How to shorten pant legs without cutting the bottom hem

Updated March 21, 2017

Countless men and women wear trousers every day, and whether they are wearing slacks or jeans, their trousers may be too long. Petite women and shorter men often have trouble purchasing trousers that are short enough for them. Trousers that droop past the ankle are often considered unflattering, and though it is possible to cut the bottom hem off of trousers, if you prefer not to cut the garment, you can shorten the trousers by adjusting the hem.

Determine how much shorter you would like your trousers to be and cut that number in half. For example, if you would like your trousers to be 2 inches shorter, you will cuff your trousers by 1 inch.

Turn each pant leg inside out. Cuff your trousers by flipping the bottom of each pant leg up to the measurement you came up with. So, if you want your trousers 2 inches shorter, pull the hem up 1 inch. Measure to make sure your hem is placed accurately.

Pin the cuff in place, measuring to make sure that the cuff is turned up evenly all around. If your cuff is not pinned evenly, your trousers will be shortened unevenly, making for a messy, unprofessional finished product.

Prepare your sewing machine and stitch the hem, sewing along the bottom seam of the old hem. Remove the pins as you sew so you do not damage your sewing machine. Stitch all around the cuff.

Turn the pant legs right side out. Flip the unstitched part of the cuff back inside the pant legs, leaving only the newly stitched bottom hem showing on the outside. Slip an iron inside each pant leg, creasing down the part of the cuff that is now inside. Iron the outside of each pant leg, pressing the hem firmly down.

Try on your newly shortened trousers. Examine the shortened hem in the mirror and make sure the trousers are as short as you need them to be. If you find that you have miscalculated, you can remove the stitching and start the process over. Since you did not cut the bottom of your trousers, you can resew the hem easily.


If you often wear heels with your trousers, determine how many inches you want to shorten your trousers while wearing your heels and taking the extra height into consideration.

Things You'll Need

  • Trousers
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
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About the Author

Tessa Holmes has been writing professionally since 2007. Her short stories and articles have been published on and in the "Cypress Dome." She has worked with the "Florida Review." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Central Florida.