Have you ever found the perfect pair of pants that don’t fit perfectly? Luckily, these days some tailors and seamstresses can work their magic to take a garment that’s a size too big and make it fit like a glove. Knowing how much it costs to hem pants is good information to have. This way, next time you find an amazing deal on a pair of jeans that don’t fit just right, you’ll know if it will still be a worthwhile purchase when you factor in the necessary alterations.
Getting your pants hemmed by a professional can cost between $10 and $50 – generally somewhere in the middle. The experience and skill level of the tailor can be a factor in the end price, as well as the type of pants being altered. Dress pants with lining or pleats will be at the higher end of the spectrum – while jeans or pants with a simple hem will be on the lower end.
In this article, we will go over the types of hems that are most often found on pants and what other factors play a role in the cost of hemming. We will also discuss prices for other common alterations and how you can hem your own pants at home if you don’t want to take a trip to the tailor.
- Different Types of Hems for Pants
- How Much it Costs to Hem Pants
- Costs For Other Alterations
- How Much Can Tailors Shorten Pants?
- How Long Does It Take To Hem Pants?
- Cost to Hem Pants at Dry Cleaners
- How to Hem Pants on Your Own
- How Much Does Hemming Jeans Cost?
- What Is the Average Cost to Hem Pants?
Different Types of Hems for Pants
Different styles of pants in varying materials utilize different types of hems. Some are functionally more durable, while the purpose of others may be to create a delicate or specific aesthetic. Below you will find the most common categories of pants hems.
Single Fold Hem
A single-fold hem is just as simple as it sounds. The fabric at the edge of the garment is folded up once and then sewn into place. A single-fold hem is often used with thicker, more durable fabrics that won’t unravel easily – since the raw edge of the material will still be somewhat exposed. This type of hem also leaves one side of the piece unfinished, so it is generally only used when the back of the garment will not be visible.
Double Fold Hem
The double-fold hem is the most widely used type of hem. It is the most durable and is the number one choice for denim and work pants – which is why it is sometimes referred to as the jeans hem. The double-fold hem is achieved by folding the edge of the fabric up about ½ inch two times and then sewing through all three layers.
This completely encases the raw edge of the fabric – creating a strong hem that will protect the fabric and garment from loose threads fraying or unraveling. A double-fold hem will be visible and, in addition to its physical strength, can also be used for decorative purposes – often using contrasting thread colors.
Blind or Invisible Hem
The blind hem is visually appealing as it creates a clean finish that appears invisible. A blind hem is achieved by folding 1 to 2 inches of fabric up to the inside of the garment and then sewing it into place using stitches that are not visible from the outside. This is the type of hem used for most dress pants and slacks and for any item where no visible stitching is desired.
The blind hem is best suited for garments that will not be used aggressively or for labor-intensive purposes – as they are stitched somewhat delicately. Blind hems can be sewn by hand or machine with a specialized foot.
How Much it Costs to Hem Pants
Depending on the tailor – and other factors such as where you happen to live – you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 to have your pants professionally hemmed. Several things besides the tailor’s reputation will determine the final cost for hemming pants. These include the type of hem, the material of the pants, and whether or not the pants have a lining. A single fold hem will cost less than a double fold or blind hem since it takes less work overall.
Anything with a lining or pleats is much more intricate, requiring more attention and care – so you can count on these types of pants coming in at the higher end of the price range. If your hem has come loose and you need the item re-hemmed – not necessarily altered to change length – the cost will likely be similar. This is because re-hemming will require similar work as with a newly made alteration.
Since the cost for tailors can vary quite a bit, it is important to shop around to find someone who will do a great job at a fair price. You likely don’t want to spend a fortune – making the great deal for which you got those pants less great – but you also want to make sure the work that is done is quality. So when you get your pants back, they fit perfectly – as if they were made just for you.
Costs For Other Alterations
Shorting pants is one of the easiest and most common alterations that people have done, but there are many other ways a tailor can turn a garment that doesn’t quite fit into one of your go-to pieces. Below you will find several other common alterations and their price ranges.
