Hemming Distressed Jeans

Being the short gal that I am, sometimes it’s hard to find a great pair of jeans that fit well in the length. A couple of years ago I found some awesome deals on Lucky jeans at Buckle in the mall, and they offered free alterations. I wanted to take the jeans on my trip to visit a friend in Atlanta the next day and there wasn’t time to leave the jeans at the store to be sewn. So the salesperson showed me the basic concept of how their sewing service altered the jeans leaving the cool original distressed hem at the bottom.Yesterday I needed to shorten a pair, so I took a few photos. It’s crazy simple. The only trick is measuring correctly.

Tuck a straight pin along the desired hem length. This is the line that you will stitch along. With pants right side out, fold up the existing hem to just above that pinned line. Stitch just above the current hem’s fold. Iron the fold to keep the fabric in position as you sew around each pantleg. Once sewn, fold the bulk up into the pantleg and press with an iron.Turn pants inside out and stitch either by hand or machine the fold under sections to the side seams to keep them from dropping down.I find that that extra thickness at the bottom of my jeans actually holds a nice open flare to them.Didn’t I tell you it was going to be easy?

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143 Responses to Hemming Distressed Jeans

  1. #1 - natalie says:

    I wish it were so easy to LENGTHEN jeans! :)

  2. #2 - Pam says:

    Wow! I can't believe there's no cutting involved. If the legs are flared at the bottom, does the folded part want to pucker inside?

  3. #3 - Katy says:

    Great tip and super easy, however I wish it worked the opposite way. Though Lucky Jeans actually seem to be the perfect length every time for me…maybe i'm just 'lucky'. ;0) Blessings, Katy

  4. #4 - Amy Jo says:

    I just learned how to do this a couple months ago and LOVE IT! I didn't know the trick about sewing along the side seams so it doesn't fall down. I'll definetly be using that next time.

  5. #5 - Princess Of Pink says:

    Yes, I would love a tip on how to lengthen jeans and trousers too lol

  6. #6 - Cathe Holden says:

    Pam, great question! That could definitely happen if the jeans are quite flared. Mine weren't that much at all and weren't being folded over enough for that to happen.

  7. #7 - BrudFam says:

    I was just about to take a pair of pants to the tailors to do just this. So i think I'll try it myself. The great news is, if I mess up, I can just unpick it! Thanks!

  8. #8 - Anonymous says:

    This is brilliant! I am taller than "average" but shorter than "tall" – so sometimes I end up with tall jeans that either need way-high heels (not happenin') or this magic treatment. Thanks for the show-how. Btw, I have 2 empty white marmalade jars- would you like them?

    -Vicki K.

  9. #9 - the undomesticated wife says:

    Being a short girl myself (5 ft 0 inches) I have a difficult time finding jeans that fit in the length as well. So basically…fold up, fold down and sew?

  10. #10 - Cathe Holden says:

    Vicki K- Fun, I'd love the jars. Email me and let's talk!

    undomesticated, that would be:

    Fold up
    Sew
    Turn
    Press
    Tack

    : )

  11. #11 - cindy says:

    Thanks so much for this tip! I too am short (slightly over five feet) and I can NEVER find a pair of pants that actually fit me properly! Even petite is slightly too long. :(

  12. #12 - Nouveau Stitch says:

    Certainly an easy way to do a pain in the rear chore. I think for me, I would cut that bulk right out of there and finish the raw edge to prevent raveling. I like the idea of keeping that original bottom hem intact.

    Thanks for the tip!

    Ellen

  13. #13 - sinnlighet says:

    Your blogg is so nice!!!

    Agneta from Sweden

  14. #14 - Sara says:

    This is how I hem my jeans (it's impossible to find jeans for my 5 foot height) but the bulk always bothers me, so I cut it out rather than sew it up. Just a suggestion for those who it annoys!

  15. #15 - Simply Susan says:

    Now why didn't my mother think of that…she does all of my alterations because I don't sew ;o)

    I will definitely have to show her this post.

