How to Sew an Invisible Hem in a Skirt or in Dress Pants

The catch stitch is used in this tutorial to create a hem in a skirt or pants.

Supplies Needed:

Skirt or Dress Pants in Need of a New Hem
Seam Ripper
Seam Ruler
Sewing Pins
Sewing Machine
Marking Pen/Pencil
Thread to match garment
Hand Sewing Needle

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1) Carefully remove old hem with a seam ripper.

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2) Measure existing hem to be duplicated on the new hem allowance.

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3)Try on and mark with pins the length you would like.  Press.

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4)Mark down from crease the amount of the old hem allowance.  Then cut the excess off.

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5)Finish raw hem edge with a zig zag stitch to prevent unraveling.

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6)Turn hem up and pin.  Make sure to match side seams.  To hold in place, baste hem. Now is a good time to try on the garment to confirm that the hem is correct and hangs evenly.

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7)Thread a basic sewing needle to hand sew the hem.  Knot ends together. With garment inside out and edge of hem allowance facing up, begin by placing needle under the seam allowance and pull it through. Then place needle under the hem allowance, and pull it through.

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8) Keeping stitches on the loose side. Point needle to the left but moving to the right 1/4″ pick up one thread of the garment.

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9) Then again with needle to the left and moving right 1/4″ take a small stitch in the hem allowance.

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10) Continue sewing around the hem.

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11) Finish by pulling needle through to the underside of the seam allowance. Tie the ends together into a double knot.  Trim threads. Clip and remove basting stitches.


12) Newly hemmed skirt!

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Hemming Jeans

Hemming jeans is an easy alteration with minimal costs.

Supplies Needed:

  • Pair of Jeans in need of shortening
  • Sewing Pins
  • Iron
  • Chalk
  • Seam Ruler
  • Marking pen/pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • 100/16 Sewing Needle
  • Thread

Try on the jeans with shoes.  Mark with sewing pins the length desired by cuffing pant leg under and securing with sewing pins.  Carefully take jeans off.

*Style tip:  Jeans hemmed 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the floor to the bottom edge of the jeans promote a long leg look.

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Press with iron to form a crease.

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Chalk the edge of the crease.

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Uncuff to make a straight leg.  Measure with seam ruler from crease to bottom of jeans making sure distance is consistent all the way around.

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Measure existing hem with a seam ruler from the top stitching of hem to bottom of jeans.  Use this number and multiply by 3 then add 1/8″ (Ex. 1/2″ wide hem x 3 = 1 1/2″ +1/8″=1  5/8″)

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Use ruler to measure down from chalk line by the multiple amount and mark a cutting line.

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Take scissors and trim at lower line.

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Pull the leg inside out. Fold up from cut edge the amount of the original hem.  (Ex. 1/2″)  Press a crease with steam.

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Fold up one more time by the amount of original hem.  Make sure the side seam is in the same direction from the waistband to the hem.   Match up side seams (outside of leg) and inseams (inside of leg)  lines and pin.  Press with iron.

Turn leg right side out.  Place pins along the leg.

Take jeans to the sewing machine threaded with navy colored thread and a 100/16 size needle.  Set machine on straight stitch and remove free arm.

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Place jean leg edge along needle plate line that is equal to the original hem width.  (From example above, 1/2″ hem width then use 4/8  line on needle plate.)

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Begin top stitching from inseam, backstitch, continue stitching carefully using hand wheel to get through the thickness of the inseam.  Stitch around the leg and at the side seam take it slow again using the hand wheel.  Then continue to sew around the leg ending back at the inseam.  Backstitch.  Trim threads.

Voila!  Your jeans are perfectly hemmed.

*This method of hemming jeans can also be used for hemming other types of top stitched pants.

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How to Hem Jeans from SewingwithValorie on Vimeo.