How to Hem Lining on Pants (or Skirts)

We’ve covered so many ways to hem pants so far.

If you’ve missed those posts, look at the left hand column on this page and click on “All Past Categories” and the arrow by “Select Categories”. Then, click on “Hems”.

There are still some more ways to sew hems which I’ll cover in future posts.

But, I didn’t want to overlook how to hem lining.

It’s very simple.

Don’t be intimidated.

First, let’s just look at a typical pair of pants that have lining.

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You’ll notice that the lining is turned up twice and stitched, like you would do to some pants hems.

But, let’s look at how to get to that point.

Basically, if the lining you have in the pants is hanging at a good length (it’s not hanging out from under the pants and it’s not too short), then my basic rule of thumb is this:

Whatever amount you raise the hem of the pants is the same amount you’ll raise the lining.

So, take a look at where the lining hangs on your pants before you hem them. Do you like where the lining falls? If so, let’s proceed.

If you don’t, then figure out how much you need to take up. Sometimes, you don’t need to hem the lining at all.

But that’s rare.

In this case, I hemmed the pants up 1 3/4″. So, I am going to take up the lining by 1 3/4″ also.

I begin by pressing the lining up 1 3/4″.

WARNING: Be careful to check and see what the lining fabric is made of. You might assume that it’s polyester and set your iron to polyester, but many times the lining is made of acetate, which takes a much cooler iron.

I know because I’ve melted my share of linings.

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Once I have that amount pressed up on both legs, then, in this case, I am going to trim off the lining right next to the original stitching.

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That original hem was 1/2″ wide, so when I cut it off, I had 1 1/4″ left from the fold to the cut edge.

You need at least 1 1/4″ between the foldline and the cut edge of the fabric. If you don’t have that much, you’ll need to rip out the original stitches of the lining hem and press the fabric out flat.  Then, cut your lining 1 1/4″ out from the fold line. so that it looks like this:

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If you are only taking up your hem 1/2″ or 1″, you can probably just fold it up once and stitch it. It will probably look just fine that way.

But, for lining that has to be raised up more than that, we’ll continue with this next step:

Bring the cut edge of the fabric to the fold and press the edge like this:

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You should have two parallel folds in the hem area now.

Fold up the lining twice on those folds and stitch it like this:

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Sometimes, in nice slacks, you’ll notice that there is a thick cord holding the lining to the pant at the side seam or the inseam.

(You may have had to cut that before you started this project).

Or, you may want one in if it didn’t come that way.

So, I use one of two options: Pearl Cotton thread or satin ribbon.

This is Pearl Cotton thread in a size 8. If I were you, I’d get a thicker size. This one is a little thin for my liking:

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You can get it at your local fabric or quilt shop.

I like it because it is stronger than thread.

Or you can look for some cording, which is even thicker and stronger than this.

You just thread it on a needle and knot the end.

Then, make sure your lining isn’t twisted inside the pants and lay them flat so that the lining and the pant are laying where they should.

Lift up the pants and see where the lining and the pants go together.

Now, take a stitch into the side seam allowance of either the lining or the pants about an inch or two above the hemline.

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As you can see, I like to come in from behind the seam and hide the knot.

Then, take a stitch into the other seam allowance. Do not pull the thread all the way. Leave about an inch and a half of thread because you want it to have some “wiggle room”.

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Then, anchor it good with several knots.

You can achieve the same effect, and it may be a stronger solution, with satin ribbon.

I cut a piece of ribbon about 2 inches long and attach one end to the lining seam allowance and one end to the pant seam allowance.

Make sure you tuck the raw edges of the ribbon underneath like this before you sew them to the seam allowances:

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And there you have it!

Lining that’s really simple.


2 Responses

  1. So…I’m terrible at anything home economic-like…as in, I’ll find a way to burn a hole, blow it up or cut it beyond recognition…thank goodness for a patient husband…

    Can you lengthen pants? I’m 5’10…so finding LONG pants and jeans is always a pain…but I’ve never thought about the possibility of making regular sizes longer……….?

  2. Hi Jessica,
    I bet you are not anywhere near as bad at this as you say. 🙂

    That is a great question. There are only two answers that I know of.

    1. Take out all the hem you have and press the fabric flat. Now, use seam tape (it’s about 2″ wide and found in a package at your local fabric shop, like JoAnn’s.) Press under 1/2″ of the end of the tape. pin it placing the right sides of both the seam tape and the hem together, stitch around the circumference of the pant using a 1/4″ seam. Continue stitching and when you get to the end, overlap some of the tape over the tape you sewed at the beginning. Trim it off. Then, understitch (meaning that you push all that fabric and seam allowances toward the tape and topstitch close to the fold on the tape side. Or, if you are working with a casual pant, you can topstitch one inch from the edge of the hem to hold it in place.

    I know that may be hard to understand without pictures, but maybe I can make it into a post. Surely other people have the same dilemma.

    2. You could add another piece of fabric onto the bottom of the pants. The seam would show, but you could cover it with a trim of some sort. If your fabrics don’t match each other, it might not be the look you are going for, but it is an option.

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