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. #16 - thewillowsnest says:

    very cool!
    Unfortunately , being 5 foot 11 , yep I need the magic lengthener too!
    Helen

  17. #17 - sea-blue-sky & abstracts says:

    Is there anything you can't do?! I'm so impressed.
    Lesley

  18. #18 - sea-blue-sky & abstracts says:

    Is there anything you can't do?! I'm so impressed.
    Lesley

  19. #19 - Christina says:

    Thanks for the help! I am well, very short. And I am always taking it to get hemmed b/c I don't want them to look cheap. But I think I just might be able to pull this off!
    Thanks for sharing!

  20. #20 - Karen says:

    Neat trick, glad you shared, I have kids who have to have their jeans shortened! Thanks, Karen

  21. #21 - Mad Red Hare says:

    Oh my dear friend, where have you been all of my life? At 5'2" I always have to hem my pants. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that one. That is amazing. I think you just made my week, heck maybe even my year!

  22. #22 - Vicki K. says:

    Now I have completed a pair of flared jeans using this method. They look really great. With a small percentage of spandex in my jeans they do not seem to be puckering inside.

    But my new query is whether a new 'wear-line' will develop where the fold of the jean is underneath. The amount of jean shortened is about 3/4". If I were to cut the bulk out, then will that also develop a wear line?

    In any case, it's still brilliant.

  23. #23 - Amy @ Living Locurto says:

    Great trick! I'm tall though and usually need MORE jeans not less:-)

  24. #24 - My name is PJ. says:

    That was easy! I'm tall, so I never have to hem. I have to find things that are long enough. That can be tricky.

  25. #25 - Blue Castle says:

    What a nifty trick! Have to remember this one. :)

  26. #26 - dandelionmuse says:

    wow – thank you for this!! i actually have a pair that needs hemming, but i've been putting off going somewhere to have it done – time to try my hand at it!

  27. #27 - Rue says:

    Hi Cathe :)

    I found you through Julia (Hooked on houses) and I loved your creative space so much, I've been checking out your blog. Love it! You have great ideas :)

    rue

  28. #28 - BeckyKay says:

    That's a great tip! My jeans are always too long. Apparently, if you're a size 10, you better be 5'10" LOL!

    I may have to give this a shot!

  29. #29 - TidyMom says:

    Love this! I blogged about your post today! http://tidymomof2.blogspot.com/2009/06/linky-love-6-12-09.html

    ~TidyMom

  30. #30 - Mel says:

    I have this problem all the time too and usually just end up walking on the extra length!

    Thanks for sharing this!

  31. #31 - Maritha says:

    Oh, THANK YOU so much for this, it's just what I need!! I have not yet EVER bought a pair of jeans with legs short enough to look good on me. Wow, had I only knew before it can be this simple it would have saved me hours of measuring, cutting, fighting, muttering and drinking too many cups of coffee trying to keep my brain functioning while shortening the legs of several pairs of jeans! Once again, thanks!!!!

  32. #32 - Suz says:

    Thanks so much! I'm going to try today

  33. #33 - Tracy says:

    Amazing! I've been hemming pants for years (I'm 5' 1"). This is AWESOME! Thanks!!

  34. #34 - Aurora says:

    Thank you So much for sharing this…I have a pair of Sevens I got cheap at Costco but they are WAY too long. I was afraid to take them somewhere to get hemmed because I HATE those hemmed jeans that are just folded and sewn. Yuck!!! Now I can do it myself. Yea! :) BTW, just found your blog…love it!

  35. #35 - craftevangelist says:

    I know you posted this last summer, but I've been using this technique since then. I just blogged about it and linked back to you.
    http://craftevangelist.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-i-patch-hem-jeans.html

  36. #36 - Melanie says:

    I'm trying so very hard to get this, but I can't. How is it the original hem is left?

  37. #37 - Cathe Holden says:

    Hi Melanie. The original hem, (the yellow thread with the distressed edging) is left hanging below the altered/sewn-up section that I stitched. So, just above the original hem(yellow stitching,) you can see the folded back area that I sewed and ironed flat. Does that help?

  38. #38 - MeckMom says:

    This brilliant. I have a pair of Buckle jeans that are completely tattered on the ends because I was too impatient to wait for the tailoring. From now on I'm doing this! Thanks for the super-simple tutorial!

  39. #39 - Misti Newcomb Kallas says:

    WOW! that looks really easy, even for someone like me with very basic sewing skills. AWESOME Tutorial!

