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proper pant length

vickie | Posted in General Sewing Info on

is there a “proper” pant length?  I want to hem a pair of slacks I purchased.  Seems I recall to put hem length to brush the shoe top when I was in high school 1974!  Is there a rule?  I am very petite and don’t want to hem too short.  Thanks! 


  1. solosmocker | | #1

    It depends on the shoe and the fullness of the pant hem. I am petite and if I wear narrow pants with flats it is to my ankle bone. If I am wearing palazzo type pants and a heel, my pants practically sweep the floor. I recall Threads having an article on just this topic so maybe a cruise thru their index might help.

    1. ccs49 | | #2

      I have customers wear a shoe of the type they will wear with the pants when the hem is marked.  For a heel length less than 2" I mark the back of the leg at the point where the shoe and heel join, or if they are not wearing a shoe, right to the floor in back.  That works with heels less than 2".  For heels over 2" I mark about halfway down the heel in back, or longer if the customer prefers.  It all depends on the age of the customer (young people like hems longer, with just a little shoe showing), the style of the slacks (wide legs need to be marked longer than tapered legs).  I normally angle the hem up just slightly at the center front if pants have a sharp crease, if no crease I hem straight across.  

      1. mygaley | | #4

        How do you angle the pants hem up at center front?  Is there a facing, does this require an adjustment at the side seams or what?  Thanks for resolving something I've wondered about a long time.  Galey

        1. queenoid | | #5

          I have always eased it up oh, so slightly. Or just let it break across the front of my shoe. However, in this month's Threads (which I just finished complaining about) there is an article on hemming skirts by making a separate piece, shaped as an exact mirror of the shape of the hem you desire. That would do it perfectly.

          1. Broo | | #6

            I make my hems as long as possible so long as I don't step on them when I am not wearing shoes.

        2. ccs49 | | #7

          Press up the hem as you have it marked.  If the front is to be slightly shorter than the back the bottom edge of the turned up leg will be a little bit smaller than the area it will be hemmed to.  Open the side seam just a little bit (about 1/4 inch) so that you have the ease you need to eliminate the pucker in the front and pin at center front of the hem to hold in place.  On pants where the hem has an extreme taper sometimes you also have to ease in the extra fabric you'll end up with at the center back.  Some of my customers wear cowboy boots with suit pants, and need a difference of 1 1/2" from front to back. I normally leave a turnup of 1 1/2inches on ladies slacks, about 3 inches on mens.



          1. mygaley | | #8

            Thank you--I have struggled with this for years; now I think I can make it work.  Galey

  2. queenoid | | #3

    According to the What Not to Wear people, the pants should come almost down to the floor. Of course, if the ankle is tight, this is not an option. This was sort of a disappointment to me, as I am tall and thought that as long as I wore boots I could get away with shorter pants BUT - when I look around, the style is definitely to have pants within 1/2 to 1 inch from the floor.

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