How to Hem Children's Jeans With Original Hem

Created By:

Victoria Newmyer

Skill Level: Intermediate

It’s that time of year again—back to school clothes shopping!  I have a seven year old son who is the combo of being tall, but very slim.  The struggle can be real when buying pants for him.  I’m sure many of you understand.


Like all quilters, I often cringe when asked if I will hem pants, but I also refuse to pay to get his pants hemmed when I know I can do it myself. 


So today, I’m sharing how I hem his jeans to keep the original hem and that also allows for me to lower the hem as he grows.


Saving money on alterations and on clothes?  That’s a win-win in my book!


*As mentioned above, this technique keeps the original hem and allows for lengthening the hem later.  It does not cut off the excess fabric.  If you want to cut the excess off for a more permanent alteration, be sure to serge or zigzag stitch the cut edge.*
Fabric and Notions Required
  • Seam Gauge
  • Matching Thread
  • Pins for marking and holding hem
  • Sewing machine (a machine with a free arm like the Skyline S-9 is recommended and what I used for this tutorial).
  • Needle and thread for finishing stitches
  • Optional:  Zipper Foot




1.   Have your child put on the jeans.  If you want a really precise fit, you can have them also wear the shoes they plan to wear.




2.   Fold up the hem and mark with a pin.




3.   Take your jeans to an ironing board and use a seam gauge to measure the fold you created.  In my son’s case, the original fold was 2 ¼”.




4.   Take the fold measurement and divide it by half.  In this case, my new measurement will be 1 1/8.”




5.   Re-fold to the new measurement and press the hem well.




6.   Repeat with the second hem, using your seam gauge to ensure they are even.




7.   Pin really well, starting at the side hems.  You want that seam to be matched up evenly for the most professional finish.




8.  Take the jeans to the sewing machine, use your free arm if possible.  If your machine doesn’t have a free arm, just be careful to only sew through one side of the pant leg.




9.  Using a straight stitch, sew as close as possible to the original hemline as possible.  You can use a longer stitch length if you plan to re-alter them soon.  I usually use a 2.5 stitch length.  Go slow.  You can also use a zipper foot if that works better for getting a close stitch line.




10.  Repeat sewing with the other hem.




11.   Take your jeans back to the ironing board and press them really well.




12.   I like to add a few hand stitches by the side hem to hold the excess fabric in place.  This will make it easier when they are putting them on.




And that’s all there is to it.



I love this method because it allows me to get some extra time out of his jeans.  As he grows, I just unpick the stitches and re-alter them if he needs it.


And there you go!  That’s a quick and easy way to hem a pair of children’s jeans using the original hem.

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