  40. #40 - april says:

    I must be having some serious mommy-brain, but I just don’t see it. :(

    • #41 - Liz says:

      Hi April. If I understand correctly. See the TOP photo you will notice there is a seam right above the GOLD thread. The bottom photos you do not see it…….So to make it easy. say you need to hem your jeans 2 inches. Two inches are folded in towards the back side of the jean…..and sewn from the INSIDE of the jeans…… :o) It is done right there by the bottom seam of the jeans, so you keep the origina hem……

  41. #42 - margaret dowling says:

    omg that is sooooooo clever , i feel like a real dope now i know that proper way !!!tfs
    xmaggiex

  42. #43 - SandyPie says:

    What a FANTASTIC solution, thank you sooooo much for this. This will be great for the Hubs jeans too! (I hate cutting the bottom it just screams home done!) Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  43. #44 - Linda says:

    Bad idea. If your jeans are flared the hem is the widest part of the leg. Unless the jeans are less than 1″ too long the hem will waffle when forced to a more narrow section. It almost never works…also looks funky to ha excess fabric above hem after a few washings. Try hemming as usual the using sandpaper on the hem. That works best for me.

  44. #46 - Lawana Coulthard says:

    Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thank you so much!

  45. #47 - kat says:

    this is a great idea! i actually used something similar to shorten the hem even after having worn (and torn) my jeans for a while…
    thanks for sharing!

  46. #48 - KatieV says:

    Yep, this is called a tricky hem or euro hem. A friend taught me this a while back, and now I love that I can buy any length jeans! :)

  47. #49 - Lynne Williams says:

    Thanks for the great pictures of this process. I have people ask me to hem their jeans all the time, and they will appreciate this technique so much.

  48. #50 - Amber says:

    This is BRILLIANT! I’m short too and I’ve always been hesitant about buying jeans that are too long! Now I know how to fix that pesky problem, seriously, you have saved me!

  49. #51 - colleen says:

    So easy! It makes you wonder how you didn’t think of it yourself! I too am vertically challenged and really appreciated this tidbit, thanks!

  50. #52 - Meghan says:

    That is super easy and is barely noticeable! I am definitely keeping this in mind if I need to hem some jeans. Thanks for posting!

  51. #53 - louise says:

    Great idea! My husband and I are both short, so I’ve taken up a few pairs of jeans in my day. Love this. Will have to give it a try!

  52. #54 - Wendy says:

    That’s brilliant! I’ve got a few pairs of jeans sitting in the closet waiting for me to take on the task. I never knew how simple it could be. Thank you for sharing this.

  53. Pingback: Altering Jeans: Shorter (with Identical Hem) | Make It and Love It

  54. #55 - Abbie says:

    I found this via Pinterest and I just have to say you’re my hero. Where were you when I was in 7th grade and learned to hem my pants/jeans? This way is lifechanging! THANK YOU! :)

  55. #56 - Patti J says:

    Just wondering if there isn’t a lot of bulk in the bottom of the pants if you don’ t cut the excess off? Would heels tend to get caught on the “inside cuff”?

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  57. #57 - Annika says:

    What a great idea!! I´ve always had the same problems, and it seems to be inherited by my kids! I will absolutely try it on the next pair of jeans. Thanks for sharing!!!

  58. #58 - marianne says:

    you can try adding decorative braid or trim to the bottom.

  59. #59 - Annie says:

    Thank you so much for this info. I used it tonight on two pair of jeans and loved the results. After hemming and ironing I did decide that the folded portion created too much bulk so I zig zagged then trimmed it off. I’m a bit worried that they will flip up after a trip through the dryer but I’m hopeful that a few ironing runs will get them “trained”. Really, can’t believe I’ve hemmed so many jeans without thinking of this! it seems so obvious and simple NOW. Kudos!

  60. #60 - Amanda says:

    Oh my gosh! I LOVE this. I am 5′ 2.75″ and always have jeans that are too long. I never wanted to cut off the distressed edge, this is genius. Thanks for sharing on Pinterest.

  61. #61 - Angie says:

    lead here by pinterest.

    thank you. thank you. thank you.
    so simple.
    jeans that were unwearable are now perfect with my flats!

