If you’re on the shorter side of average, like me, you’ll notice that pants are always too long. Learn one method to hem them in this week’s CRAFT Video! This tutorial is for the beginner; don’t be afraid to make this simple alteration at home. Once you have the confidence to hem your own pants, a new world of style options becomes available to you when shopping for pants. Many brands don’t make a dedicated “short” length, so you’re left with rolled up cuffs, a trip to the tailor’s, or 20 minutes of time in your sewing room! I know which one I’d prefer. This method works for casual pants and dark wash or solid-color jeans, not dress pants. If you have a different hemming method, share with us in the comments!

Subscribe to the CRAFT Podcast in iTunes, or download the m4v video.

Materials and tools:

  • straight pins
  • tailor’s chalk (I actually cheated and used a white conte crayon)
  • scissors
  • ironing board and iron
  • thread to match your pants
  • sewing machine (I used my Singer Confidence 7470)

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

  • kat

    What’s the difference between normal chalk and tailor’s talk? Can I use normal talk instead?

  • Becky Stern

    Tailor’s chalk comes in an easier-to-use shape, and as far as I can tell, that’s the only difference. You might want to test on a hidden place, like inside the pocket, to make sure the chalk will wipe off later.

  • jatoha

    I’ve used my kids’ sidewalk chalk, it does work, but tailor chalk is nicer. It’s a bit softer, so it writes on fabric better.

  • Lea-Ann

    This is fabulous! I am embarrassed to say the part that I’ve been doing SOOO wrong, but now I know! Thanks for the tutorial! We have a weekly “quarter day” at our local thrift store and for whatever reason I *always* find pants in my size, but instead of “short” or “petite,” I find them in “long.” Thanks!!!

  • Nadia

    Becky, thank you for the excellent video and advice. Let there be many more video tips like this one. Good luck!

  • Audrey

    Thanks for this tutorial! I’ve always been afraid to hem pants, being rather tall I’ve never had to worry about it too much so I never bothered to learn. I am pleased to say that I just hemmed my first pair and they came out great- Thanks again!