How to shorten trousers without hand sewing

Updated February 21, 2017

In the past, if you wanted to shorten trousers, your choices were to pull out the sewing machine or sew them by hand. Today, there are products on the market that allow you to join fabric without using a needle or thread. Read on to learn how to shorten trousers without time-consuming hand sewing.

Buy fusible web tape. Fusible web is a material that has been treated with adhesive. When you melt the adhesive with a hot iron, the material joins together. Fusible web is also sold in sheets, but for the purpose of hemming trousers you want to buy the fusible web that is sold in a rolled, thin strip, much like tape.

Turn the trousers inside out to remove the existing cuff, unless the bottoms of the legs are unfinished. Use a stitch remover to cut the threads. Unfold the cuff and iron them to remove the crease, then turn the pants back right side out.

Take a pair of trousers that are the correct length on you, and use a tape measure to measure the outside of the leg. Start at the very top of the waist and measure straight down the leg to the bottom of the cuff.

Use the tape measure to measure down the outside of each leg on the pair of trousers you need to shorten. Mark the length with chalk. Use a ruler to draw a straight line with the chalk across the front of the trousers, connecting your two marks. Then turn them over and extend the line across the back.

Draw a second straight line with your chalk, on both the front and the back of the trousers, that is 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) lower than your first line. Cut the material on the lowest line and throw away what you cut off. Fold the bottom of the leg up so you have access to the inside.

Fold your cuff up 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inches) so the bottom of your material is touching the top line that you drew with the chalk. Measure the distance around the leg of the trousers at the spot that you are hemming and then cut two pieces of fusible web tape to that size. Insert the fusible tape into the cuff that you formed and pin it in place every 7.5 cm (3 inches). Fold the bottom of the leg back down so your cuff is inside.

Put a cloth over top of the leg with the cuff, and then iron with a steam iron. Remove the pins from the cuff as the tape is melted and then iron again. Repeat this process for the second leg.


Fusible products for joining fabric are also sold in the form of liquid glue. The glue version of the product does not typically hold up through as many washings as the tape, but is sometimes more convenient for quick repairs.

Always follow the manufacturer's directions on the packet for the specific product you chose to purchase.


Fusible products are designed to be able to be machine washed and dried; however, they are not considered permanent, and do not last as long as sewing. After several washings you might need to re-hem the trousers.

Things You'll Need

  • Fusible web tape
  • Stitch remover
  • Iron
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
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