  62. #62 - Melissa says:

    THANK YOU!!!! At 5 foot and a half inch, my jeans are always too long. I used your method this morning and I am just thrilled with the results! I will never worry about length again, this was so simple and quick to do!

  63. #64 - C Bedell says:

    I tried this and you could see the material imprint that was folded underneath. i didn’t care for the look. I thought it was too bulky looking, not a professional look.

  64. #65 - April Thomas says:

    I too have always been short but I’m ok with this! I feel it’s better to look up at people than down on them. Love the hemming idea!

  65. #66 - Ginger Lambert says:

    OMGosh! I have a pair of jeans that I need to do this to… THIS IS AWESOME! thanks

  66. #67 - Frankie says:

    I am so amazed, it looks so simple. I am only 5′ tall. Even when I buy petite I still have to cut and hem because I thought that was the only way. Thank You so much. I am so excited. I am going to drag out some jeans that I have put away because of the length and try this.

  67. #68 - Sharon Brown says:

    So you just fold up the fabric and not cut off the excess. Looks like a neat trick need to give it a try .
    Thanks
    Sharon

  68. #69 - Lori says:

    Who knew?! The jeans I picked up from Buckle yesterday had the excess hem cut and serged. I guess being 5’2″ there was probably too much bulk to leave it. Thanks for sharing!

  69. #70 - kathy bunkofske says:

    this is so awesome!! i never hemmed pants right because i have a lot of trouble cutting a straight line! and therefore probably ruining the pants. this will be much easier!!! thanks sooo much:)

  70. I saw this on Pinterest & decided to pop over for a look at how you did it. What a great idea. I do sew, but have never seen this idea. I’ll remember it for next time. Thanks for sharing this great tip!

    Warmly, Michelle

  71. #72 - Jessicado says:

    Saw this on pinterest….just tried it and AWESOME!!!! Looks great and took me under 10 min for my first try. Thanks so much!

  72. #73 - Deborah Adams says:

    If I’m following this correctly, the hem now showing on the outside is the hem that previously was showing on the inside. Yes?

  73. #75 - Kristen says:

    Thank you! I’ve been needing to hem a pair of jeans and had heard about this method before. Seeing the pictures really helps! I can’t wait to REALLY love my jeans.

  74. #76 - Olivia says:

    Thank you! Found this on pinterest, and I’m hemming two pairs of pants tonight :)

    I remember my Mom hemming my pants as a child and being upset because the bottom wasn’t “cool” anymore, ha! I was such a picky child.

  75. #77 - Jill Hunt says:

    That is called a euro hem – you can also cut off most of the excess, serge & top stitch along the original stitched hem with thread the same color as the jeans – it looks great when done – I do alterations for people & have done quite a few of them. Thanks for posting this!

  76. #78 - Michelle Gjerness says:

    I just recently found this on Pinterest (re-posted to) and I’m doing this right now!! So excited!! Thank you!

  77. #79 - Kate says:

    Oh THANK YOU!!! I’ve made a disaster of two pairs of jeans trying to hem them. Now this is so simple that I can fool my mum into thinking I’ve done it “the right way” hehehe.

    Thanks Cathe!

  78. #80 - t.godbee55 says:

    I have been getting my 6yr old daughters jeans hemmed by her Grandmother for years. It is frustrating that I never felt confident enough to do it myself, and though I can never find jeans that fit I haven’t hemmed any of my own pants either. But now…I just hemmed all the jeans in my closet that were too long. I love Pinterest! LOL! Thanks so much for the great tip! :)

  79. #81 - Jamie says:

    Will this work for skinny jeans as well? I bought a pair and because the legs are so long, they don’t taper as much when my mom shortens them. They just end. Do you think I should shorten my jeans and then make them “skinny” or make them skinny and then shorten them?

  80. #82 - Geri Aldrich says:

    Loved your instruction on hemming jeans. I’m short and am wondering if the hemming works as well, when the hem has to shortened an inch or so? With a shorter amount of hem, would that increase the bulk?
    Thanks.
    Geri

  81. #83 - Karen says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I think after I sewed the hem in place I would cut the extra material. It would cause the pant legs to drape properly.

