High-end men’s pants are traditionally hemmed 2 1/2 inches deep
Expensive pants often have shallow hems.
Expensive pants with cheap hems.  Buying them too long, then hemming them with deeper hems, gives a quality look to the garment.

The traditional 2 1/2 inch men’s pant hem gives men’s pants an expensive, quality look. Women’s pants and straight skirts are traditionally given 2 inch hems.

The pants in the picture on the right, a recognized quality brand, are priced at $98.00.

Even so, they have very shallow 1 3/8 inch hems (B).

The pants were purposely bought too long so they could be re-hemmed with a traditional 2 1/2 inch hem.


One and three-eighth hem depth.
B: Measuring the hem reveals that the hem depth is 1 3/8 inches.
Measure the original hem

Measuring the hem reveals that the hem depth is 1 3/8 inches.  Cheap, shallow hems save a manufacturing company considerable money as they reduce the length of the fabric layouts by inches. A couple of inches per pair of pants, multiplied by a cutting of 1000 pants equals considerable net profit.

Taking the length of the pant leg.
C: Measuring the pant length.




Take the length

First the hem length is taken. The pant legs are turned up to the proper length (C).
Only one pant needs to be pinned (D). Remove the pants.

D: Only one pant leg needs to be pinned.


Remove the industrial hemming and 2 1/2 inches of the pant legs’ seams

Be very careful when removing the stitching. This pants’ seams have been sewn with safety-stitching, an operation that sews the seam with a chain stitch while overcasting the seam allowances. Both the safety-stitch seam and industrial hems are sewn with chain stitching. Catch the thread just right and the seam or hem is easily removed, as shown in this video.

Pin mark the finished hem length

Pinned hemline
E: Pin mark where the hemline is to finish.

Measuring the hem length.
F: Measure, then pencil mark 2 1/2 inches from the pins marking the finished hem length.


Pin mark the finished length (E). Remove the original pins. Measure, then pencil mark 2 1/2 inches from the pins marking the finished hem length (F).

Cutting the pants
G. Cut the pants.
Pants cut for hemming
H. The cut pants.








Lay the marked pant over the unmarked pant, making sure the top pant’s overcast edge lies precisely over the bottom pant’s overcast edge. Cut through all plies. If the shears cannot cut through all four plies, cut the top pant, then cut the bottom pant, using the top pant’s cut edge as a guide (G).

The cut pants’s bottom edge now measures 2 1/2 inches from the pins marking where the pant length will finish (H).

I. Overcast the hem edges with small zigzagging.

J. Over lock the pant legs’ edges with small, narrow zigzagging.

Remove 2 1/2 inches of the side and inseams’ seam and industrial overcasting at the bottom of the pant legs (I and J). The pant legs are tapered smaller at the ankles. To prevent puckering, the seams need to be tapered at the hems (I). Start the stitching at the edge of the seam. Too much fullness can be eased into the hem as it is sewn. Too little and the finished hem will pucker.

Overcast the pant legs’ edges with small, narrow zigzagging (J).

Pin the hems
K. Pin the hems, aligning the seams and center front and back creases.

First pin the hem at the seams, then at the center front and center back creases (K).

Finally pin between the pins already in the pant legs.

L. Diagram of hand hemming.


M. Close up of hand stitching. Note that it is fairly loose. The ease in the stitching will help to prevent the thread from breaking.
Hand stitch the hems 

Lock the stitching with three little stitches at the seams. Stitching should not be tight. If it is a little loose it has some give and the thread is less likely to break.

N. Steam press the hems. Use a press cloth if there is any possibility of scorching the fabric.


Press the hems
If there is any danger of scorching the fabric, lay a press cloth over the each hem as it is pressed. Steam press (N).


O. Pants with a one-inch hem don’t have the look of the finished pants below that have a 2 1/2 inch hem.


The finished pants with 2 1/2 inch deep hems.


215 884 7065
© Laurel Hoffmann, 2018.

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