight Leg Jeans
- Boot Cut Jeans
- Flared or Wide Leg Jeans
1. Hemming length for skinny jeans
I find choosing a hem length for skinny jeans to be a little more forgiving. If they are a bit long, the jeans can still look good a little bunched up or you can have the option of wearing them rolled up.
But for a clean chic look, I like skinny jeans hemmed at the top of the ankle or cropped slightly above it.
2. Hemming length for straight leg jeans
Like the skinny, straight leg jeans should be kept at a shorter length for a clean modern look.
Traditionally straight legged jeans are hemmed so they touch the mid part of your ankle. That way you can wear them with flats, short boot and heels. This also gives you flexibility if you want to wear them rolled up.
Currently, the trend for cropped straight legged jeans, so you’ll see a lot of straight jeans that are cropped a few inches above the ankle like the picture below.
3. Hemming for Boot Cut Jeans
Boot cut jeans are meant to elongate the leg length and slim it, so you’ll be wanting to keep the length of the jean longer for this style.
Finding the right hem for boot cut jeans is really dependent on the heel height of your shoe.
You’ll want to hem them about 1/4 -1/2 inch off the ground measured from the back of your heel to get that slimming look.
Like with straight leg jeans, there’s a current trend for cropped boot cut jeans. And in this case you can hem cropped slightly above the ankle.
4. Hemming for Flared and Wide Leg Jeans
Flared and wide leg jean hem lengths are much like the boot cut jeans. Keep in mind the height of the shoes you’ll be wearing most with them. Then hem them 1/4-1/2 inch from the bottom heel.
With flared and wide leg jeans, you really have to get the hem length just right. If they’re too long, they’ll be dragging on the ground. And if they’re too short, it’ll look silly.
When measuring for flared and wide leg jeans, make sure to stand up straight and you have your jeans sitting in a comfortable position on your hips. Having a friend to help cuff your jeans to the right length is helpful helpful.
How To Hem Jeans with Original Hem
If you’re petite like me, hemming every pair of your jeans can add up to be an expensive task. And especially so if you want to keep the original hem which is usually an extra.
So why not just do it yourself? The process of hemming your jeans is actually very simple. If you have a sewing machine, great! Your alterations will take you no time at all, but even if you don’t, you can still hem your own jeans the traditional way with needle and thread, and still have them turn out great!
Step 1: First, you’ll want to measure the proper length of your jeans and fold them outward. Roll the jeans up so they are slightly above your desired hem length.
Step 2: Sew along the seam of the original hem. If you have a sewing machine this will be quick and easy, but if you don’t a needle and a thread will do just fine.
Step 3: Cut the excess fabric away, leaving maybe 1 cm or a little less from the your newly sewed seam
Step 4: Iron flat and you’re all done!
Photo credits for this jean hemming tutorial goes to Do It Yourself Divas.
I hope you found this post informative and helpful!
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments section below.
JenniferApril 21, 2021
Great tips! I usually take mine to a tailor even though I can do them myself. It’s just easier for me!
Curated By Jennifer
EileenApril 23, 2021
That makes sense! Sometimes I just don’t feel like spending the $$
RoseSeptember 27, 2018
I don’t have a sewing machine so would have to do this by and. I also can’t sew well so what’s the best way to do ky
FrannyOh!February 28, 2016
Is there ever a problem with the edge rolling upward after a washing?
saraApril 28, 2015
What a great idea! How thoughtful of you to share, thanks!
JanDecember 21, 2014
Do you need to buy some special thick stitch thread to match the original stitching of the jeans so it all matches?
CyndeeNovember 30, 2014
Is the presser foot on the existing hem or below it!
Marjo TaarudNovember 16, 2014
Amazing! My daughter tried explaining this method to me a couple of years ago (before I was on Pinterest) and wanted me to hem her jeans this way. Wish I had listened 🙂
deedeeNovember 15, 2014
I just shortened a pair of jeans using this method that I found on clearance. They were size 6 but at least 6 inches too long for the average person. This method is what our local alteration lady uses. It worked great and so glad to not have to deal with sewing the thick seams and broken needles using the traditional hemming method.My mom does altering for public and will share with her. I also zigzagged my seam when finished..Thanks!!
SalNovember 3, 2014
I’m a little confused by the 3rd photo. It looks like the fold (bottom left) is cut through the length of the fold. If the fold is the new length (or slightly shorter) you wouldn’t want to cut both below and above the fold line. Am I missing something?
RianApril 27, 2015
Step one says ” Roll the jeans up so they are slightly above your desired hem length.” Your new length will be where the original hem folds up to.
DanielleFebruary 9, 2016
It is pretty hard to tell but it is the scissors you are seeing that looks like a sewn line. If you look at the 2 picture, you will see that the new sewn line is almost touching the original hem. Hope that helps!
Peggy Karr TippettOctober 28, 2014
Thank you for sharing. I hemmed three pair and they look awesome. One question, when you cut the excess off don’t you have to zigzag the edge so it doesn’t fray? I left 1/4″ and zigzagged it.
EileenOctober 28, 2014
Glad you were able to find this useful! I didn’t bother zigzag-ing the edge, it did fray a little, but it stopped after a wash or two. It is probably wiser to zig-zag it like you did though. 🙂
NJgirlinNCworldOctober 25, 2014
So glad you posted this! For some reason all my jeans have been too long lately, and the bottoms fray because I did not want to have a different hem seam than the regular stitching on the jeans. Will be trying this when I guy new jeans.
Kelli HarveyOctober 5, 2014
Oh my word! I hemmed 3 pairs of jeans using this method last night and you cannot even tell that they’ve been altered. All my life I’ve had those ugly “homemade” hems that are horrible. Well no more! Thank you so much for sharing this.
EileenOctober 5, 2014
That’s awesome! For a long time I did too! I’m glad you’re able to find this post useful!
DorthJanuary 23, 2014
I can’t believe that I could have been using this technique for the last thirty years as I hemmed jeans for myself and my three daughters! I wish I had all that wasted time back.
EileenApril 18, 2014
Lol I’m in the same boat, I wish I known this through high school and saved a ton of money on alterations. 🙂
KarenNovember 14, 2013
Wow – just done – so easy to do – look amazing – so much better looking than self hemmed jeans with not quite matching cotton or stitching – thank u xx
EileenNovember 15, 2013
You’re welcome! Glad it worked well for you 🙂
AnaNovember 8, 2013
You make it easy, I’ve seen other tuts on hemming jeans, yours is so non complicated, Thanks!
EileenNovember 9, 2013
Thanks Ana! Glad you liked it 🙂
carolineOctober 6, 2013
This is awesome! I feel like I need to have more than one pair of each so I can wear them with flats and heels!
YesMissyOctober 7, 2013
That’s so true. Guys never have this problem lol
GusMarch 4, 2014
Some guys do have that problem. I do cuz I’m so short…
EileenMarch 5, 2014
Aw well now you have a solution too! 🙂