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How to hem Jeans, with Bernina


Have you ever tried to hem a pair of jeans?

If you have, you probably realize that there are a few special considerations, both because of the fabric (denim is thick!) and the look (decorative topstitching).

For your next pair of jeans, I’d like to point you to this wonderful tutorial from the folks at the Bernina blog, WeAllSew.

It covers:

  • Minimizing bulk in the seams.
  • How to press the hem properly using a clapper.
  • Getting the topstitching to look just right.
  • Using the hump jumper to get over bulky seams.

If you still need a little more guidance, Bernina also has a handy video on hemming jeans.

Check out the tutorial and the video (along with lots of other handy tutorials) over at WeAllSew.

This post was written in partnership with Bernina, my favorite sewing machine company and one of our sponsors for this month. Thanks Bernina!

Sarai Mitnick


Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.


Jo Three Stories High

September 16, 2014 #

I am building up to making a pair of jeans so this is really useful thanks. I have the denim just need to get that Burda pattern now. Jo x

Donna Stevens

September 16, 2014 #

Here’s a useful little trick for minimizing the bulk of folded/double seams: pin them in place and then whack them a few times with a hammer. First time I tried this, I was really surprised at how easy it was to sew over that bulky seam after hammering them a couple times!


September 16, 2014 #

Yes, this is an excellent tip! I use a soft-tipped hammer for this (also featured in my book).


September 17, 2014 #

This is what I always do. Amazing how it softens the threads and allows the needle to pass through. With the “hump jumper” it’s so easy.


September 16, 2014 #

This is rather timely! I have 3 pairs of jeans my friend asked me to hem for her…and I said of course, no problem, but I have never actually hemmed jeans. Though they appear to be a fairly thin demin and have dark stitching which should be a blessing! Nonetheless this should be helpful.

sj kurtz

September 16, 2014 #

I wish the original post had shown more of trimming out the excess seam allowance (you can take too much out, ask me how!). Hammering is a great idea! I’ve done it with belt loops for jeans, why not for the hem I’ve no idea. Suddenly smarter!

Loving this SeptHEMber theme.


September 17, 2014 #

I also have to hem my jeans or other pants very often and I also have to hem my husband’s jeans because he’s on the short-side too. After pinning for proper length and cutting off any excess, (and make sure you see how the edge is shaped and cut along the shape of that edge…usually they’re NOT straight across.) I usually do the hems 1 of 2 different ways: 1) If I’m in a hurry, (and this is most of the time) this is my quick & dirty method; zig-zag or overlock along the cut edge, then turn the hem edge under to the inside and pin lightly and start sewing — sometimes with only one line of stitching and sometimes with two, with or without the yellow/orange color thread, depending on the pants and depending on my mood and how fine or not so fine, I want things to look. Press along the outside with a super hot iron 2) For a more polished and professional look, I pretty much do what Sarai does. And I have an older Pfaff 1471, a real heavy-duty workhorse. I don’t change feet or anything. I just slow down when going over the hump and make sure that I start and end at the inside seam and back-tack the last few stitches. So by starting and finishing on the inside seam, any less than perfect stitches are not going to matter that much…again, depending on how polished you want your hems to look.


September 17, 2014 #

As a beginning sewist, the tip about the hump jumper was just what I needed. I used a needle pack and it worked like a charm!


September 17, 2014 #

Yes, the needle pack suggestion is major!!