How to Hem Jeans

I have a new tutorial for How to Hem Jeans, it’s been one of my most popular sewing posts to date. It’s been featured on several different websites and blogs. Who knew jeans would be such a popular topic?

How to Hem Jeans - FB

I have been blogging for 6 years now. Hard to believe it’s been that long! I have hundreds of posts on this website. I am in the process of refining my brand and developing my future goals. One of the things I am working on is adding video tutorials to some of my old posts.


I think everyone I know wears jeans, probably all of us have had a pair or two that needed hemming at one time or another. Click To Tweet

You will need your jeans, tailors chalk (or a sharp #2 lead pencil), and a measuring tape or a ruler.

First try on the jeans (after they have been washed and dried), and roll up the hem to the desired length. I know you know how to do this!

Then, take off the jeans, and measure the amount you rolled up. It was 2 1/2″ on these jeans.

Turn the jeans inside out, matching the leg seams and smoothing out the fabric. Because denim is so heavy, you will need to work with one leg at a time. Calculate the amount of fabric to cut off by subtracting 1″ from your orgininal measurement, to compensate for the seam allowance needed for the hem.

I needed to shorten our jeans 2 1/2″, so 2 1/2″-1″= 1 1/2″ for my total.

Measure from the bottom of the pant leg and mark the distance with a piece of tailors chalk or lead pencil. My distance was 4″. Be sure your cutting line is parallel to the bottom of the pant leg.

Keeping the pant leg inside out, put the leg over the arm of the machine, turning back a 1/2″ seam allowance. Conveniently the presser foot is the same width. If you use it as a guide, you will not have to measure and it will save you time. Also, forget the pins. Pins ruin sewing machines, and you will be a much better sewer without them. They do not use pins in professional production because they would completely slow down the process. It’s the difference between sewing like a pro, and sewing like a homemaker. No pins.

Lower the presser foot and begin sewing, but do not start on the thick part of the side seam. Begin either slightly before or after the seam. Most machines will just sew right through the thick seam without a problem if they have a running start. Center your needle in the seam allowance, and continue sewing around the entire pant leg. When you get to the end, over lap the stitching slightly to lock it in place. Trim your threads, and remove the pant leg from the machine.

Here are my best tips and tricks for sewing with denim:

  1. Use a heavy duty needle for denim fabrics. I have broken more sewing machine needles  than I can count by sewing jeans. Denim is by far the heaviest material I ever work with. Recently I noticed you can buy packages of needles just for denim, what a great idea! Pick up a package or two to have on hand when ever you need them.
  2. Always use a new needle for each pair of jeans. Needles get dull very quickly on fabrics like this. It will save you lots of headaches if you use a new, sharp needle each time you sew with denim. It may seem like overkill, but you just have to trust me on this one.
  3. Purchase 100% cotton thread for working on jeans. Thread that is designed for machine quilting works well, it’s strong enough to hold up during sewing on denim. I use black or navy for hemming, you don’t have to match the gold top stitching that most jeans have, in fact I think it looks better if you don’t.
  4. Don’t bother with pressing your jeans. Denim is heavy and hard to work with. After you have hemmed your jeans, wash and dry them as usual. They will look and feel great. The new stitches will blend in with the fabric like they were always there. Besides, pressed jeans are just weird.
  5. Help your friends learn to hem their own jeans, I am sure they will be grateful for your help!

That being said, it’s time for the tutorial! I had fun putting this video together, hope it helps you hem your jeans!



How to Hem Jeans

How to Sew Knits

This easy to make dress is a great way to learn to sew with knit fabrics. 

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

How to Sew Knits, Tips and Tricks for success

31 Days of Sewing: Day 12

At long last, this knit dress is complete. I have had many obstacles recently, too many to list. It disappoints me that my progress on this 31 Day challenge is a fraction of what it should be.

I will continue nevertheless, but it may be fall by the time I have completed it.

Better late than never as they say.

This dress is Vogue pattern #V8972. I have decided I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I love the style of it.

The color fabric is great.


How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

Pattern Notes

The dress was easy to fit with the custom fit pattern options (Using your bra cup size).

I hate that the pattern says you can use woven fabrics or knits for this dress. I can’t imagine sewing this pattern with any woven fabric, it wouldn’t work well.

(I chose a Ponte Knit.)

The pattern directions are geared for sewing only a woven dress, not a knit one. (They don’t tell you this.)

So, I realized this too late, after I couldn’t change my mind on how to construct it. (I am slow sometimes.) I am not happy.

Sewing knits isn’t difficult, but it is considerably different than sewing a woven item. I dislike that they don’t include knit sewing directions with this pattern.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

Here are my tips for sewing knits:

•Use a stretch stitch for sewing the seams. Most machines have one, consult your users manual if you aren’t sure which one it is.

•Don’t bother topstitching the seams. Single needle top stitching doesn’t stretch. It makes no sense to topstitch a stretchy seam with a non-stretchy one. (I realized this too late, my seams were stretched more than they should have been by the topstitching.)

•ou really don’t have to stay stitch anything. The fabric will stretch with or without the stay stitching, it doesn’t really help.

•Eliminate lining the garment. This dress was supposed to be lined, traditional lining doesn’t stretch and therefore doesn’t work well with the knit. Also my Ponte knit was very heavy and I just didn’t think it was necessary.

•Eliminate the back zipper. Stretch knits are easy to pull on without a zipper, plus single needle topstitching the zipper on a knit just doesn’t work that well. It will save you time, headaches and money to not have to install the zipper.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

•I changed the construction a bit because I didn’t use a lining. I contemplated cutting a neck facing to finish the neckline (which would give this dress a more tailored look, but decided against it. Have I mentioned I dislike facings?

Instead, I decided to take advantage of a Cover Stitch option that I have on my Singer Sewing machine for finishing the seam edges.

•Here’s how it works: I turned down the marked seam allowance at the neck, sleeve hem and dress hem.

•Then I basted them in place with a 3.0 stitch length.

Using a Cover Stitch

From the right side, I went over the first line of stitching with the Cover Stitch. You can do it from the wrong side as well if you choose. The idea is that the cover stitch completely covers the raw edge of the fabric, along with the basting and creates a sporty look on the right side. It is a very durable stitch and stretches nicely with the knit.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

This technique is usually found on t-shirts and active sportswear. I thought it would be a nice casual touch for this dress.

You can see the topstitching on the bodice seam is a bit stretched out of shape at the shoulder, I don’t care for it and wouldn’t do that again if I remake this dress. Topstitching works great on wovens, just not so well on knits.

Perhaps I am too picky. I can’t help it.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

I used the same cover stitching on the hem of the dress. Not sure that I love it as much here, the machine didn’t fare well running over those thick side seams.  Alternatively,  I would hand stitch the dress hem in place if you don’t have a cover stitch option.

How to Sew Knits|Designers Sweet Spot|

The scarf was one I found at a thrift store. Overall, I think I am going to love this dress with a pair of boots for just about any occasion.

Time to move on to the next project!

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How to Hem Jeans