Have you ever shortened a pair of trousers? It takes a surprisingly large number of steps:

1. Measure the correct length and mark the trouser legs. You can use soap or chalk to draw a line, or put in a pin or baste a thread.
2. In some trousers the hem is fortified with a ribbon on the inside, so you have to unpick this first.
3. Then you can unpick the actual hem stitching.
4. Now you can cut off the redundant fabric, typically 2-3 cm below the mark you made.

5. To stop the cut edge from fraying, overcast it with a with a sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch.
6. At this point, it is best to fold the new hem along the marked line and iron it to get a well defined crease.
7. Now it’s time to put the ribbons back in place. First baste or pin them in the right position and then stitch them with a regular stitch with the sewing machine.
8. Then baste the hem to keep it in place, or just pin it.

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9. Finally, hand-sew the hem using invisible stitching.
10. Finally finally, remove all the basting thread.

(11. Enjoy the satisfaction of having shortened your own trousers to perfect length 🙂)

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Note, I am definitely not an expert at this, I have to unpick and redo things all the time!
Also, I didn't know all these terms but I wanted to be precise so I looked them up. This is a good resource:


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You sound like you really know what you are doing. Can I send down my trousers, with measurements, and you sew them? 😉

@fitheach @wim_v12e to be honest I started panicking at "basting" and gave up when I realised I needed a sewing machine.

Thankfully there's a tailoress at work.

@kline @fitheach You don't really need a sewing machine, it just takes longer if you don't have one. And I'm sorry for the jargon, I can explain it if you like 😃.

@fitheach OK, I will charge you my "friends" rate of £100/h and then take them to a tailor in the Dumbarton Road who will do it for £10. 🤣

I've got a feeling I'm being taken to the cleaners, sorry, tailors.

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