Tips For How To Shorten Jeans! Easy step by step method!

Easy ways to shorten jeans!

The problem most have with getting jeans shortened is that they don't look the same anymore once the original hem has been cut. Here I'll give you the basic and easy way.

The problem most have with getting jeans shortened is that they don't look the same anymore once the original hem has been cut. Here I'll give you the basic and easy way.

This is the scoop. To make a jean hem look the same as when purchased and still have that professional look you have to match the top stitching thread as close as possible in color. For instance most Levis have that mustardy faded colored stitching. Actually it's next to impossible to find the exact shade because jeans after having been sewn go through a couple of procedures of preshrinking, fading, etc. also denims are sewn with a heavier gauge of thread. With other words most of the shades of topstitching thread you see on your jeans do not exist as ready to buy thread.

If you don't have time to hunt for just the right thickness and shade here is

tip #1:

Double the thread on your bobbin (try just a small amount to make sure your sewing machine will sew with it. The older machines will happily sew away with most thicknesses, the computer sensored machines might be a bit more finicky.)

This is also gives you another bonus when trying to match the top stitching thread color a bright yellow just wont do, but if combined with a brown, dark tan, rust, or maybe even a khaki together they will give you just the right shade.

Experiment: also remember that the color of new thread still has that crispy and shiny look and might be a bit too brilliant at first but this will change slightly after the jeans have been washed a time or two. The dye still left in the jeans will also help to discolor the thread.

Tip #2:

Instead of using a regular heavy needle use a leather sewing needle in your machine. (Your fabric and notions stores sell them) This will give your machine the extra edge... These needles have a sharp 'knife-y' tip that will actually cut through the heavy fabric. These leather sewing needles are also called wedge tip or wedge point tip

Tip #3:

Trim the seams...Work jeans have double or triple tops stitched seams on both the side seam and inseam, fashion jeans (most of the time) just on the side seams. With your sharp and pointy scissors clip away some of the extra thickness of those seams about 1"/2.5cm up.

Tip #4:

Bang, bang, bang with your most expensive fancy dancey jean hemming tool. (hamma) Okay, you're saying what? I'm serious... One of my important sewing tools is a small hammer. When shortening jeans it comes in most handy.

( Just a quick funny story... A couple of years back I had demonstrated how to shorten a pair of jeans to one set of my evening sewing classes students... I called my hammer "my handy dandy jeans hemming tool" the next week one of my students was all upset and asked where she could find just such a tool... she had been in every sewing store in the city and no-one had ever heard of it... I couldn't come up with an answer for a minute or two... I had the hardest time not to fall apart laughing... it was a little hammer for crying out loud... I'm proud of how I informed her that she possibly could check for a small hammer at the hardware store... In her defense the hammer I use is more then 60 years old, it came from my Dads set that I used when I was "working" with him as a small child "fixing pieces of scrap wood". This little hammer looks quite different from others as it has a small wedge shaped metal head on a wooden handle... )

The regular jean hem is a double folded 5/8"/1.5cm. Start sewing your hem just past the inseam-

These are the steps I follow:

1. Measure 1.5"/3.75cm longer then the desired length of jeans

2. Cut

3.Match bobbin thread in color and thickness as close as possible

4.Trim seam thickness about 1"/2.5cm up (both side & inseam)

5.Roll 5/8"/1.5cm twice

6.Start sewing hem slowly just past the inseam

7.Stop sewing with your needle in the fabric every couple of inches and re-roll

8.When coming close to the side seam have it rolled and gently give it a few taps with your hammer to flatten out the seam

9.Slowly sew over seam & continue to inseam and repeat same step

Bragging time---YEAH---you did it

pictures courtesy www.sxc.hu

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Comments 48 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Tall guy jeans, thanks for taking a look and for commenting. Sorry it took so long to reply I was away and had very poor internet reception.

regards Zsuzsy


Tall Guy Jeans 4 years ago

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Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thank you Tall Guy Jeans, for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


Tall Guy Jeans 4 years ago

Hi,

I am glad to see that awesome blog. This content has great information about men inseam jeans. It provide the knowledge of tall mans and women clothes. Thanks for a shearing such a great knowledge.

Thanks a lot for this blog

tallguyjeans.com


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Anna141,ahhhhhh you're liking "my handy dandy jeans hemming tool". It works well, I just used it not more then an hour ago when I shortened my daughters boyfriends jeans.

