Hemming Jeans So No One Will Ever Know

Want to avoid the “homemade” look when hemming a pair of jeans?  Here’s 9 easy steps for making them look like this, with contrast stitching on the inside and out just like when you purchased them.

There are scads of online tutorials on how to hem jeans however the result of many of these processes is a pair of jeans that look like they were hemmed at home. Since I grew up wearing home-made clothes I do everything possible to avoid the impression that my garments are hand-sewn (even though I am now proud that they are sewn by me).



  • Contrast thread to match the jeans topstitching.  (Big box fabric stores have thread for jeans, or you can use upholstery thread, which comes in more colors).  Thread your machine with this contrasting color.
  • Navy thread (or color similar to jeans).  Use this thread in the bobbin.
  • Size 100/16, a 90/14 or a jeans sewing machine needle.
  • Seam gauge or measure
  • 30 minutes of uninterrupted time
  • Iron.

1.  On each jeans leg draw a line 1-1/4″ longer than the desired leg length.  Note: The result will be better if  the hem is cut evenly, which is why I recommend drawing a line before cutting.

2.  Run a test stitch on the discard fabric, preferably going through 3 layers of fabric to get the feel of working with the bulk.  Adjust stitch length so it looks like the original hem.

3.  Close to the lower edge, trim away excess fabric on the seam allowance, like this:

4.  Turn hem over 1-1/4″.  Finger-press and pin in place.  Press.  Note:  At this point you will have a fold of 1-1/4″ of fabric turned toward the inside of the leg.

5.  Fold the bottom edge of the leg to meet up with the fold line.  This will give you a double-folded 5/8″ seam which is common in RTW jeans (see next photo).

Click on photo for close-up of hem

6.  Finger press, pin in place and press hem in place.  

7. Working from the inside  (contrast thread will be on the inside) and using a long stitch, sew the hem in place.  Note:  Remove pins before they get close to the machine needle.  Trust me, sewing over pins in denim can really mess up your machine.  

Wrong side

8. Turn leg right side out.

Right side

9. Sew directly over the bobbin thread.  In the sample below, you can also see that the orange threads peaked through with the bobbin thread, which makes it easy to see the stitching line.  Note:  The bobbin thread will show one the right side but won’t obscure the effect of the top-stitching.

Top-stitching on the right side

Now put those jeans on and wear them with pride!

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