How To Shorten Bootcut Jeans Without A Sewing Machine

If you have a pair of bootcut jeans that are too long, you may be wondering if there’s a way to shorten them without having to break out the sewing machine. The good news is that there are several no-sew methods you can use to easily adjust the length of your jeans.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to effortlessly shorten your bootcut jeans using supplies you likely already have at home.

Assess How Much You Need to Shorten Your Jeans

Try on the jeans and determine where you want the hem to hit

Before you start shortening your bootcut jeans, it’s important to try them on and decide how short you want them to be. Consider the style and look you’re going for. Do you want them to hit at your ankle or slightly above?

Take into account your personal preference and the overall proportions of your body. Remember, you can always trim more off later if needed, but it’s harder to add length back once it’s been cut.

Mark the jeans with pins or chalk to note how much needs to be trimmed

Once you’ve decided on the desired length, use pins or chalk to mark where you want to trim the jeans. Start by folding up the excess fabric evenly around both legs. This will help ensure that the jeans are shortened symmetrically.

Use pins to secure the fold, or if you prefer, you can use chalk to draw a line to indicate where the new hemline will be. Make sure the line is straight and even all the way around both legs.

Pro tip: If you don’t have any pins or chalk, you can use adhesive tape or even hair ties to temporarily mark the jeans. Just make sure they are easily removable and won’t damage the fabric.

It’s important to note that the amount you need to trim may vary depending on the style of your bootcut jeans and your personal preference. Some bootcut jeans have a wider flare at the bottom, so you may need to trim more fabric to achieve the desired length.

Others have a smaller flare, so less trimming may be necessary.

Remember, it’s always better to start with a smaller trim and make adjustments as needed. You can always cut off more if the length is still too long, but you can’t add fabric back once it’s been cut. Take your time and measure twice before making any cuts to ensure you achieve the perfect length for your bootcut jeans.

Fold and Pin the Hem

Lay the jeans flat and fold up the hem to the desired length

When shortening bootcut jeans without a sewing machine, the first step is to lay the jeans flat on a clean surface. Make sure the jeans are fully stretched out and smooth. Next, decide on the desired length for your jeans and fold up the hem accordingly.

You can use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure the hem is even on both legs.

It’s important to note that folding the hem will create a temporary solution. If you’re looking for a more permanent alteration, consider using fabric glue or taking them to a tailor.

Pin the folded hem in place temporarily

After folding the hem, use small pins to secure it in place temporarily. Start by pinning the outer edge of the folded hem, and then work your way around the entire circumference of the jeans. This will help keep the hem in place while you wear the jeans and prevent it from unraveling.

Using pins allows you to easily adjust the length if needed before making any permanent alterations. If you’re not confident in your pinning skills, you can also use fabric clips or even hair clips as an alternative.

Remember, this method is a quick fix for shortening bootcut jeans without a sewing machine. For a more professional and long-lasting alteration, it’s best to consult a tailor or use a sewing machine.

Methods for Shortening Without Sewing

When it comes to shortening bootcut jeans without a sewing machine, there are several methods you can try. These methods are perfect for those who don’t have access to a sewing machine or simply prefer not to sew.

Here are five different techniques you can use to achieve the desired length for your jeans:

1. Use iron-on hem tape

If you want a quick and easy solution, iron-on hem tape is your best friend. This double-sided adhesive tape is designed specifically for hemming garments without the need for sewing. Simply fold the hem to the desired length, place the tape between the layers of fabric, and use an iron to activate the adhesive.

This will secure the hem in place, giving your bootcut jeans a clean and professional look.

2. Apply fabric glue inside the fold

Another option is to use fabric glue to hold the hem in place. Fold the hem to the desired length and apply a thin layer of fabric glue inside the fold. Press the fabric together firmly and let it dry according to the glue manufacturer’s instructions.

Fabric glue is a strong adhesive that can withstand regular wear and tear, making it a reliable choice for shortening your bootcut jeans.

3. Use fashion tape to secure the hem

If you’re looking for a temporary solution, fashion tape can come to the rescue. This double-sided tape is commonly used in the fashion industry to prevent wardrobe malfunctions. To use fashion tape for shortening your jeans, fold the hem to the desired length and place strips of tape along the inside of the fold.

