Tips and Steps for Lengthening Pants

Tall women often struggle to find pants or jeans that fit right and are long enough. If you're regularly dealing with this problem, learning to lengthen pants with simple alterations could save you a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, altering pants or jeans to make them longer is a little trickier than altering pants or jeans to make them shorter. If you know you might have to alter the leg-length of your pants, look for pants with a wide hem and extra fabric tucked inside the pant leg.

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Prepare the Hemline

Recruit a friend to help you prepare your hemline length. Pull the original hem out of your pants and use a steam iron to iron the crease flat. Put your pants on and stand straight, with your weight centered over your legs. Have your friend fold the jeans or pants under at the desired hem-length, pinning it in place with straight pins. Check the new hemline in the mirror to make sure that you like its placement.

Take the pants off and place them inside-out on an ironing board. Iron a new crease in your pants where the straight pins are marked, removing the pins as you iron.

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Use the Hem Allowance

When you add length to your pants or jeans, you're using up some of the original hem allowance to make your pants longer. The hem allowance refers to the fabric that sits between the bottom of the pants and the actual hem itself.

Normally, pants or jeans offer a half-inch to an inch of hem allowance, but you may discover that you don't have enough left-over material to leave a half-inch or an inch. Allow yourself the widest hem allowance you can without shortening the hemline.

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Sewing the Hemline

If your pant fabric has a raw edge, you'll want to trim it to make it even, then finish the edge to prevent it from unraveling. Straight stitch along the hemline approximately a quarter-inch from the raw edge using a sewing machine.

If you have extra fabric to spare, you may want to fold the raw edge over a quarter-inch before you apply the straight stitch. For fabrics prone to unraveling, you may want to use a zig-zag stitch.

When the raw edge is finished, it's time to stitch the new hemline into place. It's best to hand stitch the hemline for precision. Use a matching thread for pants or a contrasting thread for jeans. Tie the hem in place using small knots.