How To Hem Dress Pants

Learn how to hem dress pants and you'll never be at the mercy of your tailor again. Dress pants are usually hemmed so that the “break,” or small fold, hits the vamp of your shoe. With a few steps, you can give your pants a professional finish.

To hem dress pants, you'll need:

  • Six inch ruler
  • Chalk
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Pressing cloth
  • Needle
  • Thread
  1. Mark the hem. Wear a pair of shoes that are the height you’ll most likely wear with the pants you‘re hemming. Decide where you want your pants to “break” and ask someone to help you mark the hem with a ruler. Have her lightly mark a dashed chalk line 1¼ inches below the desired hem length. The dashes should be 1/2 inch apart.
  2. Connect the dotted line with a ruler. You will remove the chalk lines later, so draw the line as lightly as possible. Measure vertically with the ruler at several points to make sure that the chalk line is at the same distance from the raw edge all the way around the pant leg.
  3. Fold the hem on the chalk line and pin it. Turn the pants inside out and fold the hem allowance 1/4 inch to give the garment a neat appearance. Press the ¼ inch fold. Use straight pins to pin the pant hem using a one inch hem allowance.
  4. Check the length of both hems. Make sure that the pant hems are an equal distance from the floor. Make adjustments if necessary.
  5. Sew the pant leg hem with a hand stitch. Use a slip stitch to sew the hem in place. Anchor the thread with a small knot at the inseam and stitch around the pant leg hem.
  6. Press the hem lightly. Use lots of steam with a pressing cloth. Don’t use too much pressure or the pant leg hem will be too sharp, and the fabric may become shiny.
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