How To Hem Pants With Needle And Thread

Do you have a pair of pants that are just a tad too long? Don’t worry – hemming pants is an easy sewing task that can be done in no time with just a needle and thread. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: fold up the pant leg to the desired length, pin it, and sew a straight line to create a clean hem.

Read on and we’ll walk through the steps in detail.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about hemming pants at home. We’ll cover how to prepare your pants for hemming, the tools you’ll need, how to measure and mark the hem, sewing techniques, and finishing touches.

With just a needle, thread, scissors, and a few other essentials, you can adjust the length of any pair of pants for a perfect custom fit.

Supplies Needed

Sewing needle

A sewing needle is an essential tool for hemming pants. It is recommended to use a needle specifically designed for sewing, as it will be sharp and sturdy enough to handle the fabric. A needle with a smaller eye is preferable, as it will make threading the needle easier.

Matching thread

Matching thread is crucial for a seamless and professional-looking hem. Choose a thread color that closely matches the color of your pants. Using a contrasting thread may draw attention to the hem and make it more noticeable.


Pins are indispensable for holding the fabric in place while hemming. They help keep the fabric secure and prevent it from shifting as you sew. It is recommended to use sharp pins to ensure they go through the fabric easily without causing any damage.

Tape measure

A tape measure is essential for accurately measuring the length of the pants and determining the desired hem length. It is important to take precise measurements to ensure a well-fitted and symmetrical hem.

Chalk or fabric marker

Chalk or a fabric marker can be used to mark the desired hem length on the pants. These tools are temporary and can be easily removed once the hem is complete. Make sure to use a color that is visible on the fabric but does not leave a permanent mark.


A pair of sharp scissors is essential for cutting the excess fabric from the pants once the hem is sewn. Make sure to use fabric scissors rather than regular household scissors to ensure clean and precise cuts.


An iron is necessary for pressing the hem and giving it a polished finish. Ironing helps flatten the fabric and removes any wrinkles or creases, resulting in a neat and professional-looking hem.

Preparing the Pants

Wash and dry the pants

Before hemming your pants, it’s important to give them a thorough wash and dry. This will ensure that the fabric is clean and free from any dirt or debris that could interfere with the hemming process.

Plus, washing and drying the pants will also help to remove any shrinkage that may occur, allowing you to accurately measure and adjust the length.

Iron the pants flat

Once the pants are clean and dry, it’s time to iron them flat. Ironing the pants will not only remove any wrinkles or creases but will also make it easier to measure and mark the desired length for the hem. Make sure to use the appropriate heat setting on your iron to avoid damaging the fabric.

Ironing the pants flat will give you a smooth surface to work with, ensuring a more precise and professional-looking hem.

Try the pants on to find the desired length

Now that your pants are clean and wrinkle-free, it’s time to try them on and determine the desired length. Put on the pants and wear them with the shoes you intend to pair them with. This is important because different shoe heights can affect the overall length of the pants.

Stand in front of a mirror and assess how much length you want to remove. Keep in mind that it’s always better to err on the side of caution and leave a bit of extra length, as you can always trim off more fabric later if needed.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about the desired length, it’s a good idea to seek inspiration from fashion websites or blogs. Websites like Vogue or GQ often feature style guides and images of celebrities or models wearing different pant lengths, which can give you a better idea of what you like and what is currently on-trend.

Measuring and Marking the Hem

Measure the desired length

Before you start hemming your pants, it is important to determine the desired length. Stand in front of a mirror and wear the shoes you plan to wear with the pants. This will help you determine how long or short you want the pants to be.

Use a measuring tape to measure from the waistband to the desired length. Write down the measurement so you don’t forget it.

Mark the hemline with chalk or fabric marker

Now that you have the desired length, it’s time to mark the hemline. Lay the pants flat on a table or ironing board. Use a fabric marker or chalk to make a small mark at the desired length on both pant legs. Make sure the marks are straight and even.

If you don’t have a fabric marker or chalk, you can use a pencil, just make sure to test it on a hidden area of the fabric first to ensure it won’t leave any marks.