  82. #84 - bobbyjo says:

    So, is the extra fabric just folded up into the pants? I’m not understanding this.

    • #85 - Cathe Holden says:

      Yes, exactly. I tack up the extra to the inseam. Some prefer to cut off that section, but I don’t think the small area below the hem seam will lay flat after washing if you do.

  83. #86 - karen b says:

    That’s great!Wish I would have thought about that ages ago. I WILL remember it for the future!!

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  85. #87 - Julie says:

    Just tried this method and it was so awesome and easy. Where has this been all my life? I still remember my mom hacking my hemlines as a teen and I hated how they looked. No more. Thank you!!

  86. #88 - Cheri Miller says:

    OMG!!!this is the BEST ever, easy shmeezy. It was the quickest hem job I have ever done. So thankful for your BRILLIANCE!

  87. #89 - Gwen says:

    I do alterations for people and have used this method for years. I cut off the turned up part on the inside to about 1 inch and serge it so have no bulk.

  88. #90 - Kristine says:

    I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time understanding this. If you’re just folding it up and sewing can’t you see the folded part at the hem?

  89. #91 - Donna Millspaugh says:

    As a fellow short person, I find this amazing! Only trouble is no sewing machine!

  90. #92 - cheryl ingersoll says:

    This is way too easy:)

  91. #93 - yogapeg says:

    You are a life saver! I too have great jeans but am a little short (5’4″) for the lengths, and was looking for an easy way to fix the hems (I’m not that great with a sewing machine, LOL).

    Do you think this would work for dress pants as well? I am thinking yes if they are a heavy fabric, but no for thinner ones. :(

  92. #94 - CARMEN says:

    Muito bom !! E tenho dificuldades de fazer essas barras de calcas !! Agora vou seguir as instrucoes!!obrigada.

  93. #95 - Nichole says:

    You DO need to cut/ serge off the excess and then tack it down in the side seams and all along the top. This is not a good method for flared jeans or skinny jeans.

  94. #96 - Bonnie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Whew! I am gonna try with capris also

  95. Pingback: No Cut Cuff Hem Tutorial –

  96. #97 - sara crystal says:

    excellent trick, esp since some pants and skirts have a nice hem detail. I learned to make clothes because I had to shorten everything. thanks. love sara

  97. #98 - Vicki says:

    Thank you so much I always have a time with my pants. I am short also. This looks super easy. You don’t have to cut the bulk away? I love it Thanks again.

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  99. #99 - CJ says:

    I can see how this would work for adults, but for children, hmmm… Ok, when you let them out there will always be the tell tale sign of the folded and stitched lines from the shortening.

  100. #100 - Jenny says:

    My husband has work pants that need to be hemmed. Do you think this would work on those? I wonder if it would still look nice?

  101. #101 - Brenda says:

    I am a beginning sewer and I just took up my first pair or jeans. They look great! You would never know they were hemmed. Thank you!!

  102. #102 - Tawnie says:

    This is amazing! I just did it and took me less than 10 minutes. Thank you for sharing!!!

  103. #103 - Ziranda McKee says:

    This is wonderful. I am also a petite gal and have always had to have ALL my pants hemmed by taylor…I tried this and it turned out great. Thanks so much!!!! I will be saving a lot of money too :)

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  105. #104 - Kristi says:

    I have not sewn for years, but since I’m borrowing a sewing machine from a friend thought I’d hem my daughters jeans. It worked! I can’t believe how easy it was and they look awesome:) Not perfect but am pretty pleased!! Thanks for the info…

  106. My mouth is hanging open – I can’t believe how easy this is.

    y husband will think I’ve suddenly become a whiz with my sewing machine, but we’ll let him think that. And he won’t mind being fooled, I’m sure, since his jeans will be the right length. :-)

    Thanks SOOO much!

  107. Pingback: Hemming Bootcut Jeans | Home Grown Hand-Me-Down

  108. #106 - Erika says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m not the best seamstress so this tip is especially wonderful as there is no cutting (so I can “ctrl+z” a screw up!)

  109. #107 - Arleen says:

    I love this idea! That’s the one thing in life I hate doing is hemming pants. I never have to hem mine because I’m 5’6 but everyone else wants or needs pants hemmed! Wonderful ingenious idea. Thanks so much!

