How to Take Up Jeans

We never manage to find jeans to fit us correctly, especially if they are from a charity shop or swishing event. We have listed step-by-step instructions on gaining a professional finish when taking up the hem on jeans

Sewing machine is advised as the denim is too thick for hand sewing.

Try on the jeans with shoes. Tuck under the hem to where you want it to sit (on one leg). Hold in place with a safety pin
Lay the jeans flat. Measure from the crotch (where the two legs meet at the front) by placing the end of the tape measure at the crotch point. Pull the tape measure flat to where you have folded the hem. Make a note of the measurement. Now measure the other leg. Mark the point where the new hem is going to be with tailoring chalk or a safety pin.
Measure the depth of the fold. For example this fold is 8cm from the fold to the edge of the hem. We need to account for a 2cm seam allowance. Take 2cm from this measurement, in this example, 6cm

We’ve created a ‘how to’ video on measuring and taking up trousers, the method of measuring is the same for jeans.


Using a tape measure and tailors chalk, mark 6cm from the hem around both legs of the jeans.
Using sharp scissors, cut around the mark you have just made
Turn the new hem, right side to wrong side, by 1cm. Press with a hot iron. Repeat on the second leg.
Using a sewing machine, stitch 2mm from the folded edge of the jeans. We’ve used an orange thread to match the original stitching. Repeat on the second leg. (It is advisable to test your machine on some of the spare denim to make sure it can get through the thickness of fabric).
Take the jeans back to the iron. Turn over by 1cm, right side to wrong side. Press with a hot iron. Repeat for the second leg.
Back to the sewing machine: Sew the hem using the first line of stitching as guide. Stitch over the same line of stitching.
On the inside of the hem it leaves a thicker line of stitching, looks effective for turn ups.
On the front side only one line of stitching is visible. Give them a good press and you are ready to go!

Top tip: Keep the scraps of fabric left over from cutting the hems. They are useful if you need to patch these jeans or any other kind of clothes patching.

How to Repair a Hem

The stitching on hems coming undone is one of the most common clothes fixes at Fast Fashion Therapy. It is simple mend to complete with a needle, thread and sharp scissors. In this video we explain how to repair a hem with a hem stitch, or herringbone stitch. We use trousers as an example but the same method can be used on skirts, dresses and sleeve hems.

Most hems can be fixed without a sewing machine. Our video next week will run through how to shorten a hem on a pair of trousers.

Haven’t got a sewing kit and need some ideas? Find out how to build your own sewing kit to mend clothes on our blog post.