How To Hem Shorts With A Sewing Machine: 2 Steps

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Last Updated on 1 year by Susan Mayrich

If you want to learn how to hem shorts with a sewing machine, try this simple method composed of two steps. We’ll start with undoing the hem, then discuss how to adjust the short’s length accordingly. 

how to hem shorts with a sewing machine

You can also check this tutorial on how to hem pants with a sewing machine. The process is somewhat similar, but you can benefit from knowing how to hem something longer. 

Overall, there’s nothing to be intimidated by with hemming clothes, even as a beginner in sewing. So let’s get started to have you familiarized. 


How To Hem Shorts With A Sewing Machine Step By Step


Step 1. Undo the hem

  • Read how to remove sewing stitches properly to remove the ones on the hemline
  • After taking out the stitches, unfold the hem and turn the shorts inside out
  • Place the garment over a flat surface, ensuring that there are no wrinkles
  • Measure the inseam from the crotch of the shorts and mark your desired length for it, plus an inch more for the seam allowance
  • Cut the shorts accordingly
  • Use a sewing gauge to fold each leg of the shorts to half an inch 
  • Press the fold in place and fold for half an inch again
  • Pin the hem in place once the fold is half an inch wide 


Step 2. Sew the new hem

  • Set the sewing machine accordingly
  • Thread the sewing machine with the same color for the spool and bobbin
  • Use the correct stitch length with a straight stitch; medium length should suffice for shorts and pants
  • Test the stitch settings to a scrap material, the same one on the shorts
  • Sew from the top of the hem going around with ¼ inch of the seam allowance, working one leg at a time
  • Be careful not to hit the pins with the sewing machine needle
  • Backstitch to secure the stitching once you reach the beginning
  • Cut the excess thread
  • Turn the shorts right side out
  • Press the hem 


Can You Hem With A Sewing Machine?

You can hem with a sewing machine, and it’s even the best and quickest way to get a strong and professional-looking finish, especially on garments. There are many ways to sew a hem, so you can select the one that matches your current skill or the style you want for the clothing. 

Besides the double fold hem, here are two more methods of sewing a hem with a sewing machine:


Blind stitch hem

  1. Fold and press the fabric’s raw edge for ¼ inch
  2. Fold and press again by the seam allowance
  3. Fold the hem towards the back, so only ⅛ inch of material is showing off the edge
  4. Set the sewing machine to blind stitch with the length and width at 2
  5. Use the proper blind hemming foot
  6. Set the fabric under the sewing machine, ensuring that the zigzag stitch will go through the folded edge, or simply use the guide on the foot
  7. Sew accordingly and fold the hem down 
  8. Press the blind hem to finish

If you are doing this hemming method often, read what is a blind stitch sewing machine


Overlocked hem

The following are steps for sewing a rolled hem with an overlocker:

  1. Set the serger/overlocker accordingly and test the stitch length and tension on a scrap fabric piece
  2. Lay the fabric flat over a surface
  3. Use the stitch plate as a guide to sew straight along the fabric edge and start in the middle of the seam, especially when hemming garments that need it all the way around
  4. Sew until you reach the end of the current stitching line when you are about to reach a corner
  5. Once you are back to the starting point, sew over the start of the seam
  6. Pull the fabric to the back and side while sewing so there will be a thread tail
  7. Cut the excess thread close to the seam

If you don’t have an overlocking machine, learning how to serge with a sewing machine is also possible. 


What Machine Stitch Is Suitable For Turning Up A Hem?

The turned hem is the best way to finish light to medium-weight fabrics neatly. You only need to turn the raw edge to the underside for ¼ inch, press, and topstitch ⅛ inch from this fold. 

The stitches you can use for turning up a hem include the hemming stitch, slip stitch, edge stitch, zigzag stitch, and of course, backstitch to secure the stitches. Please note that this hemming method is only ideal if the fabric is light enough not to ravel. 


How Do You Do A Simple Hem Stitch?

  1. Fold the hem allowance under itself
  2. Pick a couple of threads from the fabric and where the needle comes up, have it into the fold
  3. Sew through the folded edge for about ⅓ inch and pick a couple of threads from the material again in the area where the needle exits
  4. Space your stitches for about ⅛ inch apart
  5. Continue grabbing threads as you sew the hem so the thread will never be visible



Was this article helpful? We just discussed how to hem shorts with a sewing machine, which is surprisingly easy since it’s a double-fold hem. 

However, you can also hem garments using blind stitches or slip stitches. A serger would even make a fantastic investment for daily hemming.

We hope this was helpful; leave us a question if you have any. 

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