Get a perfect fit with smart denim hemming.

How to Hem Jeans & Make Them Look Store-Bought

by Michelle Powell-Smith

If you're petite or just have shorter-than-average legs, finding jeans that fit is a challenge. Hemming jeans the traditional way leaves you with a hem that looks homemade, rather than store-bought. A simple technique change will let you preserve the store-bought hem while eliminating the unwanted extra length from your jeans. You can hem men's, women's and kids' jeans the same way.

Wash and dry your jeans. Try them on with the shoes you intend to wear and mark the perfect length using a fabric marker. Measure five-eighths of an inch above the marked line and mark the jeans again.

Fold up the bottom of the pant leg. Align the bottom edge of the original hem of the jeans with the higher of the two marked lines, allowing the original hem to extend past the marked line. Pin into place.

Stitch along the edge of the hem, working slowing and carefully. Use a denim needle in your sewing machine, working the machine by hand over the seams if needed. Reverse stitch to secure the thread.

Trim away the excess fabric. Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch and sew over the raw edges. Trim any dangling threads.

Items you will need

  • Jeans
  • Fabric marker
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Denim needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match the denim
  • Scissors


  • If you have a serger, you may use it to trim and finish the edges in a single step.


  • Be certain to use a needle designed for denim in your machine. Lighter weight needles will break.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images