A Complete Guide On How To Hem Jeans

This tutorial is a complete guide to hemming your jeans. There are two parts to it, first, finding the correct length your jeans should be hemmed according to the type of jeans you have. Then, how to actually hem jeans while keeping the original hem, so they look like they were tailored and made just for you!  Hope you find this guide helpful!

Part 1: What length is the right length for hemming 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 jean needs to be uniquely hemmed to highlight the best part of those jeans. Growing up, I could never get it right – too long and it’s sloppy, too short and you look like you’ve shrunk your jeans 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.

Looking to shop for jeans? 
Check out my post on the Best Places to Shop Online for Jeans

A Complete Guide on How to Hem Jeans - Proper Length Yes Missy

What length should my jeans be?

You have 4 basic types of jeans and there’s a different hem length that each should be:

  1. Skinny Jeans or Jeggings
  2. Straight Leg Jeans
  3. Boot Cut Jeans
  4. Flared or Wide Leg Jeans

1. Hemming for Skinny Jeans / Jeggings

I find choosing a hem for skinny jeans and jeggings a little more forgiving. If they are too long, the jeans can still look good a little bunched up or rolled up. But for a clean chic look, I like skinny jeans hemmed at the top of the ankle.

2. Hemming for Straight Leg Jeans

Like the skinny, straight leg jeans should be kept at a shorter length for a clean modern look. I like them best to be hemmed so they touch the bottom to mid part of your ankle. That way you can wear them with flats, booties and heels.

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 are 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.

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 what shoes you’ll be wearing most with them and hem them 1/4-1/2 inch from your 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 just looks silly. When measuring for these jeans, make sure you have your jeans sitting in a comfortable position and having a friend to help cuff your jeans up is really helpful.

DIY: How To Hem Jeans with Original Hem

If you’re a shorty like me, hemming every pair of your jeans can add up to be an expensive task, especially if you want the original hem, they always want to charge extra for that!  So why not just do it yourself? It’s actually very easy, and 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 have them still come out looking great!

Looking to shop for jeans? 
Check out my post on the Best Places to Shop Online for Jeans

Complete Guide on How to Hem Jeans with original hem
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!

I found out my memory card was corrupted only after I had completed hemming my own jeans, so I had to borrow some images. 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 🙂

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Share your thoughts...

  • caroline
    October 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!

    • YesMissy
      October 7, 2013

      That’s so true. Guys never have this problem lol


      • Gus
        March 4, 2014

        Some guys do have that problem. I do cuz I’m so short…

        • Eileen
          March 5, 2014

          Aw well now you have a solution too! 🙂

  • Ana
    November 8, 2013

    You make it easy, I’ve seen other tuts on hemming jeans, yours is so non complicated, Thanks!

    • Eileen
      November 9, 2013

      Thanks Ana! Glad you liked it 🙂

  • Karen
    November 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

    • Eileen
      November 15, 2013

      You’re welcome! Glad it worked well for you 🙂

  • Dorth
    January 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.

    • Eileen
      April 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. 🙂

  • Kelli Harvey
    October 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.

    • Eileen
      October 5, 2014

      That’s awesome! For a long time I did too! I’m glad you’re able to find this post useful!


  • NJgirlinNCworld
    October 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.

  • Peggy Karr Tippett
    October 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.

    • Eileen
      October 28, 2014

      Hi Peggy,

      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. 🙂


  • Sal
    November 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?

    • Rian
      April 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.

    • Danielle
      February 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!

  • deedee
    November 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!!

  • Marjo Taarud
    November 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 🙂

  • Cyndee
    November 30, 2014

    Is the presser foot on the existing hem or below it!

  • Jan
    December 21, 2014

    Do you need to buy some special thick stitch thread to match the original stitching of the jeans so it all matches?

  • sara
    April 28, 2015

    What a great idea! How thoughtful of you to share, thanks!

  • FrannyOh!
    February 28, 2016

    Is there ever a problem with the edge rolling upward after a washing?

  • Rose
    September 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

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