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How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem

Learn how to hem jeans by reusing the original hem. Shorten your denim pants and keep the same look!

Jeans are purchased with a loved and worn look. All the edges have a little bit of color loss. If your jeans are too long, then you don’t want to lose the unique details on the hem.

Learn how to hem jeans with the original hem so you can keep those special details. Another name for this method of hemming is a French hem like a French seam.

how to hem jeans with the original hem

Jeans are made out of denim or stretch denim fabric. There are all kinds of different colors of denim, but the most common color is and indigo navy color.

Denim is made with a twill weave that actually looks makes the fabric look like it goes diagonally. Here are some tips for sewing denim fabric.

Denim jeans are a staple in any closet and can be found to look dressy or casual, but almost all denim comes with some wear already added in high stress areas. This is the part that can make the jeans look expensive and high quality.

tips for sewing jeans

The one problem with buying any clothing from the store is that it fits an average measurement that doesn’t actually exist. It’s hard to get the exact right length of jeans.

They need to be hemmed shorter, but if you do a hem where you cut the fabric off you’ll lose all the wear and look. This method saves the original hem and stitching.

I will say the one drawback of this type of hem is that you can’t cuff the jeans if you have this hem. If you cuff the jeans you’ll see the hidden seam allowance inside.

If you want to sew a hem that can be cuffed, you can sew a regular double fold hem. If you are cutting your pants into shorts you can do a cuffed hem.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

You can kind of see the topstitching above the other stitching, but from far away nobody can see it.

The trick is to get thread that matches as closely as possible to the jeans. You don’t want jeans topstitching thread, you want a blue-ish gray thread that will look almost invisible once sewn.

Your pants are the right length without looking like they were hemmed! It’s the best trick for how to hem your jeans! This is one of the sewing and alterations you can do yourself!

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem


Put on the jeans and mark how much to need to shorten them. I recommend marking them when you are wearing the correct shoes and having someone else mark it for you.

Measure the amount to shorten the jeans. Divide the measurement by two.
My jeans needed to be shortened two inches so my result is one inch.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

One the inside of the pant leg mark the divided measurement up from the stitching line. This is the fold line.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Fold the fabric up on this line and pin all the way around the pant leg. Do the same to the other leg.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Sew with matching thread between the stitching line and the upper hem fold.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Trim the seam allowance to 1/2″ and serge or zigzag.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Press the seam allowance up into the pant leg. Use lots of steam and heat.

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Topstitch the seam allowance up towards the pant leg. Sew 1/8″ above the seam line with matching thread for invisibility.

Tack the fold up at each side seam by stitching in the ditch with matching thread.

Pinch Hem: A Hem That Looks Like The Original

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 hem jeans with the original hem

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Hi there, I am curious how these do after washing. Do they need ironed everytime or does the sewn hem stay put? Also should this be done on prewashed only or can brand new jeans be done before? Thank you for your guidance.

Which presser foot are you using for this? Total novice here 🤪

Omg!! This tutorial is just great! I just spent 2 hours trying to find something, ANYTHING that I could follow and I just so happened to come across this.

I don’t speak the sewing lingo so when some tutorials talked about switching feet and whatever else I was lost.

You just saved this mom a mental/emotional meltdown! TY!!

Thank you, thank you thank you.

I chose your tutorial over others because it seemed to be the clearest instructions for doing it “the right way”. I just finished hemming a pair of black jeans and they turned out great! Followed the video which made it very easy (‘cause I’m not an expert seamstress by any measure). Hmmmm, what other jeans need hemming…
Thank you!

Thanks for the tutorial, You have done a wonderful job, Um gonna try this at home while hemming my jeans. This is really inspiring.

Finally found the courage to try this tutorial. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long!! Who knew it's so EASY?! No telling how many times I've paid 10-12$ for an original hem at a tailors. NOT ANY MORE! Thank you for sharing.

It doesn't work unless it's straight leg style, right?

thanks I just did this and its fantastic! I bought a pair of jeans that were 4" too long cus it was a great deal! now I can finally wear them instead of the great deal sitting in a bag!

How does one do this with boot-cut jeans or other flared legs?

I tried this with my jeans and it works so good. I put some pictures of the jeans I hemmed on my blog and linked your blog there.


Hi, I found your blog through Totally Tutorials. Thank you for posting this, it is so helpful! I've got some jeans that need hemming, so I'm going to try this soon.

That is awesome! Especially since most home sewing machine cannot do that extra long stitch length. Thanks for sharing. Bookmarking this for sure.

This is such a good way to hem! Thanks for the tutorial!!

Love this! Perfect way to hem pants on a growing child as well! Thanks so much for the directions and photos!

i just figured out how to do this so they look profesh and real. been doing this all over the place lately. love it! great tutorial too:)