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8 Different Types of Jean Hems

Group of people wearing jeans

You know how they say that it isn’t how you start but how you finish? If that’s true, then it’s the hem of your jeans that are the most important feature. How do the different types of jeans hems affect the way your jeans look? Is there a specific hem that you should look for? What is the difference? Why does it matter? It’s time to find out all that stuff you never knew about jeans hems and find out why they’re so important.

What’s a Hem?

Why does the hem of your jeans matter? Actually, the hem has a lot to do with how your jeans hang, how they look and even which trend you’re rocking. You don’t want to get caught with an old-fashioned hem, right?

Close up of jeans hems

The hem of pants is an important step. It’s the finisher for the end of the jeans and affects their overall look. To create a hem, the fabric is turned under and sewn into place. This is true of all hems but there are many different types of hems that are used for jeans that have little variations to give the hem unique features and characteristics. The type of hem you have really does matter and has a big effect on how your jeans look.

Different Types of Jean Hems

There are lots of different hem styles used in pants and clothing. However, jeans are often made with specific types of hems that are more suited to the heavier fabric that is used to make jeans. When you know what these hems do and how they look, you’ll be even more expert at picking out the right jeans for you.

Blind

WallFlower Women's Instastretch Luscious Curvy Bootcut Jeans, Jenna, 11

The blind stitch, or slip stitch, is barely visible. It’s made with a double fold and it’s a very thin hem. This hem is used frequently with heavier fabrics because the hem hangs straight and even without bunching up or folding up.

Cover Stitched

No Nonsense Women's Classic Indigo Denim Jean Leggings, Medium Wash, XL

Cover stitched seams have two rows of stitching. This hem is somewhat stretchy because of this stitching process. This is seen often in skinny jeans and jeans with slimmer leg openings.

Double Fold

Lee Women's Missy Relaxed-Fit Side Elastic Tapered-Leg Jean, Double Black, 16 Long

The double fold hem is folded twice, just as the name says. The raw edge of the denim is folded up and then folded again to create this hem.

Narrow

Levi's Women's Classic Mid Rise Skinny Jeans Pants, -blue show Tune, 28 (US 6) S

The narrow hem is a common finisher for jeans in all styles, though you will see it frequently in skinny jeans styles. The name says it all: it’s a narrow hem. This hem is around three-fourths to one-fourth inch wide and it’s made with a double fold.

Raw

Lucky Brand Women's Low Rise Lolita Skinny Jean, Lake Bridgeport, 27

Raw hems are designed to have a frayed edge, which is popular in distressed jean styles.

Standard

Wrangler Authentics Men's Regular Fit Comfort Flex Waist Jean, Dark Stonewash, 40W x 29L

The standard hem is the one that you will find most commonly on five-pocket jeans. This hem is just a shade under a half inch tall and it is distinct for its ribbed look that resembles a chain or a rope. This hem is used often because it’s highly versatile. It can be used in many different styles of leg openings, from skinny to wide styles. This hem creates an almost decorate effect at the end of jeans thanks to the distinct ribbed look.

Step

TheMogan Women's Clara Distressed Mid Rise Zip Step Hem Crop Skinny Jeans Light 7

The step hem is a newer trend in hems and it’s one that you can DIY. The trick of getting a step hem is to cut off the existing hem of the jeans. The front leg of the jeans should then be cut so it’s a couple of inches shorter than the back hem of the jeans. The ends are left raw and frayed. This creates two levels of hems, one short than the other. This look has become extremely popular so if you have a pair of jeans with a hem that’s already frayed, consider giving this trend a try.

Trouser

SALT TREE Kan Can Women's Mid Rise Flare Hem Jeans (DOP, 11/29)

The trouser hem is similar to the standard hem. The trouser hem is wider, however, about three inches in size. It’s also a heavier hem than the common standard hem. This hem is seen more often on wide leg jeans styles because the heavier hem creates nice draping. This helps the pants hang well even in those wider styles, which makes the trouser hem incredibly useful.

FAQs

Hems can be pretty complicated. Different stitches, different folds, different widths…they’re actually pretty confusing. There’s a lot more going on with jean hems than most people would ever expect. We found the most frequently asked questions about jeans hems and we’ve got the answers. Once you’re an expert on hems, you’ll know another trick for picking out the best jeans for your body.

Pile of folded jeans

How do you fray jean hems?

If you want to fray your own hems to create a DIY look, start by laying your jeans out flat and cut off the bottoms. Pull out the threads on the bottom of the pants to emphasize the frayed look. You can also use a tweezer to pull out even more threads.

Frayed hems are a perfect way to complete a pair of distressed jeans. They make jeans look more casual and create a nice worn look.

How do you hem jeans without a sewing machine?

You don’t have to have a sewing machine to hem your jeans if you want to change the hem or you need to shorten the jeans. Use a straight edge to make a straight, clean fold for the jeans. Use pins to maintain this line. Thread a needle and sew along the top of the fold you made to create your hem. It can be difficult to push a sewing needle through denim, so you will want to use a thicker, strong needle. It can also be time-consuming to hem jeans because of the thicker fabric.

How should you cuff jeans?

Should you cuff your jeans? How should jeans be cuffed? Is it even in style to cuff blue jeans? It’s always hard to know how to wear your jeans or to know what’s in style because jeans styles change so quickly. On any given day, it might be considered to be out of style or retro to cuff your jeans. It was a popular style in the 1950s to do a wide cuff at the bottom of jeans. This style still looks sort of vintage but it could come back into style all of a sudden and then it’s the latest and trendiest look.

In order to know what’s in style as far as jeans go, follow popular celebrities on social media sites. These celebs will post pictures of themselves wearing all of their latest looks and showing off all of the latest fashions. Watching social media sites will give you lots of ideas for outfits so that you’re always in style and your looks are always on point.

How can you repair a frayed hem?

Frayed hems can be sewn up or you can re-sew an entire hem. If you want to do a repair to a frayed hem, use straight pins to fold it up inside the pant leg and to hold the frayed edges together. This will keep everything in place so that you can hand-sew the frayed part of your jeans and cover up the frayed section.

Is there a no-sew hem for jeans?

You can fake a hem for jeans if you’ve got an iron and a little bit of gumption. Fold the end of your jeans up toward the inside of the pants leg, making the fold about a half-inch thick. Next, use an iron to apply heat all along this fold. This will create a crease that looks like a nice, finished hem even without any stitching. You can secure the faux hem with glue if you want. Super glue or fabric glue will work perfectly.

Sources:

Bustle – How To Hem Your Jeans Without Sewing

Heddels – How To Hem – Jeans, Trousers, and Unfinished Hems

Heirloom Creations – What Is a Coverstitch?

ilovejeans – The Step Hem – A New Denim Trend

Instructables – How to Mend Frayed Pants Hem

MasterClass – How to Fray Jeans in 8 Steps

The Sewing Loft – Double Fold Hem Basics

Tad More Tailoring – Pant Hems: Choose the Proper Way to Shorten Your Pants

We All Sew – How to Sew a Blind Hem