From jeans to shorts – easy and fast

If you know how to hem and shorten jeans, you probably know how to turn them into shorts, right?

But if you shorten pants to fit you and still keep them long, it’s one thing, and if you want to turn long jeans into shorts, it’s another, especially if you are dealing with a more fitted design.

And that’s because the legs are getting narrow towards the hemline, and there is an angle that makes them harder to hem.

In this tutorial, I will show you a way to deal with this which is easy enough, if not even easier, than regular hemming and which you can do even if you don’t own a sewing machine.

Here is the video tutorial. Scroll down if you prefer the written step-by-step instructions.

How to turn jeans into shorts video

How to cut jeans into shorts

I start by measuring how long I want the shorts to be when finished. You can see the angle forming following the leg’s shape, especially on the inseam. That leaves the hem allowance more narrow than where the actual seam will be, which can be extremely challenging, especially if it is a fabric that doesn’t stretch.

So here is how to do it the easy way. And it’s also trendy.

To begin, I measure the distance from the hem up to the mark (image 1). Then, I apply the same distance on both sides of the leg (image 2) to draw an even line.

Then, I measure from this line down and mark the hem allowance (image 3). It needs to be twice the width of the hem, so I am going for 5 cm, which would be 2 inches. This way, my hem is 2,5 cm or 1 inch wide. In our case, I don’t want a wider hem, and the reason is the angle of the legs I am trying to deal with. I connect the marks to form a second line below the first (image 4).

I repeat the same steps on the back – I mark how long I want the shorts to be, draw a line, and from this line down, I apply for the hem allowance.

I always check if the lines match at the sides (image 5); this way, I know I’ve marked correctly. Then I cut out the excess at the lower line (image 6).

I repeat all the steps up to here on the other leg.

Hemming the shorts

I fold the legs on the line (image 7), and I pin the hem allowance up here and there to fix it in place (image 8).

Then I move on to the ironing board and steam press nicely until I get a good crease around the leg (image 9).

The fabric is bulking a bit on the inside, and this would make it challenging to create a consistent seam for a hem. That’s why I prefer to do it the way I show here.

Then I fold the seam allowance in half to form the final shape of the hem (image 10).

I pin and press again and am careful how I shape the hem, measuring if it is even as I go (image 11). I repeat that with the other leg.

The final step is to fix the hems in place. I do that by anchoring the seam at the inseam and outseam of the legs, just over the hem (image 12).

This way, the sewing would be less visible, and I also use a matching thread to help with that.

If you don’t own a sewing machine, you can do this step by hand. It’s nice to fix the hem like this because otherwise, the hem distorts while the shorts are worn or washed.

And here is the final result. If you use my tutorials to fix or make something of your own, tag me on Instagram at @sewingforaliving so we can see and love it. 

Like what you read here? Support my site

If you want to help me continue delivering similar content, please consider buying me a coffee to keep it going. It really helps me focus and have more time to prepare these tutorials and develop my lessons.

I can devote more time and do everything involved to make this happen and share what I’ve learned about sewing and pattern-making with you.

I would really appreciate it.

More sewing tutorials:

  1. How To Shorten Pants With Double-Folded Hem
  2. Sewing a hem with an overlocker (serger)
  3. How to enlarge jeans at the waist and hips
  4. How to keep the original hem on jeans (2 options)
  5. How to replace a zipper on jeans


If you like what you read here, join our mailing list so we can send you our new sewing tutorials, pattern-making lessons, patterns, and some occasional offers that we think might interest you!

We will protect and use your data following our Privacy policy

You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the emails we send.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *