Way back in the day I used to work at Nordstrom in the T.B.D department. We sold all the designer jeans like 7 For All Mankind, Hudson, Paige, Citizens of Humanity and more. The one thing we always offered our customers was complimentary hemming. All of the designer jeans are way too long, it’s standard for them. But what a pain in the ass. And if you wanted an original hem, that was extra. An original hem is when they cut the hem off, and RE-SEW it back on. It’s like $20 and only worth it if it has a really fancy hem that you don’t want to remove.
I rarely had my pants hemmed once I left and instead just rolled them, or didn’t bother buying ones that were way too long. But then my dear friend Cathy, who is 4’11” and knows her way around hemming her own jeans, suggested I just take scissors to them. WHAT?! Yup! She told me she did it to all her jeans and they were perfect every single time.
My life is forever changed. I will never pay to hem my jeans again!
So how do we do it without ruining our jeans, and keeping things even and washing them? Easy. Just take a pair of damn scissors to it and be done.
If you want a more technical process, here’s how I do it to ensure a perfect cut every single time.
How To Hem Your Jeans At Home For Free
What You Need
- Scissors – good sharp ones!
- Chalk (can use pins too but I prefer chalk)
Step 1. Put your jeans on
Duh. You want to put them on and also with the shoes you’ll be wearing with them most. Then you can see how much needs to come off. I also recommend washing them at least once as well as dry them as you would normally (I always hang dry mine so they last longer). Many jeans will shrink up a bit so it’s important to be hemming the TRUE length of the jeans.
Step 2. Cuff them where you want them.
While wearing the jeans, start to cuff them inward until you’re at the length you want. Do this in front of a mirror and continue to stand up straight to see where you’re at.
Step 3. Mark the edge with chalk.
Once you have your pants cuffed perfectly where you like, take your chalk and mark the edges. If you don’t have chalk, you can also just place a needle in them and then take them off carefully to keep the cuff
Step 4. Take off your pants and lay them on the ground.
Take your pants off and lay them on the ground so you can line everything up. I like to make sure the pants are perfectly laid out and even. Then I double check that I’ve marked my jeans in the same spot on each side. I just use my ruler to make sure we’re close. Nothing needs to be perfect, I promise.
Step 5. Cut your jeans!
Yes, it’s that simple. Take your sharp scissors to your jeans and start cutting. Just go slowly, make sure you’re staying in a straight line and near your chalk marks. I always go a bit below the chalk mark just to be safe.
Step 6. Enjoy your newly FREE hemmed jeans
It’s that easy! Enjoy your newly hemmed jeans. You’ll love them even more when you wash them and they begin to fray a bit and look like the perfect raw hem denim.
A few questions I always get about hemming your jeans are…
Will my jeans fray and fall apart?
No they won’t fall apart, but yes they will fray some. Which is kind of nice. It leaves a raw hem and there’s nothing wrong with that. Once you wash them once, you’ll see some good fraying and it shouldn’t get much worse.
How do I make sure it’s even?
Well the good news is, you don’t really need to. Once they’re on and start to fray, you won’t notice if it wasn’t a perfectly straight cut.
What if I hate them?
Then that’s on you, buy a new pair. But seriously, I’ve never had an issue with this process and I’ve easily done it to a dozen pairs of jeans. This is also why I recommend cutting BELOW the chalk mark and testing it out if you’re nervous. You can always cut more, you can never add to them. So if it’s your first rodeo, take a little off, try them on. Take a little more off, try them on again.
Read more about my favorite jeans, how to find your right fit and caring for them here!
Photos by Hannah Michelle