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How To Shorten Jeans Without Sewing

July 07, 2022

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Today I'm sharing a super quick fashion tip.

How to make jeans shorter when you don't know have a sewing machine or don't know how to sew. It's an easy fix and it works well on wide leg jeans that are too long.

Pinning Jeans To Cut Them

I know, I know, you're probably thinking but Kim, you do know how to sew.

And you're right.

I do.

However, when my daughter woke me up at 6:00 am and needed to catch a train by seven. There was no time to sew.

Which is kind of the same thing.

She was on her way to a Yankee game in a brand new pair of jeans.

And you guessed it. Her jeans were too long.

She'd tried them on in the store with heels and they were perfect, but once she got them home and was confronted with the fact that she'd mainly be wearing them with flats, it became very clear that the length was all wrong.

To her, they were a fashion faux pas.

To me, they were a hazard.

I tried to convince her to wear other pants, but since she was set on this pair, I hauled myself out of bed to alter them.

There was just no way she could hop on and off trains and subways and climb up and down stadium steps without tripping on all that excess fabric.

Clearly, it had to go.

Cutting Long Jeans To Hem Them

The process was a quick one.

And when I was done, I had enough denim fabric leftover for creative upcycles.

In the past I've made:

A Denim Tote Bag
A Denim Cup Cozy
And A Denim Ring

I haven't decided what to do with these wide legged scraps yet, but I'm sure something with come to me.

How To Shorten Jeans With Scissors

It's a quick and easy way to make the length of your long jeans shorter without a needle and thread. Anyone can do it, I promise.

1. Determine Your Length

Fold Jeans Under To Hem Them

For this step, I had to get down on the floor (in my pjs mind you) to determine the proper length.

This should've been the easiest step, but when mom is the seamstress and her daughter is the client, nothing is easy.

She wanted her pants to drag on the floor.

And I wanted her to be safe.

Eventually we settled on a compromise and moved on to step two.

2. Fold and Pin

Pinning Jeans To Cut Them

Easy enough, right?

I only pinned the back edge, using just one pin I had tucked up inside one of my fabric covered glass cabinets.

See. More no sew tricks. Trust me, sewing is not my favorite task, so I look for the easy way out whenever I can.

Keep in mind, I didn't need to pin all the way around.

3. Mark The Pants

Drawing A Pencil Line To Cut Jeans

This is the most important step, marking the pants. It's essentially the pattern, so it needs a bit of attention.

If you mark the pants incorrectly you'll cut incorrectly.

Too long, no big deal, you just go back and do it again. But if you cut them too short? Well then. You end up with shorts.

Remember the old saying, measure twice, cut once. It applies to carpentry and fashion alterations.

I took the jeans and laid them out on my table.

Then I used a yardstick and drew a very straight and even line across the bottom of the leg on the pin line.

I did double check, by measuring from the bottom of the pant leg to the line in three spots, to make sure that my line was straight.

4. Cut The Denim

Cutting Jeans To Hem Them

This part was pretty basic.

Except I lied just a little in the previous step. I did cut twice. On purpose.

My client was very fond of her new jeans and I didn't want to slip up. After all, it was early and my eyes aren't as sharp as they used to be.

So, I took a really good pair of sewing scissors and I cut just below the line.

Once she tried them on and we knew they were good, I trimmed that last bit off.

5. Cut The Second Pant Leg

When the first leg had been cut to the proper length, I laid it on top of the other leg, drew a pencil line where the shorter leg ended and cut again.

Fraying Cut Jeans with a razor

The last step in this process was purely aesthetic.

Since there was no longer a finished hem on the jeans, we decided to fray them. 

I ran a razor back and forth along the edge of the jeans and it loosened some of the threads enough to give the pants an intentionally frayed look.

Cutting Jeans With No Hem

It was just a tiny bit of fray, since we were in a rush, but it was enough to get the process started.

With the threads loosened up, they will continue to fray more with wear...and washing.

Of course, too much fraying could be a potential tripping hazard, as well, but that's a problem for another day.

The most important task, the hemming or shortening of the jeans was complete and just in time to make her train.

Hemming Jeans Without Sewing

The sewing machine stayed tucked away.

No needle and thread required.

And I got to go back to bed.

Now that's fast fashion.

Shorten jeans when you don't sew 5 minute fashion fix

Do you sew?

How To Shorten Jeans With Scissors

Author: Kim @ Exquisitely Unremarkable
Are your jeans too long, but you don't know how to sew ? No worries, here are the simple directions to shorten your jeans the easy way with scissors.


  • Your jeans


  • Yard Stick
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Razor


  1. Set your desired length
  2. Fold them and pin in place
  3. Using a yardstick and a pencil make a straight line on the pants at the pin line
  4. Cut the first leg of the jeans 
  5. Lay the shortened pant leg over the longer one and use it as a guide to cut
  6. To fray the bottom edges, drag a razor blade or scissor edge along the bottom
Shorten jeans without sewing, how to make jeans shorter, how to shorten jeans with scissors
Created using Craft Card Maker

Happy No- Sewing Friends!!
Kim Signature

Post a Comment | 9 Comments

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  1. If you run a very narrow zig zag set at a small stitch length around the pant leg at the space you want the fraying to stop, they won't fray past that line. The fray will be anchored to the fabric of the pant. Probably a half-inch up would be about right. It's best to do it prior to laundering, if it's not too late.

  2. I do not sew and always look for ways to make things work that need to be sewn. This is a great idea and the frayed look is so popular so there you go. When my jeans are too long I roll them to make them look like they have cuffs. Have a great rest of this beautiful day. xoxo Kris

  3. I can sew, but my sewing machine is in a closet and I never feel like dragging it out. I love this idea!

  4. My daughter's going to love this one, Kim. She ought herself a sewing machine a few months back, but the sewing bug hasn't bitten yet and prefers quick and easy hacks :D

  5. Another great tip.

    By the way.. Atticus is a Yankee's fan ;-) still wonder if your girls and my boys should meet.
    Hee Hee!
    Well, Sam is out, he has Catie and they are still together and doing well. I pray that during the deployment they grow even closer and maybe wedding bells will happen when he returns.
    xx oo

  6. All I can say is that you are a great Mom! I'm impressed how you took care of the pants for your daughter so early in the morning. I've done the same thing with my jean pants if I don't want them hemmed and just cut them like you did. Great job Kim!

  7. Great quick fix and you are definitely in the running for super mom. xo Laura

  8. What a quick and easy way to shorten your daughter’s jeans, Kim. You were a great mom!!

  9. My life motto is "quick fix" so this is great for me to keep in mind. And no, I don't sew, although I actually used to a little bit a million years ago.