Friday, February 3, 2012

How to Shorten Sweatpants

Super soft sweatpants from Kohls for $9 = AWESOME!!!

 Feeling like one of the Seven Dwarfs 
because these puppies are long enough 
to accommodate 6" heels = NOT AWESOME :(

Hey, but it's all good because I can fix that! 

 And if you have a similar problem, here's how to remedy it:

While wearing the sweatpants, I placed a pin where I would like the hem of my pants to end.  For me, that's about to the floor with my shoes off.  I wanted a 3/4" hem, so I took the sweatpants off and measured 3/4" below the pin.  The distance between my blue mark and the edge of the pants was 4 1/4", so I used that measurement to mark my cutting line all the way around both pant legs.  

Once I cut the pants off at the blue line it was time to serge the edges.  This helps the fabric to not curl, which jersey knit is known to do.  If you don't have a serger, just make a simple zig-zag stitch on the edge with your sewing machine.

Then I folded the edge over 3/4", pressed it, and used my twin needle to sew the hem on the right side of the fabric.  (The twin needle is really important because it gives the seam a bit of a stretch which means it won't break if I get my foot caught on the hem.)

Yes, it really was that easy.  One of the main reasons I have continued to sew over the years is so I can alter my own clothing with a few simple steps.  It is totally worth it!  And nobody would have guess these pants have been altered which is AWESOME!!  

I gladly bid goodbye to the velor sweatpants I made my first year in college, when I didn't have a reason to accommodate a bootie.  Woo-hoo!


  1. Awesome! I am vertically challenged myself. This is a great project for me as I am a new sewer that needs LOTS of hemming!

  2. I found your blog and I liked it very much!! I will follow you!! Best regards from Greece!!

  3. Thanks for this clear and simple tutorial! Thanks to you, my teeny tiny mother in law now has correctly fitting sweatpants!
    I don't have a twin needle yet, so I just did two rows.... a little wobbly in places, but my thread is an exact match for the fabric so it's not noticeable.

    Thanks again :)

  4. Hello, great right-to-the-point instructions. I was thinking I'd hand-sew, I am not so good (not sew good?) using my sewing machine yet. But I'll try it on some scrap jersey knit first. I guess the fabric I cut off the bottom before I sew.

    But I have a question, related to the comment above... What if I don't have a twin needle? I don't think I can sew twice like Blacey did. It would be a mess if I tried that. For all I know my machine does twin needle and it is just a matter of sticking one in there. I will look in the manual. I really need to haul my machine in somewhere and take a class or two. I thought I could learn it myself, I sewed a ton on my Mom's good oldfashioned Singer. But This new one with all the settings and stitches is not proving to be very user friendly .

    So. What do I do if I don't have a twin needle?

    Thanks :-)

  5. If you don't have a twin needle, you can use a ballpoint needle and sew the hem with a regular zig-zag stitch. Good luck!

  6. Really an post post and nice creativity! you can find such a good collection of
    sweatpants at very affordable prices!

  7. Great Idea.. I liked it very much!! I will follow your instruction and make a sweatpants shorten like this..

  8. Just picked up this pair at Salvation army (seriously, just like them including how long they are) and was looking for ways to hem them by machine! I don't have a serger (yet) and want to try the zigzag method-obviously you do have a serger but do you have any recommendations for width and stitch length?

    1. Laura, just zig-zag the edge on the machine and then make a 3/4" hem. Get a twin needle and stitch the hem in place like I did. Any zig-zag width and stitch length is fine as long as it is not stretching the fabric out. Good luck!

  9. Regarding using the zig zag instead of a serger: Mark your cut then put in your zig zag before cutting, this really helps prevent the curling. To hold the help while sewing try seam stick, thin double sided tape available at
    Thanks for the tips, 3 pairs done already. I have never owned sweats before because they were always too long.


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