How To Hem Chinos/Khakis/Casual Pants

Your entire wardrobe should fit your body. This includes those chinos that have been sitting in your dresser because they are too long! That’s exactly what I want to help you with in this DIY tailoring article – How To Hem Casual Pants/Chinos.

What You’ll Need:

  • Casual Pants (that are too long)
  • Iron
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Matching (or Contrasting) Colored Thread – the stitch is going to be visible
  • Possibly a seam ripper

When you hem dress pants, you just need a needle, thread and an iron, but for this tutorial, you’re going to need a sewing machine. If you don’t already have one, I suggest you think about getting one. They are super handy and can save you a lot of money if you’re going to be tailoring all of your clothes! I got mine at a garage sale from an old seamstress who was going blind. She was very happy that it was going to someone who was going to make good use out of it. But yeah, get yourself a sewing machine if you don’t already and let’s get started!

First, you need a pair of pants that are too long for you but fit everywhere else. When you’re on the shorter side, this isn’t hard to come by in your closet, I’m guessing.

By folding your pants up like a cuff, find the length that you’re trying to achieve. Depending on what look you’re going for, you’re going to be looking for one break or no breaks in your pants. Be sure to also look at the length from the sides and the back. When you find the length you’re looking for, measure it.

fold-and-measure

Now take those pants and fold them inside out, and fold back that same amount you just measured. Make sure it’s straight.

2. Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 19.43.47 PM copy

Take your iron, and iron a solid crease. You’re making the new bottom crease of your pants here.

3. Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 19.44.04 PM

Do the same to the other leg and make sure they are the EXACT same length.

Now it’s time to sew. Using your sewing machine, wrap the leg of the pant around the “arm” that sticks out (see in the picture below). This is how it will be easy to sew in a circle around the opening.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 19.44.58 PM copy

You’re going to sew a new visible stitch around the bottom of the pant leg, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, depending on the style of the pants (just copy how far down the old stitch was).

Tip: It’s best to start your seam on the inseam (inside vertical seam) as if anything gets messed up when you get to the end, it’s a lot less noticeable.

You want to make sure you are keeping the pants taut so nothing bunches up while sewing, but loose enough that the machine can still feed the fabric through.

The last step is to get rid of the extra fabric inside. Cut off what you need to, and then you’ll want to finish off that unfinished edge. There are a couple ways to do that. Probably the easiest is to use a zigzag stitch (overcast stitch). When the needle goes side to side, it will miss the fabric every other time and wrap the edge in thread. The other option is to fold the fabric over and sew another stitch all the way around on the inside, basically tucking that unfinished seam out of the way (how your pants came from the factory). Any way you do it, all you’re doing is making sure it doesn’t fray.

What I actually did in the video below was just leave that factory seam in there because I was only hemming it 1.5″. This made it weigh itself down like a cuffed pant would. 

Iron your pants once again, making sure it’s nice and creased!

Here’s a comparison of a hemmed leg to an unhemmed leg. Now just repeat the process on the other side, making sure they are the same length!

hemmed-vs-not-hemmed

And that’s it. Not too hard, and your pants are going to look great!

And just like last time, for you visual learners out there, here’s an accompanying video to this post. As always, ask me anything. Ask in the comments below or on YouTube.I answer any questions and I love to help or talk about your experiences!

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