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How to Sew an Original Hem/Euro or Tricky Hem on Jeans

Updated on May 31, 2008

Euro or Tricky or Original Hem for Jeans

A Euro or European hem is also be called an original or a tricky hem and will give the appearance of the original factory hem. The other option is to hem the pants by simply folding and sewing -- and the result will be a hem that looks like you sewed it in junior-high sewing class.

Those of us who can't boast a 34" inseam (the standard for more jeans) and want a stylish jean, can either give up the $15 to $25 it costs to have a tailor use the original hem on your jeans or you can do it yourself.

We used it to Euro-hem a pair of Bella Elemento jeans, as well as a pair of Pine IV. Since we don't have access to our sewing machine (o.k., we can't find it), we sewed it by hand.

Hemming pants to the right length, and with the original hem can be a challenge, but if you don't rush through this project, you'll be pleased with the results and get better at the Euro hem the more you practice.

Hem Those Jeans!

1: Wash and dry jeans, at least once, before hemming.

2: Measure the original length and figure out exactly the length you want.

3: Divide the number of inches or centimeters you need cut off in half.

4: Cuff pant leg. Take the above number (half of what you actually want) from the original hem line. Pin the cuff where you want it. (In calculating, don’t include the hem to the end of the jean; that's the little portion at the very end of the jean leg.)

5: Pin around the cuff, and measure with each pin.

6: Take care around the side seams while pinning. The seam stitching must line up on either side.

7: Sew right next to the original hem (this works with a sewing machine or for hand sewing). Stitch on the right side of the hem, or the side farthest from the bottom of the jean. Sew all the way around the cuff. Be sure the sewing machine runs s-l-o-w-l-y through the double thickness of seams at the sides and inseams.

8: Cut the excess off. Leave approximately a half-inch for fraying,Be sure to finish the seams with serging or a zig-zag stitch or buy some Fray-check at your local fabric shop. (If you don't finish the edges, bear in mind they'll further fray with washing; this isn't the time to cut corners.).

9: Turn the leg right side out and iron the new seam flat, revealing the old hem.


  • For flared legs: cut off hem an inch above the stitched hemline. Measure the hem’s circumference. Measure the circumference of the jean and the desired length to be hemmed. Open the side seam of the jean several inches above where you want the jean to be hemmed. Take in the jean to the same circumference as the hem. Make the transformation gradual. Reattach the hem portion as above. If the jean leg is more than 1.5″ larger than the circumference of the hem, it’s not recommended to use this method.
  • Since jeans are a thick material, and subsequently doubled over the seam, this can be a particular challenge. If machine sewing, use a larger needle. What we did is sew twice-over on either side of the seam rather than trying to sew on the seams. You can also machine stitch the hem, and leave the seam sides to be hand sewn (as indicated above).
  • Practice on a pair of old jeans before you begin to sew those $200-plus.

  • After all, practice makes perfect.

Machine sewing (especially with a professional-quality machine) will give you the most just-from-the-factory look, but this can be done by hand.
Machine sewing (especially with a professional-quality machine) will give you the most just-from-the-factory look, but this can be done by hand.


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      Em 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for this information! I just finished hemming my bell bottom jeans and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way they look!

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      Sienna 7 years ago

      To do this effectively best use a no. 16 denim needle for the sewing machine to reduce change of breakage. But to reduce buck at both sides of the hem where the two pieces of fabric meet, use scissors to cut off the extra flaps on the inside before folding for the sewing.

      I am not a fan of the Euro hem because when you wear them the extra fabric on the inside of the pant leg sometimes create a mark on the outside leg so you can notice, and I just don't like having such extra bit hanging around when what i'm after is something that looks exactly like the designer original inside and outside - I knkow it's possible, I had my jeans done at an alteration place in Sydney Australia in 2006 for peanuts. Just can't find it around here in England.

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      Agnes 7 years ago

      A little hint for the thickness.....get your hammer and hammer that seam a few times it flattens and softens the jean material

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      Sharon 8 years ago

      It is very difficult sewing for original hem. When the sewing needle stitched both sides of thick seam that the needle broken.

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      Galina 8 years ago

      Do you have pictures of step-by-step instructions? As wording is a little bit hard to understand.