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Need help with hemming pants

CDee | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am new to sewing and I a need to hem a pair of men’s pants and make a cuff.  The pants are too long and the fabric at the bottom of the current cuffs have holes from dragging on the ground.  Where do I start?  Are there any good articles out there that deal with this topic.  Thanks in advance for your help.


  1. fabricholic | | #1

    Measure the cuff, double that measurement, add enough for a hem. Now you can hem the pants, then fold up the cuff part and press. I would then tack inside the cuff at the seam allowances. Make sure you have enough good material on the pants before you do any cutting, though.


    1. Cherrypops | | #3

      Hi fabricholic and teaf5,

      I missed this discussion, lucky i found it. I have my first pair of school uniform trousers to hem. they have cuffs. i haven't done cuffs before so i was going to ask here what to do. anyway decided to do a search in case someone had already asked, so that's what led me to both your posts. i will give your suggestions a go and get back to you. the boys have another week off. i doubt it will take me that long...ummm.

      is there anything else i need to know about hemming cuffs?

      the 'turn up' hems I handsewed (replicated the rtw with a catchstich) turned out great, the lady was very happy. now hubby wants me to do his work trousers which have cuffs!

      I knew this was a good place to start looking for help. now to go through the books to see if there are any photographs. I guess I should take my own step by step photos for later reference.



      1. fabricholic | | #4

        I didn't remember writing this message. I had to jog my memory. It is easy. It's just a little more detailed than regular hem.Marcy

      2. Teaf5 | | #5

        Cuffs are fairly easy if the fabric takes a crease well. You just fold back a big hem, stitch it, then fold back that halfway for another hem and tack the side seams to hold it up.Two things I would caution, especially for growing boys, is to make the initial hem (which will fall the cuff-depth beyond where you want the finished hem to fall) quite deep and do not cut off the excess. That way, as the boys grow, you can re-hem them if the waist still fits. The second is that any fold of fabric will take up a little in length and the wrinkling at the knee will take up more length, so make each fold about 1/4" or more lower than where you want it to be. No boy wants to be caught dead or alive in "floods," which you'll have if you don't make the legs longer from the beginning!

        1. Cherrypops | | #6

          Hi again,

          I had a long hard think and look at it after I posted to you and Marcy.

          Woke up this morning to your replies - thanks.

          Teaf, your suggestion of a deep hem to allow for growth was excellent, and I had thought of it too. Because when winter is over we can 1: sell our uniforms back to the 'second's shop' or 2: keep for next year, and I would rather start from full length. You cannot replace cut pieces of fabric.

          I will be very careful with all measurements, first ones naturally take me longer, and I want to make a good name for myself with this alteration work for the school.

          I will let you and Marcy know how I go. They are wool/polyester trousers and thankfully not lined. Thomas' winter shorts are! That's another question for later!


          1. Cherrypops | | #7

            Hi Fabricholic and Teaf5,

            The hemming is done! The boys Dad said they fit perfectly. Yeh!

            I have just completed hemming two wrap circle skirts and wrists on blazers. Too easy!

            I did all hems by hand. Great fabric to work with. The girls mother was very pleased, and she will be back with her own garments.

            Thanks again to you both, pats on the back for all of us!


          2. fabricholic | | #8

            Way to go Cherrypops. I knew it would be easy for you.Marcy

          3. Cherrypops | | #9

            Thanks! Even hubby reckons I sell myself short. He double checked all measurements and said they look 'store bought'. It keeps me out of mischief too....lol.

            Oh, I forgot to say, the dad rang and message said I made one pair of trousers too short. Second message said, He was wrong, put the wrong pair on the wrong son. I labelled and pinned correctly, MEN, can't live with them, can't live without them....lol! Not much difference in the boys hips, he says. I explained the taller boy needed the larger size for the crotch depth. Now dad understands. He is enjoying being a home dad, his wife works full time in the city . IT, computers. Lovely man and very polite boys. The boys aged 10 and 14, will be on the afternoon school bus with Thomas next week. They live around the corner.

            Back to my clothing now. finally!



          4. fabricholic | | #10

            I can imagine that when the dad phoned and said that pants were too short, you got a sick feeling. Am I right? I do this and it makes me angry at myself for letting things get to me.Marcy

          5. Cherrypops | | #11

            Yep. but for the first time i remained calm and was about to phone back and say drop trousers back over to me, then i listened to the next message and giggled. I was right in my markings and sizes! I rang him back to confirm there was no problems and he was jovial about it too. Alls well that ends well.

          6. Teaf5 | | #12

            Good for you! The next time you talk to that father, suggest that he label his boys' clothes, each and every piece. A simple initial written in permanent marker on the label will work. It will save everyone time in laundering, sorting, dressing, and altering!

          7. Cherrypops | | #13

            Thanks! I will let him know. I have all Thomas' clothing labelled, on sports day, they change into their sports uniforms and change back into their day uniform. I didn't have to do that! Oh well, small price to pay for a good education. Have to look the part entering and leaving the school. CherryPops

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    Since the pants are unwearable as is, you can do two things at once by carefully taking apart the cuff of one leg, noting the order in which you do things so that you can reverse the process when you make the new cuffs. I recently did this while lengthening the sleeves of a man's suit jacket, and I learned a lot about tailoring!

    For the cuffs, there is probably a tack at the inseam and outseam, so remove those first. Fold out the original cuff (but don't iron it yet), and measure the lengths between the creases and the raw edge, and label those on a diagram so that you can repeat them. At this point, you could also use waxed paper to copy the bottom part of the pants leg, including the crease/fold/hem lines, labelling the pattern Top/Bottom & inseam/outer seam. If you have a two-inch cuff, this pattern will be about 5" long--the length needed to fold up, back down, and then inside for a hem.

    Slide this pattern up the leg so that the new Bottom line matches the desired length and check to see you have enough fabric to complete the new cuff without the frayed original hemline falling in an visible place. If you can't fit a new cuff, you might be able to do a simple uncuffed hem instead and still salvage the pants.

    Sorry it's such a long description--it's much faster to do the actual alteration!

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