How To Hem Sleeves On A Sweater

The best part about fall clothes is that you do not have to throw them away; you can always mend or revamp them and wear a completely new look. If the sleeves of your sweater have stretched, you can hem them and make it look new. Read on to learn how you can hem sleeves on a sweater.

How To Hem Sleeves On A Sweater

Sleeves of sweaters tend to stretch with time and get elongated if not taken care of appropriately while washing and drying them. To hem sleeves on a sweater, you can fold and tape it to get the length you want, or you can fold and stitch at the size you desire. You can choose to hand sew it or use a sewing machine to stitch with precision. Both ways, it will make your sweater wearable again.

What Do You Mean By Hem?

The hem is a sewing technique in which you turn or fold the edge of a material or garment and sew it. You can hem a sleeve, a skirt, pants or dress or any material for that matter. It mostly serves two purposes. First, it helps you secure the edges of the clothing and prevents threads from coming out. The second purpose is that you can shorten the length of a piece of garment.

To hem a material, you can utilize various ways to do it. One of them is just by using fabric tape and folding it. Another way to do it is you can fold it and then hem with stitches. Or you can also cut to a length as per your requirements and then sew it.

However, the way you hem a material also depends on the fabric you are working on. Folding and then going for a hem works well with inelastic fabrics. But you have to be cautious with materials such as knit or woven, which is stretchy. Sewing a hem would be a better decision.

Steps To Hem Sleeves of A Sweater

Hemming long sleeves to make it shorter is not a new practice. It has been going on for ages. It is a better option to hem a sleeve instead of discarding it because you do not like the sleeves’ length. There are several ways in which you can hem a sleeve. We have put forth a step-by-step process of one form of hemming a sleeve. Let us take a look at it.


  1. Sweater
  2. Stick Pins
  3. Scissors
  4. Sewing machine


Step 1: Put the sweater on a flat surface inside out.

Step 2: Mark the length you want it hemmed to with stick pins. It will help to keep the fabric in place while you sew the hem.

Step 3: Now, you have to measure an inch below and mark it again. It would be best to keep an extra inch so that there is room for error and because stretch materials need to be dealt with delicately.

Step 4: Cut the sleeve at the second line marked with the pins.

Step 5: In this step, you need to fold the sweater and pin on the shoulder seams to hold it together. The sleeves will be on top of the other. It is an excellent practice to make sure both the sleeves are cut accurately at the same length.

Step 6: Now, cut the second sleeve according to the first one.

Step 7: Put the sleeve under and start hemming it.

Step 8: You have the liberty to choose how to hem your sleeves. You can serge the edge of the material before you turn and start the hem.

Step 9: When you are sewing the hem, it would be best to keep in mind that the fabric is stretchy and that the stitch also has to be stretchable for better results. A narrow zigzag stitch will do fine for the hem.

Step 10: Let the sleeves glide through the machine and make sure that you do not push or pull the fabric. As It is a stretch material, it may stretch out and not deliver the expected results.

Voila! You have your hemmed sweater sleeves ready and entirely as good as new.

How To Hand Hem A Sleeve?

If you decide to hand hem a sleeve of your sweater, there are many ways of doing it. But we have rounded up one form of hand hemming and listed it in a step-by-step process. Without any delay, let us proceed.


The things that you will require to hand hem a sweater are as follows:

  1. Sweater
  2. Both sided fabric tape
  3. Thin cotton material
  4. Iron


Step 1: Put the sweater inside out on a flat surface.

Step 2: Take the sleeve and stick a line of fabric tape at the length you want to hem it.

Step 3: It would help if you take a broader tape if it is slightly far from the edges. You can take a thin strip of tape if it is nearer to the edge of the sleeve.

Step 4: Now, fold the edge evenly on the tape and give it a good press with your hand.

Step 5: Repeat the process on the other side of the sleeve.

Step 6: For the other sleeve, repeat Step 4 and 5.

Step 7: Take one of the sleeves, place the thin cotton material on it, and iron it. It would help if you turned the setting of the iron to woolen. Press Well and repeat the same on the other side.

Step 8: Again, for the other sleeve, repeat Step 7.

There you have it. An entire hand hemmed sleeve of your sweater without using any stitches and a sewing machine. It was not that tough after all! This method is comparatively more manageable if you want a small hem. Also, the process does not involve much of a hassle.

What Do You Do If Your Sweater Sleeves Are Too Long?

Sweater sleeves being too long is a prevalent issue if you wear an oversized one. Sometimes even the sweaters at your size tend to have sleeves that elongate with time. In such situations, you can either hem the sleeves or shorten them first and then hem them. Either way, your sweater will start looking as good as new. When you choose to sew them, you can use your hands or go for a few stitches on the sewing machine. And if you decide to shorten your sleeves and give it a new look, then first you have to cut them, then hem the edges.

Can You Hem A Sweater?

Sweaters, being made with stretchy materials, often pose various challenges when you want to hem it or alter it. But, yes you can hem a sweater. There is nothing that a good and well-equipped sewing machine cannot do. So, it will also take care of sewing your fall garment. It would help if you had adequate knowledge about the tension settings, type of presser foot, the needle, and the type of thread required for sewing on a knit fabric as your sweater. If you can match up all these settings and accessories, it will correctly hem your sweater. However, if you fail to do so, there are chances you may ruin your garment.

How Can You Make Sweater Sleeves Shorter?

When you are cleaning your wardrobe, you find many things that you had long forgotten. There will be at least one sweater you have not worn for years because it has long sleeves. Instead of just tossing the garment from one place to another, it would be best to revamp it and start wearing it again. You can make your sweater’s sleeves shorter by cutting it at the shoulder seam or shortening it to a mid-length, or hem the sleeves if they are not extraordinarily long.



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.

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