Press the fabric together firmly to secure the hem. Keep in mind that fashion tape is not as durable as other methods, so it’s best suited for occasions where you need a quick fix.

4. Stitch the hem with a needle and thread using a basic stitch

If you’re comfortable with a needle and thread, you can manually stitch the hem of your bootcut jeans. Use a basic stitch, such as a straight stitch or a whipstitch, to secure the folded hem in place. This method requires a bit more time and effort compared to the previous options, but it offers a more permanent solution.

Make sure to choose a thread color that matches your jeans to create a seamless finish.

5. Use hem clips to fasten the fold

Hem clips are small tools specifically designed to hold fabric folds in place. To use hem clips for shortening your bootcut jeans, fold the hem to the desired length and clip the fabric together using the hem clips. These clips are adjustable, allowing you to customize the length of your jeans.

Hem clips are a great option if you want to try out different lengths before committing to a permanent alteration.

Remember, each method has its own pros and cons. Choose the one that best fits your preferences and needs. And don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with your jeans! With these techniques, you can easily achieve the perfect length for your bootcut jeans without a sewing machine.

Finish the Shortened Hem

Try on the jeans and double check the length

After you have folded and pinned the hem, it’s time to try on the jeans and assess the length. This step is crucial to ensure that you have achieved the desired length for your bootcut jeans. Take a moment to stand in front of a mirror and evaluate how they look.

Are they hitting at the right spot on your legs? Do they look balanced and proportional? If not, don’t worry – there’s still room for adjustment.

Make any final adjustments needed to the hem

If you find that the jeans are still a bit longer than you’d like, you can make some final adjustments to the hem. One simple trick is to fold the hem up a bit more, creating a narrower cuff. This can instantly shorten the length and give your jeans a more tailored look.

Alternatively, if you feel that the jeans are too short, you can unfold the hem slightly to add a bit of extra length. Remember, it’s all about finding the perfect balance that suits your style and body shape.

Trim any excess fabric extending past the fold

Once you are satisfied with the length of your bootcut jeans, it’s time to trim any excess fabric that may be extending past the fold. This step is important for a clean and polished finish. Use a pair of sharp scissors to carefully cut off the excess fabric, making sure to leave a small allowance.

This allowance will prevent the hem from unraveling over time. Take your time and be cautious not to cut too close to the fold, as this can compromise the integrity of the hem.

Remember, practicing patience and precision is key when shortening bootcut jeans without a sewing machine. By following these steps and making any necessary adjustments, you can achieve a professional-looking hem that will make your jeans feel like they were custom-made for you.

Caring for Your Shortened Jeans

Once you have successfully shortened your bootcut jeans without a sewing machine, it’s important to take proper care of them to ensure they last and maintain their new length. Here are some tips for caring for your shortened jeans:

Wash the jeans before wearing to set any adhesive used

Before wearing your shortened jeans, it’s a good idea to give them a wash. This will help to set any adhesive that was used to secure the new hem. Check the care label on your jeans for specific instructions on how to wash them, as different fabrics and dyes may require different care methods.

It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid damaging the jeans.

Be gentle when laundering to avoid unraveling the hem

When it comes to laundering your shortened jeans, it’s important to be gentle to avoid unraveling the hem. Turn your jeans inside out before washing to protect the outer fabric. Use a gentle cycle and avoid using harsh detergents or bleach.

It’s also a good idea to wash your jeans with similar colors to prevent any color bleeding. If possible, air drying your jeans is recommended to prevent any shrinkage or damage from high heat.

Avoid pulling or tugging on the shortened hem

While wearing your shortened jeans, it’s important to avoid pulling or tugging on the shortened hem. This can cause strain on the stitches or adhesive used to secure the new hem, potentially causing it to come undone.

Be mindful when putting on and taking off your jeans, and avoid excessive stretching or pulling at the hem. By being gentle and mindful, you can ensure that your shortened jeans stay in great condition for longer.

Remember, properly caring for your shortened jeans will not only help them last longer, but also maintain their new length. Don’t let the lack of a sewing machine stop you from enjoying your favorite bootcut jeans at the perfect length!


With just a few simple tools and these no-sew techniques, you can easily customize the length of your bootcut jeans. Hemming jeans without a sewing machine takes a bit of handiwork, but the results will look professionally finished.

Now your jeans can have the perfect cropped length you want without any frustrating trips to the tailor.

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