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How to hem your jeans while keeping the original hem

Have you ever found the perfect pair of jeans, only to realise they are just a tad too long? Don't worry! Instead of settling for rolled-up or frayed hems, here's a simple sewing technique to shorten your jeans while keeping the original hem intact.

First, gather your materials: a pair of jeans, sewing pins, a measuring tape, a pair of fabric scissors, matching thread, and a sewing machine.

Step 1

Try on your jeans and fold the excess fabric up to the desired length. Use sewing pins to secure the fold. Make sure both legs are folded at the same length for a consistent look.

Step 2

Measure the length you want to shorten your jeans by, then add an extra inch for a seam allowance. This will be your cutting guide.

Chalk line drawn on jeans pant leg to denote cutting guideline

Step 3

With your jeans right side out, fold the cut edge up to the inside, aligning it with the original hem. Use pins to secure it in place. Make sure the original hem is fully exposed. 

Jeans pant leg folded over and pinned ready to sew

Step 4

Set your sewing machine to a straight stitch and select a thread colour that matches your jeans. Starting at one side seam, sew a few stitches to secure the folded edge to the original hem.

Step 5

Continue sewing around the entire leg, following the original hemline and removing the pins as you go. Sew as close to the edge as possible for a clean finish. Backstitch a few stitches at the end to secure the thread.

Step 6

Repeat steps 1-6 for the other leg, ensuring both legs are of equal length.

Step 7

Carefully cut the excess fabric. Trim any loose threads and give your jeans a quick press with an iron to eliminate any creases.
Small gold scissors being used to cut loose thread on jeans leg
Voila! You have successfully shortened your jeans while retaining the original hem. Now you can confidently rock your jeans with their perfect length, just as if they were tailored for you.
Hands holding hemmed jeans pant leg at hemline

As you have to be accurate on the line that you sew, please don't be disheartened if your first attempt isn't flawless. Take your time, focus on precision, and soon you'll be a pro at altering jean lengths while preserving the original hem. Happy sewing! 


I’d love to see if you attempt this project. It’s a great way to upcycle jeans you’ve found at the charity shop, or fit to your size if you find standard jeans far too long. Why not tag me in your jean hemming projects over at Instagram? Remember to tag Brother too on Instagram and Facebook too, so they can share and inspire others.

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