How to shorten jeans

How to shorten jeans
Teach you how to shorten jeans

Learn how to shorten jeans

David Bowie – The Jean Genie: “He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls, Jean Genie let yourself go!”

Did you know that each American owns, on average, 7 pairs of jeans. Their nation alone buys 450 million pairs every year. Add to that that 2.5 billion yards of denim a year is produced globally to satisfy the worlds desire for these durable little numbers.

In theory Gemma has been aiding and abetting this massive production run, albeit by about 5 inches per leg at a time.

She’s ever so good at just turning them up and getting on with it, but I figured enough was enough. Especially when they got their own little tidemark ingrained in them they’d been folded under so much.

I wonder how many of those 450 million pairs sold in the US are the perfect length and how many people just deal with them being a bit too long.

Anyway I took the challenge to trim them down. It’s a super quick task to do, and to be honest one that I should’ve done ages ago.

So all you need is a a pair of scissors and some matching thread to the original jeans (just a close match will suffice, but do ensure it’s of good quality).

I begin by allowing approximately 2cm for the hem and I make a clean cut straight across the leg at this mark.

I then trim back and layer the seams within the hemline to reduce the bulk for when I turn it up.

I then turn up the hem 1cm, press and repeat.

As I’m stitching through 3 layers I pin securely in place to avoid it shifting at all.

If you’re using a modern machine you’ll probably have a free arm option, this means that you can reduce the area around the stitching plate by sliding off the end off.

Doing this reveals the slimmer free arm section of the machine. From here you can slide the leg of the jeans on.

Once I am happy that both legs are the same length I stitch around each hem, from inner seam around. I make sure that I backstitch and then double tie the loose ends, as these hems will get quite a bit of wear and tear.

There you go, a super quick stitch and Gems has a pair of jeans that are just right.

Until next time.



  1. Janet Higgins 4 years ago

    Made from a couple of years of shortening our jeans. It was really sad that I kept the bits!!

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  2. Elaine 4 years ago

    Like Gemma I’m a whopping 5’2 so this is brilliant, I keep standing on mine and falling over your own trousers is not a good look!

  3. Maxi 4 years ago

    Good tip! I’ve done quite a few of these for other people’s children, etc (making them into board shorts when they’ve outgrown them) and done various trousers for others too. I just tend to wear heels with mine – hee hee! I do have a couple in the pile that, like Gemma’s jeans, are just ridiculously long and are a serious trip hazard I’m not sure exactly who they make these trousers for – maxi dresses are another culprit. Made to fit Catwalk model height it would seem! I’m 5’6″ and had to take off 5 inches from a Jane Norman dress hem last year which still left it touching my feet (which is where I wanted it) but really – you had to be 5’11” or more for this to fit properly?! Shops really need to do something about this. It’s a total waste of fabric for one thing!

    Glad Gemma has proper fitting jeans now :)

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Glad you liked it Maxi.
      I’m lucky I find that off the peg clothes tend to fit my height, but Gems (at a whopping 5’2″) does struggle a bit. Maybe thats why she encourages me to sew…hmmm!!!

      You’re right though, at 5’6″ you should never have to take 5″ off of a dress. Thats a bit ridiculous.

  4. Bel 4 years ago

    Very easy to follow, the pics are helpful too – thanks!

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Glad they helped Bel, I always find pics with instructions make so much more sense.

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