  110. #108 - Hannah Wilcox says:

    I’m loving this and thinking that you could do a similar thing with hems on dresses, etc. that you want to shorten, but want to keep the original hem. Great post!!

  111. #109 - Eleanor Gibbens says:

    Wow, I wish I knew this years ago, when the children were growing up. Perfect for me tho. Love it Thank you for making life easier. Eleanor

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  113. #110 - isabel de plaza says:

    me parecio interesante y muy buena idea a menudo hago estos arreglos ya que soy costurera y me parecio genial esta manera de hacerlo ,gracias por compartir

  114. #111 - caroline says:

    I love your simple explanation and photos! Would you mind if I link to you in a post over at InChartreuseBoots.com {fun ideas for connecting with kids}?

  115. #112 - Madelein Marx says:

    Wow, Cathe. Being just over 5ft, everything is always far to long. Going to attempt that today!

  116. #113 - Gloria Bremner says:

    Want to try this, better finish.

  117. #114 - Annette Long says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this THANKS!!!

  118. #115 - Jean says:

    I have hemmed lots of pairs of pants for myself and my family, and have alway’s measured them and cut them off. No more this looks so easy. Thank you so much for showing us an easier way to hem our pants with the same hem showing.

  119. #116 - Jean Nygren says:

    I can’t believe i have just been shown a new way to hem my new jeans that i buy. I’m only five feet tall and always had to cut them off a good six inches and hem them up. Not any more!!!! Thank you!!!!

  120. #117 - Darleen Schommer says:

    Awesome!!! Got your link from facebook. Thank you everyone for sharing…can’t believe we didn’t think of this sooner.

  121. #118 - Leah says:

    Wow this is the perfect solution for my daughter’s jeans! Her’s are too long now but by the end of the cold season she’ll be taller so I’ve been trying to find a solution to shortening jeans that I can make longer as she grows!

  122. #119 - Mic says:

    If you sew on the pinned line and where the original hem fold is, doesn’t that ADD the length of the original hem to the length of the leg? Should you not alllow for that when pinning?

  123. #120 - Edith C. says:

    Mic–I’ve just scrolled through all of the comments hoping to find someone who’s noticed that and knows how to correct it. I want to try this method on my husband’s work pants, which have a 1-inch hem already, and have realized that they’ll be too long still using this method. So, if my pinning point is the length I actually need plus the hem length, will it work?

  124. #121 - Julie says:

    I’m just so confused on how to know where to fold it up before sewing. Say you fold it up to the exact length that you want it. Then you fold it up a different amount when you do it this way. I’ve tried it a few times and it always comes out the wrong length.

  125. Pingback: Hem Jeans Fast And Easy - Amazing Home and Health

  126. #122 - Carolyn says:

    great idea thanks

  127. #123 - Rolande says:

    AWESOME~~AWESOME~~AWESOME IF I MAY SAY SO~~~~THANKS FOR THE INFO, IT SURE WILL HELP~~~ <:))

  128. #124 - Michelle says:

    Does this work for bootcut jeans, which flare slightly? Have lots of that style which need to be shortened! Thanks!

  129. #125 - Diana says:

    How would you sew to make skinny legs out of wide? I don’t really want skinny but boot cut.

  130. #126 - linda veal says:

    Seems like an outstanding idea. I’ll give it a try asap. By the way I’m only 4′ 10″ tall so it will be very helpful to me. Thank you.

  131. #127 - James R Conner says:

    Very good. This will save me a lot of time and will have the original hem.

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  133. #128 - Terrie says:

    Thats awesome, but don’t they curl up on you?

  134. #129 - Andy says:

    Really Nice tip! Just broke my head. It’s what is a simple fold there. Thanx.

  135. #130 - Saundria Egan says:

    Great directions, but no pics came through. Sure would be better to see pics!

  136. #131 - Suzen Angle says:

    If the jeans are boot cut or flared, this may not work

  137. Pingback: How To Hem Jeans Fast and Easy

  138. #132 - Carolyn says:

    Couldn’t you cut off the excess you turn up instead of leaving it there?