How to Hem Slacks Without Thread

Updated November 21, 2016

Professional alterations add to the cost of slacks even if you buy them off a clearance rack. Hemming slacks yourself saves you time and money. If you are not handy with a needle and threat, keep iron-on hem tape on hand for hemming and simple repairs.

Try on the slacks and the shoes that will be worn with them. Put the slacks on inside out. Turn up the cuff to the desired length and pin or tape at four points: the front, back and both sides. Remove the slacks carefully and place them on your ironing board.

Iron along the fold with a hot steam iron to form a sharp crease. Unfold the cuff and chalk or pin a line on the excess fabric 1 1/2 in. from the crease. Use scissors to cut off the excess material along the chalk line. Do not cut along the crease line.

Cut four lengths of the iron-on hem tape, each as long as the width of the slacks leg. Refold the cuff with the hem tape tucked inside near the raw edge of the hem. Pin in place if necessary.

Dampen the towel and place it over the cuff. Using the wool setting, press the hot iron firmly over the area for 10 seconds to fuse the tape to the fabric. Do not slide the iron around.

Wait a few seconds for the cuff to cool, and check gently to see if there are any spots that did not fuse. Repeat Step 4 to ensure that the entire hem fuses.

Repeat the process for the second leg. Turn the slacks right-side out.


Thick materials may require a longer fuse time. Repeat Step 4 several times or hold iron in place for a longer time. Keep towel damp to prevent scorching. Note whether or not the hem tape matches the care instructions of the garment. Some tapes cannot be dry-cleaned.


Use care when working with a hot steam iron, and allow the fusing material to cool thoroughly before touching.

Things You'll Need

  • Straight pins or tape
  • Ironing board
  • Steam iron
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Iron-on hem tape
  • Small towel
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About the Author

Based in central Florida, Dawn Rivera began writing professionally in the 1970s. She served as a contributing columnist for the “Sanford Herald” newspaper and was the editor of “PCO,” a magazine for the Florida pest control industry. Rivera holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Florida Southern College.