Tutorial: Lengthening a Hem

3:19 PM

If I ever buy trousers or a skirt, I always have to lengthen the hem as much as possible. This is a quick and easy way that keeps the hem looking beautiful even after it has been altered.

1. Remove the stitching from the original hem.
2. Top-stitch hem tape 1/4" from the edge.
3. Fold a new hem line along the edge of the tape and blind stitch into place.
4. Press the new hem. 


1. Use a razor blade to unpick the original stitching. A seam ripper tends to yank on the threads and put unnecessary stress on the fabric. 

2. If you have difficulty getting the original crease to disappear, it's probably because the garment had some type of finishing treatment like starching. Once the garment is laundered or dry-cleaned the crease should come right out. 

3. If you don't have hem tape, a wide single-fold bias tape does the job just as well.

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  1. Very timely. ii am trying to decide whether or not to use the vinegar solution on some pants that I lengthened. Do you or any of the other readers know of a good test to do that will make sure there are no "surprises" when using the vinegar for the stubborn creases?? Thank you

    1. I add vinegar to every load in both the prewash and rinse spaces of my machine and I've never had any sort of surprises. I use it to remove odors and prevent dye bleedout.

  2. Brilliant! I never thought of hem tape!

  3. Great tutorial! I've linked to it over at Craft Gossip: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-let-out-a-hem-to-lengthen-a-garment/2013/12/31/

  4. Thanks for the insight...must try as you got a nice finish! I wondered how you would go about lengthening/re-hemming a skirt/dress that has a kick pleat?

    1. Hey Bern,
      Most of the time the kick pleat can easily be lengthened. When you unstitch it you'll see exactly how it was constructed. You'll put it back together the exact same way, just with the new stitching 1" lower, or however much you're lengthening the hem.

      Occasionally, you'll find that the excess fabric inside the pleat has been cut out. If that is the case, the hem cannot be lengthened.


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