How to Prep Jeans for Hemming

alterations beginner sewing Hemming sewing

Pinterest Image - Hemming Jeans with Sew Cute by Katie 

How often do you purchase a pair of jeans that are too long? 

Every. Single. Time. 

Learning to hem your jeans is possible.  

This video below will show you how to mark and cut off your jeans, and prep them to be hemmed.  This is an easy method to shorten your jeans.  

Tips are included for getting over those bulky seams. 

Prepping Your Jeans 

Watch below if you'd like to see the entire process.   

Jump below the video for a summary...

Supplies & Tips for Hemming

  • Clear ruler for marking your cut lines
  • Tailors chalk
  • Pins
  • Hammer (for flattening bulky seams)
  • Denim needle
  • Denim thread
  • Regular thread (for bobbin)

General Instructions

Please watch the short video for more detailed sewing instructions.

#1. To get started you first need to put the jeans on and flip up the cuff and get them marked or turned up where you want them to be. I tend to like to put pant hems where the heel of your sole meets the shoe.  On this pair of jeans, we are hemming it four inches.

Prepping Jeans for Hemming


I love to use these clear rulers because then I can see my numbers.

Place the four inch mark on the ruler at the bottom edge of the jeans. Using a tailors chalk, draw a line at your 4-inch mark, scoot over and draw the other one. Connect these lines.  Then flip, and repeat.

Prepping Jeans for Hemming Marking the Fold Line

#3. Now from here is where I'm actually going to fold it, so that is the fold line that we just drew.  The cut line is going to be one inch down from that.  Mark your cut line one inch down from the fold line.  Cut the excess off. 

Prepping Jeans for Hemming - Cutting the Cut Line


I like to use the heavier denim thread as my top stitch thread.  I order mine from Banasch's Sewing Supplies. You can get this in a variety of colors because all jeans are notoriously stitched in different colors. You want to match it as best you can. You can use regular thread in the bobbin.  

#4. I'm going to be stitching on the top of my jeans because I want a heavier thread to show on top, not on the underside. Go to each seam, take the raw edge and fold it to the chalk line, and then fold it again (a 1/2 inch fold each time).  I used four pins.  You don't need to use any more than that.  

Prepping Jeans for Hemming - Folded and Pinned


So now we have pinned and they are ready to go to the machine. I use a black bobbin underneath or a navy, whichever color you want, and that's how you prep your jeans to be hemmed.

How to Reduce Bulky Seams

The seam that runs on the inside of the leg has the flat felled seam, that's where you have your bulk.  I use my industrial industrial sewing machine to hem jeans. If you have trouble with that thickness I'm gonna show you a little trick.

Some machines have a jean foot that kind of helps glide over the bump, but I find if you're having trouble literally taking it and hammering it will flatten it out. If you use jean thread and match it to the original stitching, it will look just like it did before! If you have any questions about prepping your jeans be sure to put that in the comments. I'd be happy to help you out. 

Where I purchase my denim thread


Hope you enjoyed this sewing tutorial!

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Katie Bertrand

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  • Debbie on

    Your videos are so inspirational. They are so easy to follow. Thank you!

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