Styles change – and so do bodies – if you have a pair of pants with too much fabric around the legs, you will likely want to have them tapered. Tapering creates a slimmer fit that can be tighter in both the thigh area and the ankle – giving a skinnier look overall. Tapering is a standard alteration that can range from $20 to $45. Keep in mind that pants with linings will be more expensive, and hemming is often an additional cost to the price for tapering.
Increasing the length of a pair of pants has much more limitations than having them shortened – you only have the amount of material in the hem as an allowance for additional length. The cost to have your pants lengthened – to whatever extent is available – will likely run from $20 to $40.
Taking in or letting out the waistline of a pair of pants is a common and useful alteration. Adjusting the waist size can cost anywhere from $20 to $50, considering material, linings, pleats, and zippers. This alteration can also greatly increase the life of your garment and end up saving you in the long run.
Removing the pleats from a pair of pants is a tedious and time-consuming procedure – therefore, an expensive one. Though it is possible, changing pleated pants into a pair with flat fronts alters the entire design.
To remove the pleats, the tailor will need to re-cut the pants, making this one of the most expensive alterations you can have done at $50 to $75. Unless the pants you’re having altered are made from a one-of-a-kind fabric you just can’t live without, consider whether the cost to have them changed completely is worth it versus purchasing something new.
How Much Can Tailors Shorten Pants?
Shortening the length of a pair of pants is one of the easiest alterations a tailor can make. Unlike adding length – or even changing the waistline – which has definite limitations, taking length off the bottom of a pair of pants can be done in almost any amount. Many designers intentionally leave an excess of material at the bottoms of pant legs so that the individual who purchases them can have them tailored to the right length.
How Long Does It Take To Hem Pants?
The process of hemming a pair of pants is straightforward and generally doesn’t take a great deal of time to complete. The level of detail – whether or not linings are involved – can play a role in determining when you can pick up your completed pair of pants. The biggest factor in when you will get your garment back depends on how busy your tailor is.
On a slow week, some tailors could have your pants ready as soon as the next day. During their busiest times with a lot on their plate, you might not get to wear your new pants until the following week. Generally speaking, when having your pants professionally hemmed, you should expect to wait 3 to 5 days between drop off and pick up.
Cost to Hem Pants at Dry Cleaners
Often a dry cleaner can do more than just remove stains from your delicate clothing items. Many dry cleaners offer alteration services in addition to cleaning – and often at a slightly reduced price compared to a standalone tailor. The best way to get an accurate price for hemming at a dry cleaner is to call and get a quote.
The cost will likely be on the lower end of the price range – anywhere from $15 to $30. The added bonus is that if you have a dry cleaner you regularly use, you may be working with someone you already know and trust.
How to Hem Pants on Your Own
If you happen to be feeling crafty, hemming your own pants may be an easier feat than you’d think. It shouldn’t take more than an hour – unless you’ll be dealing with complicated linings – and will save you money and a trip to the tailor. Plus, you’ll be able to wear the newly fitted pants almost immediately! Below you will find three ways to hem pants on your own – by hand, with a machine, and the sew-free method of using hem tape.
Using a sewing machine is a simple method to hem a pair of pants. The first step is to determine the correct hem length. Try on the pants, fold and pin them at the desired length – if you plan on wearing them with a specific pair of shoes, you should try the pants on while wearing the shoes you intend to wear with them.
It may be easier to pin evenly if you have an extra pair of hands to help. Next, remove the pants and use a tape measure to gauge the length of the hem. Carefully fold and re-pin around the leg, measuring and pinning as you go to ensure everything is level. Once you’ve pinned the entire circumference, press with an iron to make a crease.
Now, you can create your hem. Fold under once for a single fold hem or twice to create a more durable double fold. If you have a lot of excess fabric, you can carefully trim it – being sure to leave enough for the hem. Alternatively, you can simply fold the old hem under.
