Thursday, February 21, 2013

DIY: How to Hem Your Dress Pants

What a relief it is to be able to hem my own pants! No more taking them to the tailor to be hemmed for $20! The last time I got them professionally hemmed, they were still a little too long and then I tripped on them in the parking lot mid-sentence while talking to my manager! I'm actually surprised he didn't burst out laughing because I would have! I ripped my pants at the knee, scraped my palm, and bruised my ego... but I was more upset at the wasted cost of getting them professionally tailored! Well, no more of that wasted nonsense because I can do it myself! Now... if I can just start a side business of hemming my coworkers' pants I could made a side fortune...... hmmmm haha 

This was the 4th pair of dress pants I hemmed myself, and it really boils down to a couple steps.
- Cut off the excess fabric while accounting for the seam allowance
- Zigzag stitch the raw edge of the fabric to prevent fraying
- Hand sew the hem
I'll break down the steps now in more detail.

Here's what you'll need.
- pants you'll be hemming 
- needle and matching thread
- seam ripper
- fabric scissors
- pins
- chalk
- ruler
- seam gauge
- iron (not pictured)
- shoes you'll be wearing your pants with (not pictured) 

These are my too-long pants from Banana Republic. 
1. Wear your pants with the shoes (heels or flats) that you'll be wearing them with, or at least ones that are the height of the pair you'll be wearing them with.  
2. Pin under a pant leg to the desired length.
3. Measure the length of the folded up part you pinned. Here, mine is 3".
4. Pin the other pant leg. Make sure both pant legs are pinned up the same length.
5. Press the new hem fold from the inside. This crease will be the new length of your pants, but will NOT be where you cut! 
6. Remove the pins and rip out the seam allowance with a seam ripper.
7.  Measure the seam allowance. (Mine was 1 and 7/8") Measure down from the fold this seam allowance length. This will be your new seam allowance. 
Check out my handy image for extra clarification.
9. Cut on the chalk line
10. Zigzag stitch the raw edge to prevent fraying.
11. Fold under the pant leg to the crease.
12. Hand sew the hem. First, insert the needle into the hem, then into the outer pant fabric only grabbing 1-2 threads. This is so you won't be able to see the stitches from the outside of the pant leg when you're done. 

You can also do this all in one step. Do this every inch or so all the way around. 
Inside of the pant leg when you're done.
Outside of the pant leg when you're done. 
13. Iron the fold.
Try your altered pants on and you're done! 


  1. thank you so much! this helped me hem my pants for my friends wedding!

  2. Happy this was able to help you! :D

  3. Thanks a lot, we have a weeding and I need to hem my husband pants and this help me a lot, I feel like a total pro! :D

  4. I used your directions to hem my friends pants for a wedding and they fit him perfectly! Your directions made it so much easier!

  5. ty i am gonna try question where did u get your black pants ty

    1. These were from Banana Republic (but many years ago)!