Glad you dropped by, thanks for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


Anna141 4 years ago

Luv, luv, luv the hammer idea. I've got to take up some regular length jeans for my petite & pregnant daughter. I can't wait to try this tip!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thank you, dusy7969, for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


dusy7969 profile image

dusy7969 5 years ago from San Diego, California

Great hub.This hub is very interesting ,amazing and useful.You tell the good tips in this hub.I adopt this tips that is very amazing.So thanks a lot for this good sharing.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thank you, Water Damage, for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


Water Damage profile image

Water Damage 5 years ago

Nice hub Zsuzsy, very nice tips on cutting down a pair of jeans. Keep up the good stuff.

Dan with mens jeans


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

best skinny jeans, Thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


best skinny jeans 5 years ago

This is awesome. The easiest way to cut jeans and still looks great.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Kids Jeans, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

I hope you're having a nice holiday season

regards Zsuzsy


Kids Jeans 5 years ago

That's so neat. I often find jeans for my daughter that are perfect for her waist but always too long.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

creativelycc, thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


creativelycc profile image

creativelycc 6 years ago from Maine

Great article, I will definitely follow these instructions the next time I have to hem a pair of jeans.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Lena, thanks for taking a look and for commenting. The leather sewing needles help your sewing machine as they cut right through the multi layers of denim. If you have a chance they're well worth the money spent on them. (Just remember to take the needle out and store till the next time you hem jeans, the leather sewing machine needles can damage fine fabric). Good luck

regards Zsuzsy


Lena M. profile image

Lena M. 7 years ago from Toronto

I might be a little late on commenting on this, but I guess I will anyway..

This was a very helpful hub! I'm short (and therefore have short legs) so I spend a lot of money getting pants hemmed (when I do, most of the time I'm too lazy to for casual pants). I'll use some of your tips with my sewing machine. I don't have a leather sewing needle though. Yet.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

RGraf! As long as I can remember I don't think I ever had to buy my kids shorts for the summer. They always grew too fast and all the pants got to be too short before they could outgrow them. So shorts they became.

Thanks for taking a look and for commenting

regards Zsuzsy


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Thanks for the info. My son has several jeans that have no knees in them, but will make great shorts :)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thanks Dr.Beth for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


betherickson profile image

betherickson 7 years ago from Minnesota

You did a really great job, Zsuzsy Bee. I learned a lot here. The idea about the hammer is a good advice. :) Thumbs up!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Debbie! A hammer in the sewing kit makes real good sense as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for taking a look regards Zsuzsy


Debbie Cook profile image

Debbie Cook 8 years ago from USA

The hammer is definitely one the must haves in my sewing kit! :-)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

EarthAngel that article on shrinking jeans etc is excellent straight down to point. May I link it to this hub here? let me know-----zs


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Patty! have a look at the list I gave Compu-smart. Those were all used on poor defenseless jeans and pants in emergencies by some of my more "creative" customers. I forgot the stud earrings... regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Compu-smart! You bet the hamma' is my handy-dandy-hemming-tool.

Superglu? doesn't it bleed thru? I thought I've seen it all. that a new one. Duct-tape, paperclips, masking-tape, chewing gum, nails, staples, bedazzler , sewn up by hand using thick wool, tacked up on the inside up to the knees (very short lady), and I saved the best one for last wooden toothpicks...

Thanks for coming by and for commenting regards Zsuzsy


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

E.A. - I HAVE used a stapler in emergencies. LOL


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 8 years ago

Super Glue!! Why didn't I think of that!! Go compu-smart!! No, sweet Zsuzsy, I never thought I was the one who invented such funny remedies!! Buttonier anyone?? Thanks for providing all the chuckles!! Blessings always, Earth Angel!!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

A hammer?!! that's new to me! lol,

I used to use super glue, to shorten my jeans when they were too long and i remember having to try to un glue them when i started growing taller to make jeans longer again!!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Earth Angel! I hate to say this but You are not the only one who ever thought of staples. I was the most unfortunate sucker who had to take out a half a pound of staples out of each leg of a welders work pants. He had stapled his 8" excess hem. I should have charged him fifty bucks to shorten them because it took so long but I thought it sure was funny.

Great that you were able to come for a visit. regards Zsuzsy


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 8 years ago

What!! Has no one yet offered up my favorite hemming stand-by?? A stapler!! Really tacky, I know!! I know there must be some scotch tape fans out there!!?? I can just see Zsuzsy rolling her eyes!!