Pin along the marking

Once you have marked the hemline, it’s time to secure it in place before you start sewing. Take a few straight pins and insert them vertically into the fabric, along the marked line. Make sure the pins go through both layers of fabric to hold them together.

This will prevent the fabric from shifting while you sew. Space the pins about an inch apart, or closer if you prefer.

Pro tip: If you find it difficult to insert the pins vertically, you can insert them horizontally. Just make sure the pins are perpendicular to the hemline to avoid any puckering or unevenness in the finished hem.

By measuring and marking the hem correctly, you are setting yourself up for success when it comes to hemming your pants. Taking the time to accurately measure, mark, and pin the hemline will ensure that your pants are the perfect length and will have a professional-looking finish.

So grab your measuring tape, fabric marker, and pins, and let’s get started!

Sewing the New Hem

Set up your workspace

Before you start hemming your pants, it’s important to set up a clean and organized workspace. Clear a flat surface and gather all the necessary tools, such as a needle, thread, pins, and scissors. Make sure you have good lighting so you can see your stitches clearly.

Thread the needle and knot the end

Thread your needle with a suitable thread color that matches the fabric of your pants. To prevent the thread from slipping out, knot the end of the thread. If you’re having trouble threading the needle, try wetting the end of the thread or using a needle threader.

Sew a straight stitch along the pinned hemline

Start sewing by placing the needle through the fabric from the inside, near the hemline. Pull the thread through until the knot catches. Then, insert the needle back into the fabric a short distance away and bring it up again, creating a straight stitch.

Repeat this process along the entire hemline, making sure to keep your stitches even and secure.

Try the pants on to check length

Once you have sewn the new hem, it’s important to try the pants on to check the length. Put them on and stand in front of a mirror to see if the length is to your liking. If the pants are too long, you can always go back and adjust the length before finishing the hem.

Remove pins and press hem

After you have confirmed the length is correct, carefully remove any pins that were holding the original hem in place. Finally, use a hot iron to press the new hem, making it crisp and flat. This step will give your pants a professional finish and help the stitches to hold better.

Hemming pants with a needle and thread may take a bit of patience and practice, but with these steps, you’ll be able to achieve a well-finished hem that will make your pants look great again!

Finishing Touches

When it comes to hemming pants with a needle and thread, the finishing touches are what truly make the difference. These final steps ensure that your hem looks clean, professional, and well-crafted. Here are some tips to consider for giving your hem that polished look.

Clean up rough edges

Before you begin sewing, it’s important to clean up any rough edges. This means trimming any stray threads or frayed fabric. By doing this, you’ll create a neater and more professional-looking hem. Take a pair of sharp scissors and carefully snip away any loose threads or uneven fabric.

This small step can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your hem.

Consider adding decorative stitches

For those who want to add a touch of creativity to their hems, consider adding decorative stitches. This can be a fun way to personalize your pants and add a unique flair. You can choose from a variety of decorative stitches, such as zigzag, scallop, or even embroidery stitches.

Experiment with different thread colors and styles to find the perfect decorative stitch for your pants. Not only will this enhance the look of your hem, but it will also showcase your sewing skills.

Steam or iron over the hem

Once you’ve finished sewing your hem, it’s important to give it a final touch of care. Steam or iron over the hem to ensure that it lays flat and looks crisp. This will help to eliminate any wrinkles or creases that may have formed during the sewing process.

A well-pressed hem gives your pants a polished and professional appearance. Remember to use the appropriate heat setting for the fabric you’re working with to avoid damaging it.

By following these finishing touches, you can elevate your hemming skills and achieve beautifully tailored pants. Whether you’re hemming a pair of jeans or dress pants, these steps will ensure that your finished product looks great and stands the test of time.


Hemming pants is an essential sewing skill that allows you to customize the length of your clothes for the perfect fit. With the simple supplies outlined above and these step-by-step instructions, you can easily adjust any pair of pants to just the right length.

Remember to take it slow, follow the hem marking closely, and don’t worry about making mistakes. With a little practice your garments will look professionally hemmed in no time. You’ll never have to live with an ill-fitting pair of pants again!

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