How To Shorten Jeans? {Original Hem, Machine, Hand, No-Sew}

There is no question that most people enjoy wearing denim jeans. Let’s just agree that jeans rank number one. And what I consider as a close second are denim shorts. Denim Jeans have become the most well-known clothing item.

They are the one trend that is popular every year. Most people prefer denim jeans to other clothes because they can wear any color of tops and shoes with them and because jeans come in different styles from boot length to skinny and even flared ones. There are tapered jeans, baggy jeans, all with different styles of fit and waist size or rise

Sometimes, when you buy a pair of jeans from one favourite brand you may notice that the hem is too long, so you’ll want to make it shorter. You may think of rolling the hem up or just cutting the hem, but very often you may be unhappy about the final result

So what’s the perfect way to shorten the hem of your jeans while keeping them casually trendy?

Jeans last for a long time so it is a good idea to have some knowledge of how they can be shortened, but still retain their style

How To Shorten Jeans Length?

Fortunately, shortening the hem of your own jeans is actually quite easy and doing it yourself will spare you a trip to the tailor. So here are several ways to consider when shortening jeans

  1. Keeping The Original Hem: As kids grow quickly, you may need to take the jeans down at a later stage so keeping the original hem’ll be a good idea for kids.
  2. Cutting The Original Hem: It’s the best method for adult jeans. This method will make the jeans look as if they were made in this length.
  3. Fraying The Edges: Great For a Trendy Look!.
  4. Hand Sewing: This is a good method if you don’t have a sewing machine.
  5. Hemming Tape: This no-sew method is great as it is quick and easy to do.

Tips For Sewing Jean Hems

I would suggest following these three tips to guarantee a final great result when shortening the hem of your jeans so let’s start:

  • Needles: always use a new needle on denim. It has to be very sharp strong and with an appropriate thickness
  • Slow down: The material of denim jeans can be very thick and heavy so it’s advisable to take the sewing process slowly along the denim fabric to avoid breaking the needle
  • Prewash: it’s an important step before you start sewing jean hems, so make sure your denim has been pre-washed and ironed because this helps to soften the fabric and keep the denim from shrinking.

5 Ways How To Shorten The Jean Hems

Ways How To Shorten The Jean Hems

Method1: How To Shorten Jeans & Keep The Original Hem

STEP1: Fitting

  • Put your jeans on and turn up the hem on the outside of the jeans to the length you want the newly finished hem to be.
  • Once you have folded the jeans up pin the amount of fabric turned up in place and remove the jeans.
  • The amount of fabric, that you have turned up’ll be on the right side of the jeans but this only for marking purposes.

STEP2: Align and Pin

  • Check the side seams of the jeans and line them up.
  • Match the sides to each other and fold the jeans to match the inner leg seams as well.
  • Make sure both legs are the same.
  • Pin along the edge of the folded hem.
  • Open up the hem.
  • Mark along the pin line using a fabric chalk or a removable marker.
  • Remove the pins.

STEP3: Marking and Folding

  • Mark 1 inch ABOVE the pinline for jeans hems that are a standard ½-inch (12mm) wide
  • If Your original jeans hem is 3/4-inch then mark 1 ½-inches higher than the pin line
  • Fold the jeans cuff up again so the original hem of the jeans meets the second higher marked line
  • Pin the hem all the way around using vertical pins

STEP4: Stitching

  • Sew a straight line right below the original hemline, remember to use specially denim needles and strong thread, and don’t forget to remove the pins as you sew.

STEP5: Removing Excess

At this Step, you have two choices:

  • Option (1) Fold Up Excess:

Press the extra fabric up into the leg of the jeans. If the excess is quite wide, you can catch the new hem on the inside at the side seams with a couple of hand stitches. Leaving the fabric like this is, is best for kids who are growing.

  • Option (2) Cut The Excess:

It’s the best method for adult jeans. You can cut below the stitching and zigzag or serger the edges to prevent fraying. Press the seam upwards. This method’ll make the jeans look as if they were made in this length.

STEP6: Press

Let’s turn the jeans the right way out and give the new hems a good press along the seam line

Method2: Cutting The Jeans Hem and Making a New Hem

Here is how to cut the hem of your jeans and make another new hem similar to the original to give the impression that it is made in this length.

STEP1 & 2: Fitting and Marking:

  • Put your jeans on and turn up the hem on the outside of the jeans to the length you want the newby finished hem to be.
  • With the jeans the right way out, try them on and fold up the jeans to the correct length.
  • Pin the amount of fabric turned up in place and remove the jeans.
  • Place pins along the crease of the cuff and mark across that line with tailor’s chalk.
  • Remove the pins.

STEP3: Marking and Cutting

  • Mark a cutting line 1 inch (2,5 cm) BELOW the pinline.
  • Cut along the lower marked line.

STEP4: Press

  • Turn your jeans to the wrong side.
  • Press up the raw edge by ½-inch (12 mm).
  • Press over the hem again by ½-inch (12 mm) to create a double a double hem where the raw edges is enclosed, so it can’t fray.

STEP5: Stitch

  • Still on the wrong side of the jeans, try to sew the hem with a straight stitch along the top of the fold


  • As a final step, press firmly with an iron, and your jeans are ready to try them out.

Method3: How To Shorten Jeans by Fraying?

Fraying the edges is great for a trendy look. So let’s we learn how can we do this process:

STEP1: Mark The New Hemline

  • Measure where you want the n.v hem of your jeans by following what is mentioned in Step1 and 2 of method 1

STEP2: Cut

  • Measure 1 inch (2,5cm) BELOW the marked pinline and cut across slightly

STEP3: Optional Stitch

  • Optional = straight stitch along the pinline in order to limit the fraying.
  • Pull a few threads out at the edge to start the fraying process you can use a seam ripper, pinking shears or cutting strips for speeding the fraying process.

Method4: How To Shorten Jeans by Hand Sewing

This is a good method if you don’t have a sewing machine so let’s go:

  • Thread your hand sewing needle with the most suitable color for stitching the jeans
  • Use a backstitch to form a neat and strong row of stitches along the hem stitch line. The front of a backstitch looks better than the back so I recommend you to sew on the right side (outside) of the fabric.
  • If you are a beginner sewer than a small running stitch’ll work.

Method5: How To Shorten Jeans Without a Sewing Machine?

You can use hemming tape to shorten your jeans if you don’t have a sewing machine:

  • Use Method #2 to cut the excess from the bottom of the jeans.
  • Press up the raw edge by 1 inch (2,5 cm) or the width of the hemming tape after turning the jeans inside out.
  • Place the tape between the layers of the fold and at the end press with an iron to activate the glue.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!Sophia

Hey, I'm Sophia – a fashion writer and trend enthusiast powering Trendy Legs. I blend my love for style with creativity to handpick the coolest legwear and footwear for everyone. Let's explore fashion together and stay ahead of the curve!

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