How to Hem Pants without sewing machine | Handsewing a Hem | Ko Fabrics

How to Hem Pants without a Sewing Machine | Handsewing a Hem

One of the most basic sewing techniques you can learn is how to hem pants. Weather its your jeans or dress pants, Learning how to hem pants without a sewing machine will follow the same basic steps and rules. You don't need a machine to hem your pants either, you can adjust them easily by using just a needle and thread.


Materials needed to Hem Pants:

  • Pencil or washable marker.
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Seam Ripper
  • Scissors
  • Iron (helpful but optional)
  • Thimble (optional but helpful)
  • Ruler or measuring tape (optional but helpful)
  • Pins (optional but helpful)

 You can also pick up our hand sewing kit! If you do not have any sewing supplies at home. These kits are great for those who need to do minor sewing alterations.

Watch our short tutorial on How to Hem Pants without a Sewing Machine:

Hemming your pants:

 Coming Soon!

Hemming your jeans while keeping your current jean Hem:


How to Hem Pants without a Sewing Machine:

  1. Put on your pair of pants, roll up the pant so to where you'd like your hem to end on your foot. I like to hem my pants so they stop just below my ankle bone. Make sure you roll them up, then stand up straight and check where it's falling in a mirror before committing to it.
  2. Mark (or place a pin) the inside of the pant where you folded them up at. This will be your seam line later. Mark both pant legs where you want the hem to end at.
  3. Take off your pants, and turn them inside out.
  4. Where you made the mark on the pants near the leg opening, eyeball or use a ruler to mark the line all the way around the pant leg. By measuring up from the hem to the line and mark it. If you want to keep the original hem jump to the section 15 below to see how to keep your hem. 
  5. If where you want to hem is close to the current hem. You will need to take out the current hem. To take out the current hem, you will need to use a seam ripper, using the point of the seam ripper go under the thread of the hem, and cut the thread. Do this ever 3-4 stitches, then pull out the thread from the other side. You may need to cut every stitch where the thread is back stitched.
  6. Unfold the hem and press flat with an iron, or using a steamer to release the creases, or press flat with your hand to get it to lay as flat as you can.
  7. Mark the fold lines: If dress pants, Mark another line 1" and 1.5" BELOW the seam line. If jeans, mark another line, 1/2" and 1" BELOW the seam line. Chinos can go either way pending if you want a wide hem or a narrow hem, look at how wide the prior hem was and try to match its width.
  8. Cut your pants on the lowest line you marked. (The cut line should be your hem size + .5" below the seam line you marked in the beginning.)
  9. Fold .25" on the line to the inside of the pant and iron or finger press down.
  10. Fold the hem size to the inside. (So you should be folding on the seam line) Iron or finger press down.
  11. Pin in place if needed to hold the hem in place.
  12. TRY ON YOUR PANTS. And make sure they are falling where you want them to.
  13. Hem Dress pants: Thread your needle, and tie a knot on one end. push needle through just the folded edge on the inside of the pant. Then push the needle through 1-2 threads on the outside fabric. This is called a whip stitch. Repeat this process about a quarter inch away from the last stitch, going between the folded fabric, and grabbing 1-2 threads of the outside fabric. This stitch will be relatively invisible, with just small pin pricks on the outside of the fabric.
  14. Hem Jeans or Hem Chinos: On the outside of the pant, using a washable marker or very lightly with a pencil. Draw a straight line that is 1/8" less than your hem length. Either back stitch or chain stitch on the drawn line. To back stitch. Thread your needle and tie a knot on one end. Push the needle through the back of the fabric. Then push the needle through all layers of the fabric, starting 1/8" behind where you started, and ending 1/8" in front of where you started. Repeat this, starting your next stitch behind where your last stitch is, and ending ahead of it. Stay on the line your drew.
  15. To hem your Jeans and keep your current hem: If you want to keep the raw edge of your jeans, you can but its a little trickier and takes patience. From the seam line you marked in the beginning, mark a line above it the width of your current hem. Then fold the pant so the inside of the pant is facing you, and the outside is touching. Lining up where the top of the current hem is with the line you just drew. Pin it in place. Then back stitch on this line, being careful to sew as close to the hem fold as you can. When done. Check your work before trimming the extra fabric on the inside. Whip stitch the extra fabric on the inside so it doesn't fray, and press it up and flat.


 Helpful tricks when hemming your jeans or pants.

  • Bulky seams: To get rid of bulk around the seams you can clip the seam allowance (the surged edge) off starting below your seam line. this removes the bulk of the seam edge so the fabric will not be bulky when folded up. It won't fray since its contained within the hem.
  • If its hard to push the needle through: If you have heavy denim it might be difficult to push the needle through the fabric, this is where you really need to use a thimble. Thimbles help you push on the needle and get it easily through the fabric.


And that's it, we hope you enjoyed our article on how to hem pants without a sewing machine, and you picked up a few tricks of the trade along the way.


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