How to Hem Pants with a Sewing Machine using a Straight Stitch

How to Hem Pants Using a Sewing Machine Featured

If you’re short like me chances are you are going to need to take up new pants before you can ever wear them. Booo! In this tutorial I’m going to show you an easy way to take up your pants using a straight stitch on the sewing machine. I’ve include all the steps from working out what the new length is going to be all the way to sewing the new hem on your sewing machine. This method can be easily used for skirts and dresses as well. I hope you find this video useful! It will save you tons of money since you won’t need to pay someone to take up all your new pants for you!

If you want to hem dress pants, then I recommend doing that with a blind hem stitch on your sewing machine. You can also hem dress pants by hand (or this is a great way to do it if you don’t have a sewing machine).

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how to hem pants using a sewing machine straight stitch finish pants

Check out this round up of tutorials for mending clothes.

10 tutorials for mending clothes featured image

You can watch the full step by step video below or scroll on to see the steps in pictures and words

or watch it on YouTube

What You’ll Need to Hem Pants with a Sewing Machine

01 What you'll need


  • Pants to be hemmed
  • Matching thread and bobbin         


  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing machine needle (Universal 80/12 or 90/14 will be fine)
  • General scissors
  • Pins or Fabric Clips
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Pen or chalk

How to Hem Pants with a Sewing Machine

Step 1

Put the pants on and ensure you are wearing shoes that you would wear with the pants.

I find it easiest to fold the excess pant leg up on the outside until I find the desired new length. I place a pin in to hold it.

If you have someone to help you it’s much easier, but you can always do it yourself with the help of a mirror.

02 find desired new length

Step 2

Take the pants off and use your ruler to measure how far you turned the pant leg up.

Make sure the rest of the pant leg is turn up the same amount all the way around and use pins to hold in place.

Repeat with the other pant leg.

03 work out how far to fold up

Step 3

Now you need to work out how wide you want your new hem to be and then add on about 1/2” for turning your raw edge under. to avoid fraying.  My new hem is going to be 3/4” plus the 1/2” for turning under.

The total needed for my new hem is 1 1/4” so I need to meaure 1 1/4” from the bottom of my new pant leg all the way around. Use a pen or chalk to mark the line. **You may need to unpick the oringinal hem if you find you dont have enough excess fabric to create the new hem.

04 mark hem allowance

Step 4

Once you’ve marked the cutting line for both pant legs You’re almost ready to cut off the excess.Make sure you’ve made a note of your required measurements, as they will most probably be different to mine.

Remove the pins and turn the pants inside out.

05 turn pants inside out

Step 5

Cut along the pen or chalk line to remove the excess fabric.

06 cut off excess fabric

Step 6

With the pant leg inside out still, fold up your pant leg by whatever you allowed for your new hem. I allowed 1 1/4” so I will turn the pant leg up by 1 1/4”.

Iron a crease to help mark the new hem line at the bottom of the pant leg and to hold the new hem in place.

07 turn up hem allowance

Step 7

Once You have ironed all the way around the pant leg you need to tuck under the raw edge to stop fraying.

I’ve allowed 1/2” for turning under. As you turn under 1/2” you can iron  this in place as you go. I decided to pin instead. You can do both if you like.

Repeat with the other pant leg.

08 turn under raw edge

Step 8

Using a straight stitch on the sewing machine (or decorative one to make it a little more fancy!) stitch along the top of the new hem.

I like to start just after the inner leg side seam. Don’t forget to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of your sewing to stop the stitches from unravelling.

Repeat on the other pant leg.

09 sew using a straight stitch

Congratulations! You are done!

10 completed hem

I hope this tutorial has helped you learn how to hem pants. Such a useful skill to have!

Until next time, happy sewing!


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How to Hem Pants with a Sewing Machine Using a Straight Stitch

Posted on

19 May, 2016


  1. chellie

    Great tutorial, especially for someone like me who has no idea how to sew! Thanks for sharing at FTAF!!

    • Domenica Tootell

      Thank you very much and thanks for stopping by!


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