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Pant Hems: Choose the Proper Way to Shorten Your Pants


A common problem among shoppers is finding pants that are the perfect length for their body. The process of shortening or lengthening a pant is called hemming and the finished edge of a pant is called the hem. Pants hemmed to your unique height and style gives you a polished, sophisticated look. This simple alteration makes a big difference in appearance and personal style. How do you decide which pant length is right for you? Here is a short video explaining how to properly mark your pants for hemming. Now, how do you know which type of hem to choose? 


There are five categories that pants fall into: original bottom, blind hem, double fold hem, coverstitch, and a cuff.


Five Categories of Pant Hems

  1. Original Bottom: This is when the original hem is cut off and reattached by machine at the desired length. 
  2. Blind Hems: These are done by hand or machine. This type of hem is made by folding 1-2” of fabric to the inside and then stitching the hem in place using a technique that is not visible from the outside of the fabric. 
  3. Double Fold Hem: This process is completed by using a machine. The hem is created by folding the fabric twice, with the raw edge of the fabric to the inside, and stitched through all the layers of fabric. This seam will be visible and can be used for decorative purposes.
  4. Cover Stitched Hems: This process is a four thread process used to hem knitted fabric or fabric that stretches.
  5. Cuffed Hems: This is a hem type that is achieved by turning back  fabric and taking it in place to produce a 1”-1 ½ ” pocket, called a cuff. This hem can be done with two different machines and used for style purposes.

What type of hem do you need? In truth, this all depends on your personal style. With that said, there are specific uses for the different types of hems. This is because different hems will perform better with certain fabrics and activities.  Each category has its own purpose to the finished garment.


Pant Hem Purposes by Category


  • Original bottoms are normally used for style only. This is commonly used in jeans and heavy fabrics. Ever notice that washed out look at the bottom of your blue jeans? By having an original bottom hem, you could keep that same styled look but shorten them to the length you need.
  • Blind hems are used for almost all dress pants/slacks. This hem is for garments that need shortening but do not want any visible stitching. This hem works best for pants that are worn with light activities. This category of hemming should be avoided for garments that are needed for aggressive or labor intensive activities.
  • Double fold hems are used in a variety of different pants. They are the most durable out of all of the hem categories. This process is used on jeans and work pants. Other than being the most durable hem, double fold hems can be personalized by using a different color thread (red, yellow, green, etc.) to personalize the pants with a pop of color.
  • Cover Stitched Hems are used for knit wear or pants that have a stretch. This hem is used for  items like sweatpants or leggings. Like Double fold hems, cover stitch hems can also be used for personalization though thread color.
  • Cuffed Hems are used on dress pants/slacks to add flare to a pair of pants. These are generally 1”-1 ½” but can be bigger to add personalization to the garment.

Everyone can feel the difference when they wear a pair of pants that are hemmed to the perfect length for them. Getting your pants hemmed to your unique build and style is an easy way to take your wardrobe to the next level. 

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