Video: Tips for Cutting Jeans (+ trick to prevent excess fraying)

how to cut jean hems

How to cut too long jeans may be seemingly easy, but it’s been one of the top reader requests here over the past year!

I wanted to round up my tips in one pin-able blog post and share a quick step-by-step video. For the anti-fray product shown at the very end, you can find it at most craft or sewing stores or on Amazon.

Also, see my blog post on ways to style straight leg jeans!

tips for cutting denim hems

I usually suggest starting with jeans that have already been machine washed and dried, just in case the length shrinks. But not a big deal if you don’t – you can always cut them conservatively to start, and cut them again shorter if needed.

To cut the hem on the first pant leg, follow steps 1 – 3:
  1. Fold the jeans under and safety pin if needed to temporarily test out the length. Be sure to try them on with different shoes that you would wear them with, ie flats and heels.
  2. Once you’re happy with the length, mark it with fabric chalk or pins. Note that the length might shrink a little tad if you have never machine washed or dry the jeans before.
  3. Lay the jeans flat and use a pair of good scissors to cut straight across one of the legs where you marked it.

step by step hemming tutorial

To cut the second pant leg, follow steps 4 – 6:

4. Fold the jeans in half down the center to match up both the pant legs.

5. Use the first cut leg as a guide to cut the second leg to the same length.

6. Cut straight across.

cutting ankle length jeans

To get perfectly frayed hems:

Throw your jeans into the washing machine and dryer to get a fluffier frayed edge, and then trim off any too-long threads if needed. As an optional step to prevent further fraying, you can try applying an anti-fray product along the hems and letting them air dry.

Also followed this process for my beloved Levi’s wedgie jeans:

hem cutting tutorial
Levi wedgie jeans sz 24 in “shut up” wash, Everlane tee XS, Sam Edelman mules 5
Hope this was helpful!
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  1. Marilyn Harry wrote:

    Love your website. I am also just under 5feet. 4’10 to be exact. I’m trying to look for jeans that help hide the 27 waist and thick thighs. Would loose fitting with hight waist be too bottom heavy or should I look for high waist and straight leg?

    Posted 7.5.22 Reply
  2. Jane wrote:

    Hi Jean! What would you say is the “right” length for slim, straight jeans? Just above the ankle bones? A few inches above? Thank you!

    Posted 5.7.22 Reply
  3. Michelle wrote:

    Do you do anything different depending on the mix of cotton to elastic in the denim?

    Posted 4.30.22 Reply
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    what’s the bag in the photo

    Posted 11.6.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      It’s a Goyard tote, I have a full review on it in this post!

      Posted 11.8.21 Reply
  5. Valeri Ann Pighini wrote:

    Jean. I finally bought those Express sandals and I love them on me. They are so flattering and are actually quite comfortable. I love your style and your recommendations.

    Posted 10.10.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      So sorry I missed your comment before, but I’m so glad to hear it!! I was also so surprised by just how comfortable they are. I’m glad you love them too 🙂

      Posted 11.8.21 Reply
  6. Gaby wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your tips! I learn something new every time I read your posts… I had no idea this fray liquid existed. I am an avid crafter and I can use it in so many other ways. Thank you!!

    Posted 9.30.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh yes I’m sure it would be helpful for several crafts!

      Posted 10.5.21 Reply
  7. Christina wrote:

    I’ve never seen the anti-fray liquid before but glad to know of it now. Does it have to be reapplied after washing and drying?

    Posted 9.30.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Christina, it shouldn’t need to be reapplied after a wash or two but maybe after that!

      Posted 10.5.21 Reply
  8. Tara wrote:

    The glue is so helpful! It’s tough for us shorter gals to find a good length on a pair of jeans. Trips to the tailor just get to be too much.
    Love this post!

    Posted 9.30.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thanks so much Tara1

      Posted 10.5.21 Reply

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