If you are working with denim – or another thick fabric – you may have to remove the old hem using a seam ripper before folding the new one since there will be too much bulk otherwise. Make sure to continue measuring as you go so you don’t end up with pants legs of different lengths!
Now it’s time to sew! Take the prepped pants to the sewing machine and, using a straight stitch sew the new hemline. If you are sewing jeans or thick pants, make sure to use an appropriate heavy-duty needle to avoid breaks or to ruin the machine.
Hemming pants by hand is almost the same process as by machine. The only difference is that the new hemline is sewn by hand rather than on the machine. Follow the same steps above to prepare the pants for their new hem. Once measured and pinned – and measured again – sew with a straight stitch along the entire length of the hemline. Take your time working slowly to create a clean, straight line. Tailor’s chalk can also help ensure you are sewing a straight line.
With Hem Tape
Hem tape offers a means to hem pants without having to do any sewing. Hem tape is a solidified adhesive formed into thin, light sheets of fabric that can be cut to any length you need. The hem tape softens when heated with an iron – adhering the two sides of the fabric together and keeping the hem in place.
Hem tape is a quick alternative to sewing and leaves no sew marks behind. But – unlike stitching which can easily be undone – it is a permanent solution. If you plan on re-hemming your pants for any reason in the future, hem tape shouldn’t be your first choice.
To hem using hem tape – prepare your pants as you would for any other hem process – by measuring, pinning and creasing them. Next, turn your pants inside-out and lay them on a heat-proof surface like an ironing board. Unfold the hem and cut off a length of hemming tape that will wrap around the entire leg opening.
Once the tape is in place, fold the end of the pant leg back over, making sure to cover the tape completely. If any hem tape sticks out when heated, it will stick to whatever surfaces it touches rather than holding the hem in place.
Wet a tea towel and wring out excess water. Place the wet towel over the hem of the pants and, using an iron set to hot, without steam, press down hard on the hem for about 10 seconds. Be aware of the material the pants are made from, as certain synthetics do not take well to heat. With the tea towel barrier, it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re worried, you can always start with 5 seconds and increase if everything looks okay.
Allow the pants to cool for a few minutes before checking that the bond is secure. If the hem pulls away, easily repeat the ironing process – re-wetting the towel if it has dried. Once the hem is securely in place, the garment can be washed and/or dry cleaned as normal!
Tips for Hemming
A few things to keep in mind when hemming your own clothes:
- Match thread colors to the fabric. This will ensure a professional-looking result unless you are going for a decorative look where a contrasting color is chosen intentionally.
- Use the correct needle. Make sure you use an appropriate needle for the type of material you’ll be sewing. Whether by hand or machine, this will make the process smoother overall.
- Measure twice, cut once! There is nothing worse than making a wrong cut on a sewing project! Take the extra time to ensure everything is measured precisely where you want it before cutting and/or sewing.
- Use your tools! Pins and iron are invaluable tools to ensure your hems are straight. Don’t skimp on pinning, thinking you can eye-ball an even hemline, and iron in the crease will make a world of difference when sewing – or taping – that hem into place.
How Much Does Hemming Jeans Cost?
The cost to hem jeans is roughly $15 to $35. One type of hemming often used with jeans – and slightly more expensive than a standard hem – is hemming with the original hem. For this method, the original hem of the jeans is cut from the pant leg, the appropriate length removed as well, and then the original hem is sewn back on.
The original seam is opened at the top and placed over the cut edge of the pant leg before being sewn back into place. This creates an almost undetectable alteration. Hemming with the original hem takes a bit more work but gives the most professional result possible.
What Is the Average Cost to Hem Pants?
The average cost to hem pants is in the $20 range. Many factors can slightly decrease or increase the amount, but if this can extend the life of a pair of pants, it is worth it! Having this number in mind can also be helpful for factoring in the total cost when you find a designer item on sale or a pair of jeans that may need altering to fit correctly. If you don’t already have a trustworthy tailor – calling around your city and checking reviews will be the best way to find someone reliable in your price range.