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Alter Clothes

How to Lengthen Pants

Learn how to lengthen pants by letting out the hem and rehemming with a hidden bias hem tape. This technique works well on dress pants.

I’m updating this post with some new pictures and more information. There’s a tutorial for lengthening skinny pants and a tutorial for lengthening cropped wide leg pants.

One uses single fold bias tape, and the other one uses a bias strip of fabric. The sewing technique for altering is similar for both pairs of pants.

how to lengthen pants

I have always had a problem finding long pants. Skinny fit make the search a little easier since the hem length can vary, but it’s still a problem I have when looking for pants, especially dress pants.

This works best with hems that don’t have any wear or discoloration on the bottom. These jeans are really worn out along the bottom, and it would be very obvious that they were lengthened if you try to lengthen them.

worn out pants hem

Do you want to learn how to alter and hem? Try one of these projects:

how to lengthen pants

How to Lengthen Pants

Lengthen Pants with Single Fold Bias Tape

supplies

  • A pair of pants the are a little too short – it works best with larger hems
  • Single fold bias tape – creates a 1/2 inch hem
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing tools

The original hem is a 1 inch double fold hem which means I can lengthen it about 1 inch.

1 inch hem double fold

Use a seam ripper to open up the original hem.

seam rip hem

Press the fabric flat to remove the folds.

press hem open and flat

Check for any discrepancies along the bottom of the pants. Sometimes the bottom of the pants don’t line up at the seam.

I like the measure down from the lowest fold to the shortest point on the pants which on this pair is 1/2 inch.

measure for any discrepancies

Mark 1/2 inch down from the lowest fold all the way around the pants. Do the same to the other side.

mark hem the same length

Trim the excess off.

trim hem the same length

Take your single fold bias tape and open the two folds. Fold the short end over 3/8 inch and pin it to the bottom of the pant leg. The raw edge of the bias tape should line up with the raw edge of the pants fabric.

pin bias tape one with fold

Pin the single fold bias tape around the bottom of the pants.

pin all the way around

Sew the bias tape onto the pants by sewing a straight line on the lower fold.

sew on fold closest to edge

Fold the bias tape over until it is inside the pants. Roll it up slightly until the bias tape does not show from the outside. Pin the bias tape in place.

fold bias tape up and pin

Sew the bias tape in place creating the new hem.

sew new hem and press in place

Press the new hem in place. You finished!

how to lengthen pants

lengthen pants with bias cut fabric strip

supplies

  • A pair of pants the are a little too short – it works best with larger hems
  • Strips of fabric cut on the bias, 1 inch to 2 inches wide
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing tools

The original hem is a 1 inch double fold hem which means I can lengthen it about 1 inch.

how to lengthen pants before

First, unpick the hem completely and press to remove the folds.

seam rip hem and press folds open

Then cut a long strip of fabric on the bias. I wanted a 1 inch hem so my strip is 2 inches thick. If you want the classic 5/8 inch hem then cut your strip 1.25″.

cut bias piece of fabric

You can also buy single-fold bias tape called “hem tape” instead of making your own. It looks like this.

optional buy wide bias hem tape

Lay the strip right sides together with one edge lining up with the bottom of the pants and sew 1/4 inch away from the edge.

line up edge of fabric with edge of pants

When you get back to where you started, overlap about an 1 inch.

sew around and overlap 1 inch

Push the seam allowance down towards the hem tape.

press everything down away from pants

Fold the fabric up to where it is sewn onto the pants.

fold edge up to stitching

Fold it up again with the raw edge tucked inside.

fold again tucking raw edge inside

Fold and pin the fabric all the way around the bottom of the pants.

fold and pin around hem

Sew around each leg. I sewed 1 inch from the fold. (For skinny leg openings it’s easier to sew while looking at the inside of the pants.)

sew new hem in place

Press the new hem really well.

press well

If you make something using this pattern, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

how to lengthen pants

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I don't know about jeggings, but I love leggings with tunics…because, for a totally different reason, I have a hard time finding pants that are comfortable around the waist. I bought some today that I am hoping I can alter in some way…any suggestions for adding an inch to the waist of pants??? If so, email me your advice…I was thinking of adding two small bits of elastic and inserting them into the waist band, sort of like old-man pants. Darn my genes! (like my pun?) Haha, thanks for the tutorial!

If you wear long shirts you can try the belly belt too… I've heard it works but I don't know for sure!

I started laughing as soon as I read this title…you say, "Why?" Well at 5'4"-I've just NEVER had that problem…quite the opposite actually! LOL

And may I say, you are a darling pregnant lady!