How To Hem Your Jeans In One FREE Step

How To Hem Your Jeans In One FREE Step by My Style Vita

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 by Jessica Camerata

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)
  • Ruler
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.

How To Hem Your Jeans At Home For Free - Step 3. Mark the edge with chalk.
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 in tact. I use chalk because you can easily mark it in several spots and it’s easier to see.

How To Hem Your Jeans At Home For Free - Step 3. Mark the edge with chalk.
How To Hem Your Jeans At Home For Free - Step 4. Take off your pants and lay them on the ground.
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.

How To Hem Your Jeans At Home For Free - Step 5. Cut your jeans!
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

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.22.19
    Cathy said:

    I do this too! I am 5’4″ and jeans are always long on me. I either buy the original hem hemming from a seamstress or a I just cut them. Depends on the denim style. I never thought of chalk and a ruler-that is a game changer. I have done it soooo unevenly in the past. haha. I’ll have to try this next time!


    • 2.22.19
      Jessica said:

      I honestly don’t always use the chalk and a ruler. Sometimes I just cut right above the hem and call it a day ha! But it’s nice to be a little more careful on those nicer pairs of denim

  2. 2.22.19
    Kim said:

    Um this is a total game changer! I am only 5’3 and am constantly cuffing my jeans to be the right length. Can’t wait to try this out!


  3. 2.22.19
    Stephanie said:

    I’ve always wanted to try this on my jeans. I’ll have to do that at some point just to see!

  4. 2.22.19
    Kileen said:

    Such a helpful post! I usually need to get mine hemmed, going to do this to my next pair!

    cute & little

  5. 2.23.19
    Megan said:

    I was actually just looking for someone to hem my jeans. I need to try this out. Thanks for posting.

  6. 2.24.19

    This is one of my favorite hacks too! Being 5’2″ my alterations bill would be $$$ if I went to get my jeans hemmed every time! I love the frayed look it gives, too!

  7. 2.24.19
    Hillary said:

    Wow this is so easy! And you did such a great job!

  8. 2.25.19
    Laura Leigh said:

    I do this too! Jeans are always a little too long on me – unless they’re pretty cropped. Plus I love the look of the raw edge. Need to plan it out better though, like you do!

    xo Laura Leigh
    Louella Reese

    • 2.26.19
      Jessica said:

      The frayed hem is the best part. It always looks better after a wash too

  9. 2.25.19
    Liz said:

    What a cool idea! I’m under 5 ft so this is something I struggle with daily.