How to Fix Jeans that are Too Long? [Quick Fix]

Less is more. At least when it comes to the length of jeans. Most of us can attest to buying or receiving jeans that check most boxes – great style, top quality material, fit well from waist to ankles but are just too long.

Jeans that are too long can be an eyesore if you don’t know what to do about them. You’ve probably experienced it – hems that look dirty and frayed as a result of constantly being dragged on the ground. Or hems that gather too much below the ankles in the case of form-fitting jeans.

How to fix jeans that are too long? Do you alter them or do you find ways to “work with it”? We know you want to look your best so we’ve made some suggestions as to what you can do.

Read on to learn more.

How Long Should Jeans Be?

Not all jeans size charts are created equal so you’ve accepted that your jeans may not be a perfect fit off the rack.

However, if you want the right length, you’ll have to follow some guidelines to get it right the first time.

Or perhaps you already have a pair that just don’t look right on you and you’re not sure why. These guidelines are also applicable if you plan to alter them.

You want to go for jeans that are long enough to touch the tops of your feet with a little bit of extra fabric.

In the same breath, they shouldn’t be lengthy to the point where the hems are brushing the floor.

If you’re looking for skinny jeans or slim-fit jeans, then there’s more to consider. Ensure that the hems are four to five inches above the ankles if that’s your desired ankle jeans look. For the regular skinny jeans, you should aim for an inch above or below your ankles.

The ideal length of your jeans is also determined by your footwear. Dress shoes such as loafers pair nicely with jeans that are an inch above or below the ankles.

Lengthy jeans stacking above dress shoes is tacky, even for those with the least amount of fashion sense.

High heels and jeans can be a match made in heaven if paired correctly. Heels, particularly those without ankle straps, will look great with most jeans, even with lengthy jeans that stack up.

As for your athletic footwear, your jeans should be brushing the top of your laces, while a shorter length will do for boots.

Your jeans should reach the top of your boots instead of stacking up above them.

how to fix jeans that are too long without sewing

What to Do if Jeans are Too Long?

You can consider doing the following before consulting a tailor:

  1. Give / Sell them to someone taller

Your long jeans could be the perfect match for a friend or relative who is taller than you. You could sell them so that you can use the cash to buy a shorter pair. If you’re able to be charitable then go right ahead.

  1. Wear them higher on your waist

Ladies can do this while wearing a flowy top. If they’re form-fitting jeans then ladies can rock them as high-rise jeans. Men can wear jeans above their waist too. Be sure to use a belt.

  1. Roll them up 

Here is a quick fix for jeans that are too long. All you need to do is fold the hem on the outside and roll up a few inches until you reach the top of the ankles.

  1. Shrink them

This isn’t a magic trick. Materials such as denim will shrink a bit when exposed to heat. Wash your jeans in hot water three to four times before placing them in the dryer.

Be mindful that the heat will shrink the waist and thigh sections too, so think twice before you try this method.

  1. Wear them over your shoes

You can achieve this with boot-cut and other wider bottom jeans. Simply place the hem over your sneakers or boots and you’re good to go.

  1. Cut and fray

Add style to your jeans while getting rid of excess fabric. The frayed ends will not unravel once you make a hem above them.

  1. Small tugs upwards

Simply make light tugs upwards while wearing close fitting jeans such as skinnies. You can do one at the shins and the other at the thighs.

  1. Exchange them

Return them to the store for a full refund or exchange them. Take advantage of the store’s custom sizing service if they offer it.

How to Shorten Your Jeans and Keep the Original Hem

We have another excellent solution, but you must be in the mood for a DIY project. Do you have access to a sewing machine or sewing kit? Follow the steps below to get cracking!

  • Try on your jeans and decide where your new hem will be. Remember that your jeans should be an inch above or below your ankles
  • Use chalk or pen to mark it
  • Remove the pants and lay them on a flat surface
  • Fold up the bottoms once so that they form a cuff at the chalk or pen mark line. Ensure that both legs are cuffed at the same place
  • Use pins around the hemline
  • Stitch around the line just below the hem. Make sure that the thread is the same color as the jeans.
  • Unfold the cuff by tucking away the excess material
  • Try them on to see if they’re good to go
  • Iron them to flatten your new hem
  • Enjoy the new length

How to Wear Jeans that are Too Long

What to do with jeans that are too long? Embrace the bunched-up look! Fashionistas may just give you a pass if your skinny jeans or slim-fit jeans gather at the hems.

You may not have the same luck with other types of jeans. But if you’re going for outfits such as the ones worn by characters on Boondocks then be our guests.

Final Verdict

We can agree that there are many paths to fixing or wearing too-long jeans.

Be sure to own the look with whatever method suits you best.

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Written by: Jessica D. Walker

American fashion designer and businesswoman Jessica D. Walker was born in New York and grew up in Los Angeles. Her interest in designing fashion was created by seeing the beautiful dresses made by her mother when she was young. Learn More

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