How To Hem Pants On A Sewing Machine


Sewing clothes at home is a great way to express your creativity, save money, and create unique pieces. One of the most popular projects for home sewers is hemming pants. Hemming pants on a sewing machine is a simple project that does not require any special knowledge. In this article, we will explain the steps needed to properly hem pants on a sewing machine.

Getting Started

The first step in hemming pants is to choose the right fabric. It is best to use a lightweight non-stretch fabric such as cotton or linen. It is important to choose a fabric that is strong enough to withstand the strain of the thread used for hemming. Once you have chosen the fabric, you will need to determine the length of the hem. Decide how long you want the finished hem to be and mark the desired length on the fabric.

Measuring and Cutting

Next, measure the hemline. Wrap a measuring tape around the leg of the pants and mark the length of the desired hem with a pin or chalk. You may want to add an extra centimeter or two to allow for minor adjustments. Once you have marked the hemline, cut the excess fabric, leaving a 2-3 cm allowance. Be sure to cut the fabric in a straight line.

Making the Hem

Once you have cut the excess fabric, it is time to make the hem. Start by folding the excess fabric inward so that the hemline is 1 cm above the desired length. Pin the fabric in place, making sure that the pins are aligned with the desired hemline. Once the fabric is pinned in place, set up your sewing machine.

Threading the Machine

Thread the machine with thread that matches the color of the fabric. Make sure to thread the machine correctly and secure the thread with a knot. Once the machine is set up, start sewing the hem. Start at the top of the hem and work your way down. Make sure to sew in a straight line and to back-stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Finishing Touches

When you are finished sewing the hem, trim any excess threads and press the hem with a hot iron. Be careful not to press too hard, as a hot iron can damage the fabric. You may also want to hand-stitch a few stitches to reinforce the hemline.

Reinforcing the Hem

Once the hem is finished, you may want to reinforce the stitching by adding a second row of stitches. To do this, sew a second row of stitches parallel to the first row of stitches. Be sure to use a thread that matches the color of the fabric, and make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Ironing the Hem

Once you have finished stitching the hem, you will need to press the hem with a hot iron. This will help to give the hem a clean, professional look. Make sure to press lightly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Checking for Mistakes

Before wearing the pants, it is important to check for mistakes. Make sure to check the length, alignment, and stitching of the hem. If you find any mistakes, you may need to revise the hem and start again.

Preserving the Fabric

Once the hem is in place, you can keep the fabric looking good for many years to come. The best way to do this is to avoid washing and drying the fabric too frequently. When the fabric does need to be washed, use a gentle, low-heat cycle and line dry the fabric.

Using the Right Needles

When hemming pants, it is important to use the correct needle. The type of needle you use will depend on the fabric you’re using. Generally, it is best to use light weight needles for lightweight fabrics and heavier needles for heavier fabrics.

Using a Serger

If you have a serger, you can use it to make a professional-looking hem. It is best to use a serger to finish the hem because it creates a stronger, more durable stitch. Make sure to adjust the settings on the serger for the best results.

Testing New Techniques

Once you have mastered the basics of hemming pants, you can begin experimenting with various techniques. Try using decorative stitches or adding a contrast stitch to your hemline. Experimenting with new techniques will help you develop your creativity and add uniqueness to your DIY projects.

Altering a Tapered Leg

When hemming a tapered leg, it is important to make sure that the hemline is evenly tapered. To do this, measure the leg circumference at different points along the hemline and adjust the hem length accordingly. This will help the hemline follow the contours of the leg and create a professional looking finish.

Using Fusible Interfacing

Using fusible interfacing can help to ensure that the hem is properly secured and stays in place. Before beginning the hem, apply a strip of fusible interfacing to the inside of the hemline. Make sure to use an interfacing that is specifically designed for the fabric you are hemming.

Using Sewable Patches

If you find a hole or tear in the fabric, you may want to use a sewable patch to repair it. Sewable patches are made of a strong, durable material that can be easily sewn into place. Once the patch is in place, you can finish the hem as normal.

Pressing and Starching the Hem

Once the hem is finished, you may want to press and starch the fabric to create a crisp, finished look. Starching the fabric will help keep the fabric looking crisp and will also help to protect the fabric from wear and tear. When starching the fabric, make sure to use a light touch and to let the fabric dry completely before wearing.

Attaching a Lining

You may also choose to attach a lining to the hem of your pants. A lining can help to reinforce the fabric and keep the hem looking neat. To attach the lining, simply sew the lining to the inside of the hem and press the fabric to help keep the hem in place.


If you encounter any problems while hemming your pants, it may be necessary to troubleshoot. Check your sewing machine, threads, and needles to make sure they are in good working condition. You may also want to check the stitches and seam allowances to make sure everything is in line. If any problems persist, don’t hesitate to consult a professional for help.

Safety Considerations

When hemming pants, it is important to take safety precautions. Wear protective clothing, including eye protection and gloves, when using a sewing machine. Make sure your work area is well-lit and free from clutter. Never leave the machine unattended when it is in use, and always unplug the machine when it is not being used.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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