DIY Hem Fix for Your Jeans

As promised, my friend Lori has a fabulous tutorial today for a simple but creative way to hem your jeans. I LOVE this idea! Lori is the mastermind over at Dolly Outfitters. She makes beautiful doll clothes and is sponsoring a giveaway for Happy Hour Projects readers right now! You can enter to win your choice of bag by visiting the giveaway post!


Hi, I’m Lori, and I make and sell patterns, doll clothes, and accessories for American Girl dolls at Dolly Outfitters. My best selling item and what I am known for is my awesome doll carrier backpack. You can read more about me at Dolly Outfitters.

I’m excited to share with you today some simple sewing techniques for creatively hemming your jeans. I am 5′ 2″. So, you can probably imagine the frustration that comes when I find a great pair of jeans that are often too long for me. Even as an experienced sewist, I really don’t like to do alterations. Especially for my own clothes.

Last weekend, I finally decided to hem a pair of jeans I bought and have been wearing folded up. I finally got sick of being unfashionable in these jeans. So, I cut 2″ off the hem of my pants. (That’s the amount they were too long.) Then, I cut the area above the hem to 1/2″ for the seam allowance–intending to sew that part back on to my jeans to keep the original hem stitching.

When they’re done right, you can’t see the pieced seam from a distance and the original jean hem is intact. You just match up the seams and sew the hem back on.

If you want to learn more about this type of hemming, you can just google tutorials on how to do it.

I was going to finish my jeans this way, but I had a problem. Because my jeans were boot cut and I had to take so much off of them, The 1″ hem that I was going to reattach was much larger than my jeans leg. And, I don’t like messing with the side seams of those pieces because they always look weird to me when you change them.

My jeans were already the length I needed them to be, so I needed a hem treatment that wouldn’t make my jeans even shorter. First, I was going to try to top stitch a barrier 1/2 inch from the raw edge and just let them fray. My jeans were a bit of a distressed wash anyway. No where could I find a thread that matched the color my jeans were. (Frustration level rises a little more.)

I decided to just add a little trim to the jeans. But, I didn’t want to pick a color that limited which shirts they could be worn with. So, I found a fabric I had on hand that had multiple bright colors. Boy, do I like how they turned out.

After, you cut your jeans to the exact length you need, the first step is to cut 1 or 2 strips of fabric 1 1/4 inch wide (or a little wider for more impact and greater margin of error) by the width of your fabric. (selvage to selvage)

Second, go to the ironing board, and press a crease right down the center of your strips with WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, or WST. (I wasn’t really screaming that just wanted you to be aware which way to fold the strip).

Third, open the strip back out and press the two raw edges toward each other to meet at the center crease, WST.

Fourth, press the strip at the center again WST, hiding your raw edges.

Fifth, open up one end of your strip and fold it in about 1/2 inch and pin it to your pant leg next to a seam. See how the seam allowance on the jeans is opposite the fold of the trim to create less bulk? Continue pinning your strip all the way around until you get to the beginning again.

Sixth, overlap the trim until it reaches the raw edge of the folded piece. Cut off the excess trim at the raw edge. You will have 1/2″ where there are 3 layers of trim to pin.

Seventh, sew your trim to the pants inside the first little fold. See the blue stitching?

Eighth, fold the trim up and around your hem. and pin into place. Start where the extra layers are and pin that section first. Then, the rest of the trim should fold up pretty easily.

If you have trouble folding the trim over, you can trim the jean seam allowance a bit like this.

Ninth, Sew about an 1/8 of an inch above the jean/trim seam to catch the trim on the inside of the pants as well as you can. See how the middle of the presser foot is guiding right down that seam?
You’re done! BTW, you just made your own trim and sewed it onto your project – YAY! Now wear a bright shirt and do your nails to match! I am soooo ready for summer :)

This treatment has so many applications. You can add it to any type of hem. Skirts, sleeves, shirt hems, etc.

What do you think you would use this treatment for?

To see my other project tutorials, visit Dolly Outfitters Patterns. I’d love for you to drop in. My exciting news for May is that I now have 6 instant download doll clothes patterns available. And, during the month of May for every 100 patterns sold, 1 lucky winner will win a FREE American Girl Doll. You get 1 entry for each pattern you buy.


  1. Carolyn Johnson says

    I am 84yrs old..I live in Port Orange, Fl. (just above Daytona Fl) I am not good onPC.It was given to me by daughterinlaw, who showed me how to turn it off and on..I do not know what a URL is..I will leave E mail, if somebody wants to answer OK.. Way back I taught sewing at Singer Sewing…

  2. Bonnie Wilson says

    Great idea I have the opposite problem hard to find pants long enough I am 5-10 I believe
    this would work to extending the length of my pants. Thanks for the idea

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