Blessings always sweet pea, Earth Angel!!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Marisa! How the world treating you? Are you on spring break? That sucks about your sewing machine. After the fire a couple of years back when all my machines were destroyed I felt as if my right hand was missing. It had been the first time in 35 years that I was without.

I have no idea what to do with the RSS feed, after all that reading about it and I'm still not any wiser... I need a dunce cap and stand in the corner I guess

Take care and thanks for coming over for a visit regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Dottie1! Those leather sewing needles really help a sewing machine to get through the many thicknesses of denim as does the old hamma' and the trimming of the excess. Let me know how it goes for you next time you shorten jeans.

glad you came by to take a look regards Zsuzsy


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 8 years ago from Sydney

Love the story about the hammer LOL! My sewing machine got stolen in a house move some years ago and I never replaced it, so I get all my clothes professionally hemmed now. Obviously some "professionals" haven't read your tips because they're not always that good at it.

Maybe this will inspire me to go out and buy a new machine!

BTW, the RSS feed isn't showing?


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

So it's the leather sewing needles I need for cutting through the thick fabric. Thank you much for tip #2. I'll also have to try the old handy dandy jeans hemming tool. lol A great hub. thumbs up.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Patty! Of course this way will work for shortening casual pants too. You should try to find stretch jeans. I bet once you find a pair that fit's well you'll never want to wear anything else. I just love what they've been able to do by adding spandex into denim. If you can't get them off the rack get a good dressmaker to make you some from scratch.

This was the first September in 26 years that I didn't shorten many dozens of pants for school start. I miss not having my sewing shop anymore. However I can honestly say that I do not miss having to work 65-70 hours a week to make ends meet.

Glad that you popped in regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

ConstantWalker! I don't remember ever buying a pair of shorts. I always just shorten pants into them (but I hem mine). As the owner of a tailor shop I didn't think it was that appropriate for my kids to go around in frayed jeans. Man-o-man did we have arguments, the nagging didn't seem to stop. Now that they're all grown up they still bring their pants and jeans to mom to shorten...

Thanks for coming by for a visit regards Zsuzsy


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Most excellent!

Since no jeans ever fit me and my only pair turned my legs blue as a youth, I will ntt shorten any, but perhaps this will work with other trousers. :)

Thumbs up!


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 8 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Great advice, Zsuzsy. After I own a pair of long jeans for a couple of years (and rarely wear them) I shorten them to just below the knee, then I get a lot of wear out of them. I always leave about a quarter of an inch to allow for fraying, but the good ones won't do that much.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

icepricessa! Thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


icepricessa profile image

icepricessa 8 years ago from Singapore

That is such wonderful advice! Thanks for sharing =)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Susan! I love to wear jeans because denim one of the fabrics that does not hang on to all the fuzz that's hanging around a sewing shop. So I too have quite a few pairs in my closet.

Talk to you soon zs


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Earth Angel! Thanks for taking a look and for commenting. I would love to have a dollar in my bank account for every pair of pants and jeans that I've ever shortened.

glad you came by regards Zsuzsy


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Susan! Always glad when you drop in for a visit. According to most companies the average pants are made for 5'6" to 5'8" tall lady's that's about 30-32" inseam. Petits inseams used to be 28" average... in the last few years they have been 29.5".

Thanks for commenting regards Zsuzsy


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I only have 2 pair of jeans right now :)


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 8 years ago

Hey Zsuzsy Bee!!

Great advice!!

You are a busy bee!! Yep, I concur!! I wear petites and it just looks funny to shorten regular jeans for me!! The "knee" part is down around my calves!! Alas, I even have to shorten petites, just less!!

I wrote a really simple Hub in the beginning of my tenure about Shrinking Jeans http://hubpages.com/style/How-to-Shrink-Jeans that has gotten more visitors than any I have written on profound issues!! Go figure!!

How many pairs of jeans do we each have in our closets?? (I have 33 and am mot even much of a jean wearer!!) How many fit?? (25) How many need alterations of some kind?? (Most!!)

There are many companies, like Liz Claiborn, that give $10-20 trade-in credit for each pair of slightly used (even out of style) jeans, toward a pair that fit better!! Since I couldn't thread a needle if my life depended on it, I have used this option many times!!

Thanks again for sharing!!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!!


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Great advice. I always have to have pants shortened unless I buy petite.

Thanks :)

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