How to Hem Pants by Hand

How to hem pants by hand featured image

Recently I showed you all how to hem pants with a sewing machine, but not everyone wants to have tiny stitches that show (if you look closely) on the outside of the pant legs and some simply don’t have a sewing machine to do it with. Well, don’t worry because I’ll be showing you how to hem pants by hand. This technique will give you a stitch less look from the outside of the pant leg (or skirt or shorts really).

You will find the video tutorial down below or keep on scrolling to find step by step photo instructions as well.

Or watch it here on Youtube

How to Hem Pants by Hand Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Unpick the Existing Hem

Unpick existing hem

Unpick the existing hem with your quick un-pick. Tedious, but essential.

Step 2: Work Out the New Length For the Pants

make pant length with a pinI find one pin at the heel is ample when finding the correct length. You can pin the rest of the pant leg after they are taken off. Always get the person to wear the shoes that they will be wearing with the pants to be taken up. This way you will know where the pant legs go down to when you have the shoes on. If you are hemming the pants while you are wearing them, it may be helpful to do this in front of the mirror with a bit of trial and error seeing as the pant legs lift up when you bend over.

Step 2: Ensure the Pant Legs are Taken up Evenly all the Way Around

take up cuff same amount all the way around

Measure the distance from the top of the pant leg to the new fold created when the pin was placed for the new pant bottom. Measure the same distance all the way around the pant leg and place pins in to keep it in place.

Step 4: Keep 2-2 1/2″ (5-6cm) to Create the New Hem and Cut Off Excess Fabric

measure new hem

Measure and mark the amount of fabric you need for the new hem allowance. I like to keep about 2″ (5cm). This gives me enough fabric to turn the raw edge under and have just over 1″ (2 1/2cm) left for the new hem.

Cut off excess fabric

You won’t be needing that excess fabric, so you can get cutting and remove it.

Step 5: Make Note of your Hem Allowance, Remove Pins and Turn Pants Inside Out

remove pins and turn pants inside outNow that we have done all that prep work measuring the new hem, you will need to remove the pins and turn the pant legs inside out ready to do some ironing. ☺️

Step 6: Turn Hem Up by 2″ and Iron in Place

iron new hem

Once the pants have been turned inside out, turn the hem up by 2″ (or however much you had left for the seam allowance) and hit it with the iron.

Step 7: Hold the Hem in Place with a Few Pins

place pins to secure hem

Place a few pins around the ironed hem just to hold it all in place while you are hand stitching your hem.

Step 8: Grab Your Prepared Needle with a Single Thread and Tie a Knot in the End. Then Secure it to One of the Inside Leg Seams

secure thread to side leg seam

Prepare your needle with a single layer of thread that is a close match in colour with the pants. Tie a knot in the end of the thread and secure it to one of the inside leg seams by passing the thread through the seam and top hem fabric and then passing the needle through the loop of thread right before all of the thread finishes going through the fabric. Do this a couple of times to make that thread extra secure. Tuck the thread tail down into the hem (watch the video if that was jibberish to you. I have trouble explaining things in words sometimes ?).

Step 9: Get Stitching!

hem stitch

Now that your thread is secured to the seam of the pant leg you are ready to stitch. In the video (and photos) I’m working from left to right, as I am left handed. If you’re right handed you would work from right to left. Put the needle into the folded hem about 1/16″ (2mm) from the top and on an angle like in the moving photo above. Next, grab a thread or two from the third layer of fabric, directly behind where the needle came through the folded hem. Pull the thread all the way through and you have completed your first stitch. Start the next stitch about 1/4-1/2″ (1cm or so) from where the previous stitch came out of and repeat the process. Be sure to only grab the one or two threads from the third layer of fabric, as this is the layer that will be seen when the pants are turned right side out.

When you have stitched all the way around the hem, secure the thread like you did at the beginning in step 8.

Repeat with the other leg ?.

This is what your hem will look like from the outside of the pants….

pant view front

I used red thread and you can’t see it!

This is what your hem will look like on the inside….

pant view back hem

My first stitch was a bit long, but other than that you can get the idea of what the hem on the inside of the pant leg will look like.

I hope this tutorial has been useful for helping you learn how to hem pants by hand! Let me know how you go in the comments section below. ?

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See you next time and happy sewing!


How to Hem Pants by Hand



Posted on

21 September, 2015


  1. Coloursforbaby

    Very well explained. The video tutorial is very clear as well as the writtern explanation, thank you.

    • Domenica Tootell

      Thank you very much!

    • Domenica Tootell

      You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by ?




  1. Tutorial: Hem pants by hand – Sewing - […] How to Hem Pants by Hand, by Easy Sewing for Beginners […]

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