My Jeans Are Too Short – Adding Hem Length

My jeans are too short…again! One of the disadvantages of being fairly tall at 176cm (roughly 5′ 9″). It’s great being able to reach things on the high shelves and being able to wash the roof of the car easily, but I do wish I could wear high heels without towering over everybody. Oh and often than not ready to wear pants are just to short.

My Jeans Are too Short - Adding Length Hem

I could go and visit the special Jeans store that sells them in varying leg lengths but my budget conscious self just couldn’t leave the $9 a pair jeans that I saw a The Warehouse. And to be honest I buy straight leg jeans and roll them up to wear in summer! With the cooler weather now coming to New Zealand it is time to start thinking longer in the pants the department.  So I rolled them down and thought just maybe they would be alright as they were…nope. Always reminds me of a saying we used at High School ‘Urkle Pants’ for the TV show Family Matters!

My Jeans Are too Short - Fix

Luckily for me I only need to add a little length and as long as they have a double folded hem this little trick works well. If you are needing more length then maybe you could add a strip along the bottom, a favourite pair of jeans I had as a teen had a pink fabric strip sewn onto the hem by my sister! If only I had a photo of those to share!

My Jeans Are too Short - DIY Fix


  • A pair of too short jeans/pants
  • Single Fold Bias Tape (Or Double pressed open) – Make your own Bias Tape with this tutorial
  • Seam Ripper
  • Iron
  • Matching Thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape or Lint Roller (optional)


Step 1 – Remove Existing Hem

Jeans Hemmed Too Short Tutorial

First we need to remove the existing hem. I like to make a little start using the pointed end of the seam ripper (aka unpicker, quick unpick etc).

Jeans Too Short Fix Tutorial

The insert the short end with the round plastic ball on the end inside the seam. As in photo above. Then gently push up while holding the seam stable with your free hand. This works better on more solid fabric so be careful or you will end up with a hole. DO NOT insert the pointed end into the opening as this will puncture the fabric and pretty much guarantee a hole!

Fix my too short jeans tutorial

Once you have gone right the way around you will be left with little cut threads everywhere. Remove the long threads by hand and then…

My jeans are too short seam ripper trick

Wrap a piece of Sellotape around your fingers with the sticky side out (or a lint roller works too). Then press down on the small lose threads to collect them all up easily.

Step 2 – Prep and Press

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

To prepare the hem we need to remove all the frayed ends from the raw edge. It never ceases to amaze me how badly some RTW clothing is put together.  The width of the hem is all over the place luckily it won’t matter this time.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

After a neat trim it should look more like above. Turn the Pants inside out.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Press the new hem in place. I just unfolded it by one turn so added a bit over 1cm (3/8″) to the length.

Step 3 – Pin and Join Bias Tape

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Starting about 1cm (3/8″) over the inseam pin your bias over the raw edge. How close you go to the edge is up to you, it will determine where the seams end up on the outside.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Cut the bias with at least the same 1cm (3/8″) overlap on the other side of the inseam too (so the bias tape should overlap by at least 2cm (3/4″).

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Mark the position of the inseam on the underneath layer of bias tape.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Lay the top layer over and mark the same inseam position.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Remove the two pins closest the the inseam.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

This will give you enough room the move the bias around. With the right sides facing and taking care that there are no twists, place the two marks together.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Pin in place. I like to pin about 1cm (3/8″) in from the marks so that I can leave the pin in when sewing. I missed this bit but ideally you should fold the bias tape open before sewing!

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Sew a straight stitch at the marks. Don’t forget to back stitch at the beginning and end.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Remove the pin and press the join open.

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Re-pin the bias to the hem.

Step 4 – Sew on Bias Tape

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Starting with the side nearest the folded hem, sew with a straight stitch close to the edge of the bias tape. Go right round in one go (back stitch!)

My Jeans Are Too Short Fix Tutorial

Repeat on the further side of the bias tape. The bias tape should enclose the raw edge and give a nice neat finish. The bias tape will also add stability as the new hem is now thinner than it was when folded double.

So next time you are walking towards a glass door catching your reflection and thinking…eeek MY JEANS ARE TOO SHORT! You’ll know just what to do to fix them!

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My jeans are too short diy tutorial