How to Hem Jeans Without A Sewing Machine

The jeans are my favorite apparel for all. The ease of wearing and it’s low maintenance makes it a go-to garment for all casual occasions. Once purchased, you can use it for years without worrying about it getting torn or faded. 

But getting the jeans of the right fit is rather difficult. Unless you custom-make the jeans, it will either be too long or loose. The best way is to get jeans in the right fit, and then adjust the length by hemming it.

How to Hem Jeans Without a Sewing Machine?

Usually, the hemming of jeans is done with a sewing machine as the jeans is a thick fabric. But it is also possible to hem jeans by hand. Hemming the jeans involves the following steps

  • Mark the portion you want to shorten.
  • Fold the jeans.
  • Start stitching the jeans.
  • Iron the jeans. 

Steps to Hem Jeans without a Sewing Machine

For hemming jeans, you need the following

  • Jeans
  • Sewing gauge or measuring tape
  • Marking pen or fabric chalk
  • Pin
  • Thick needle and thread
  • Iron

How to Hem Jeans By Retaining The Original Hem


Step 1 – Mark the portion you want to shorten


This is the first step in the hemming process. It is best to wear jeans and get the help of someone else to do the marking for you. If possible, stand in a small stool while measuring. This way you will get the right measurement. In case you are shortening the jeans for someone else and the person is not present, then you should get a pair of jeans of the correct length for making adjustments. 

Now, use a sewing gauge (a ruler with a sliding marker) to measure the length you want to shorten. If you do not have one, a normal measuring tape will also do the trick. Now with a washable fabric marker, you should mark the length you want to shorten. For eg; if you want to shorten one inch of the jeans, put a mark one inch from the bottom. 

You should make the marking at multiple points of the leg so that you get the same fold throughout. 


Step 2 – Fold the jeans


Once both the legs are marked, you should carefully fold the jeans. It is best to lay the jeans on a flat surface and fold so that you do not make any mistake. When this is done, the wrong side will come out. 

You should fold the same measurement on both the legs. Now, iron the legs so that the folds remain in place. You can also use pins to hold the folds in place.


Step 3 – Start stitching the jeans


Once folded, you can start stitching the jeans below the old hem. You can use a backstitch for a better grip. Now, you will be stitching two layers of jeans. While stitching, make sure that the needle does not cut across the leg of the jeans. Remember to remove the pins as you sew.  

Since you are sewing by hand, you should make sure that the stitches are of equal distance. Also, try to stitch as close to the original hem as possible so that the stitch is not visible. Now fold the original hem downwards so that it is visible from outside. 


Step 4 – Iron the jeans


Now using a steamer iron, remove the wrinkles on the jeans. This makes the fabric flat, and provides a perfect finish to the hemmed jeans. 

How to Hem Jeans By Creating A New Hem

Another method is to cut off the old hem and stitch a new one. For this, follow the below steps. 


Step 1 – Mark the hem


Wear jeans and mark the area where you want to cut it off. Now take out the jeans and draw a straight line over the marking. This will be the bottom of your jeans. Now draw a line ½ inch above and ½ inch below the new hemline. Now you will have three lines parallel to each other. 


Step 2 – Cut the excess cloth


Now you should cut the jeans through the bottom line. This is the extra length of the jeans that you do not require. Now you are left with two parallel lines


Step 3 – Fold the fabric


Now fold the fabric from the original hemline to the line above it. This is the new hem. Iron the new hem so that it stays in place. You can even pin it up. 


Step 4 – Sew the new hem


Now you can proceed to sew the hem with a thread of your choice. You can sew a straight line stitch but make sure that the stitches are even. You should remove the pins as and when you sew. 

How to Hem Jeans Without Stitching? 

Hemming jeans can be done even without stitching. Stitch witchery can be used to hem the jeans and adjust its length. 

Stitch witchery is a fusible tape that can bond two layers of fabric together. It is machine washable and dry cleanable and comes in different sizes and weights.

To hem jeans using stitch witchery, follow the below steps:

  1. Measure the length of the jeans and mark the length you want to shorten. 
  2. Fold the jeans to the desired length and pin it up using a sewing pin. While folding, you should make sure that all sides are folded equally. 
  3. Now cut the stitch witchery about 2-3 inches in length. This will be used for bonding the fabric layers. 
  4. Heat the iron in the cotton setting. 
  5. Place one strip of stitch witchery inside the folded area and place the hot iron above the garment for a few seconds. This will bind the two layers. You should read the instructions in the stitch witchery package and follow the same. 
  6. Repeat this with other strips of stitch witchery till one leg is completed. 
  7. Wait for a few minutes till the bonding is completely cooled. Now you can check to see whether the folded area is bound properly. 
  8. Repeat the same process for the other leg. 

What to Consider While Hemming Jeans?

  • Prewash the jeans: Denim tends to shrink a bit after one wash. Thus, it is a good idea to prewash the jeans before hemming. This will also soften the fabric and makes it easy to sew. Also, remember to wash the jeans with like-colored clothes so that the look is not spoiled. 


  • Use the right needle and thread: Jeans are tough fabric. Thus, remember to go for new and thick needles for hemming. You can practice with scraps of denim before trying on the final garment. Similarly, the thread should also be thick so that it does not break easily. You do not want the thread in the middle of sewing. 


  • Use sharp scissors for cutting: Fraying of edges is a common problem in jeans. Using sharp scissors helps reduce fraying to a certain extent. You can also use zig-zag stitch in the seam tucked inside to reduce fraying. 

Guidelines for Hemming Different Types of Jeans

The main thing to consider while hemming jeans is the location of the original hem. This depends on the style of jeans

Skinny jeans: These are slim fit jeans that provide a snug fit through the legs. The leg opening for such jeans will be narrow. The hem of skinny jeans should fall at the top of the angle for that perfect fit. 

Straight jeans: As the name suggests, this type of jeans will have a straight cut from the hip to the angle. The straight jeans normally extend till the ankle. Thus, the hem of straight jeans should fall at the bottom of the ankle. 

Boot cut jeans: This type of jeans has a tight fit from thigh to knee and then flares out as you go down. Thus the hem of the jeans should be ¼-½” below the ankle.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *