Shorten a Pants Hem That Has a Cuff

Although a pants hem comes in several different types, pants that include a cuff are shortened the same basic way as those without a cuff. Just add a couple of extra steps and you'll be able to keep the cuff while hemming and end up with a great fitting pair of pants.

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You need to pick a way to mark your new hemline. Pins will not work this time. You can thread trace your markings, use an erasable marking pen, chalk or use your iron.
pants hem
This pants hem originally had no cuff, but making the pants shorter allows extra room in the hem allowance to add a cuff. I have used pressing as a method of marking the hemline, since the pants had been folded under at the fitting.
pants hem
Here you see that the original hem stitching has been removed. The hem allowance is fully extended. The crease on the left is the new hemline. The one on the right is the old one.
pants hem

Now you press out the old crease. Try to get that are as flat as possible. It will later become the cuff.
pants hem
Here is the hem allowance after it has been pressed. The line that was once the old crease may be on the outside side of the cuff when you're finished. That's why you need to make it disappear.
pants hem
Measure 3½" from your marked hemline into the hem allowance. This allows for a 1¼" cuff. If you add the inside of the cuff, the outside of the cuff and a 1" hem allowance, you get to 3½".
pants hem
This is what your new hem allowance looks like, after it has been marked. As you can see, it's quite a bit bigger than when you hem pants without a cuff. We'll call this the "extension". Cut on the chalk line.
pants hem
Now construct the cuff. Begin by folding the extension, right sides together, along the new hemline. Here that hemline is the fold I pressed in Step 2. For you, it may mean a thread traced line or a marker line. We'll call that new fold the "bottom edge". Press.
pants hem
Now fold this extension back down on itself, like an accordion. We'll call this new fold the "top edge" of the cuff. Feel for the bottom edge, and make sure the top edge is 1¼" to the left of that.
pants hem
Here is a close up of the cuff, nearly finished. You can see a ridge where you were feeling the bottom edge in Step 9. The inch extending beyond that is the hem allowance. Turn it under, to the inside of the pants.
pants hem
With the hem turned underneath, press the entire cuff into place. The finished cuff should be 1¼" all the way around. Check to make sure the hem allowance fold is directly over top of the bottom edge fold.
pants hem>
Unfold everything you just pressed, and finish off the raw edge of the hem allowance. Here I use a serger. You could also use hem tape or an overcast hand stitch.
pants hem
Here is a close up of the serging. Note the fold. That's the new bottom edge of the pants that you pressed in Step 12.
pants hem

Here is the entire cuff and hem, extended. Note all the folds that were pressed in Step 11. Now let's put it back together.
pants hem

After you return the folds to where they were, your hem allowance needs to be stitched to the inside of the pants. Hem the pants with a blind hemmer or by hand.
pants hem
Here I am hemming by hand. You do not have to be as careful taking up the stitches as you usually do, because they will not show on the right side. They are beneath the cuff.
pants hem
Now tack the cuff by stitching in the ditch made by the side seam. Repeat by stitching in the ditch made by the inseam.
pants hem
Press everything flat. Pay special attention to the front and back creases. They need to be steamed well through all the layers of the cuff.
pants hem
Here is the finished pants hem. The cuff is even all the way around. There is no buckling of the underneath layer and all the creases are lined up.

As you can see, a pants hem that includes a cuff needn't scare you. The fitting is the same and so is the serging and hand stitching at the end. Dealing with a 3½" hem allowance and knowing how to fold it into place is the key. Mastering this easy step allows you to shorten pants with a cuff just as easily as those without one. It will take you about the same amount of time, too.

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