How to Reattach an Original Jeans Hem

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Many people end up with jeans that are too long in order to get them to fit correctly in the waist. However, when jeans are shortened, the new hem doesn't usually look quite as polished as the original one. To retain the authentic and stylish look of your jeans when shortening them, reattach the original hem.

Before and after of jeans with the original hem
Before and after of jeans with the original hem (Image: Beth Huntington)

Things You'll Need

  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine with a denim needle (110/18)
  • Zipper foot (optional)
  • Heavyweight thread the same color as the jeans
  • Iron and ironing board

Step 1

Tuck the hem of the jeans under and have a friend pin your newly desired length in place.

Pin the newly desired jeans length.
Pin the newly desired jeans length. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

Leave the pins in place. Remove the jeans and turn them inside out. Measure from the top of the existing hem to the newly pinned fold. Divide that measurement in half. Remove the pins after measuring.

Measure from the top of the existing hem to the fold.
Measure from the top of the existing hem to the fold. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 3

Turn the jeans right-side out, fold the hem up, and use the half measurement you calculated to pin the new hemline. For example, if you measured 2 inches from the top of the existing hem to the fold, your new hem will measure 1 inch from the top of the existing hem to the fold.

Pin the new hem.
Pin the new hem. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 4

Use a denim needle (110/18) and a medium-length stitch to sew as close to the existing hem as you can. You can use a zipper foot for your machine if you have one, but a regular foot will work as well. Remove the pins as you sew.

Sew the new hem.
Sew the new hem. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 5

Tuck the new fold under the jeans so the existing hem is showing on the right side of the jeans.

Turn the hem under.
Turn the hem under. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 6

Press the new hem with a hot iron.

Press the new hem with a hot iron.
Press the new hem with a hot iron. (Image: Beth Huntington)

Finished Jeans With Original Hem

Jeans look much more genuine when they have the original contrast stitching on the shortened hem.

Shortened jeans with the original hem
Shortened jeans with the original hem (Image: Beth Huntington)

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