Whether it is for a costume or your “office” clothes, knowing how to add a cuff to a pair of pants is simpler than you may think!  Below, we will go over this technique, step by step.  You will need:

  • Iron
  • Measuring tape or gauge
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Serger (optional)
  • Ironing ham (optional)

Let’s get started!

Step One: Get Some Pants

For this tutorial, we are shortening a pair of pants as well as adding cuffs.  If you are just adding cuffs (not shortening), skip to step three.  We will give these pants a 1.5″ hem.  For any pair of pants that you are adding a cuff to, make sure you have an EXTRA 4″ past what you want to be the final pant length to be.  For example, if you want the pants to have a 31″ inseam, but want to add a cuff, you will need to have a starting inseam length of 35″.

Step Two: Cut the Pants

Cut off any excess pant fabric.  As mentioned above, make sure you have 4″ EXTRA than the final inseam length you need.

Step Three: Finish the Edge

You can either serge the edge or finish it with a pair of pinking shears.  For this tutorial, we will serge the edge.

Step Four: Ham and Measure

Get an ironing ham and your measuring gauge.  Warm up your iron.  The ham is optional, but incredibly useful and highly recommended.

Step Five: Measure 1″

Fold up a 1″ hem to the INSIDE of your pants.

Step Six: Iron It!

Iron the hem into place.

Step Seven: Measure 1.5″

Fold up a 1.5″ hem to the inside of your pants.  At this point, the 1″ hem will be enclosed inside this hem.  This is only temporary.

Step Eight: Iron It!

Iron the 1.5″ hem into place.


Step Nine: Fold to the Outside

Fold your hem over to the OUTSIDE of your pants.  Double check to make sure it measures 1.5″ – if you match up the bottom edges, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Step Ten: Iron It!

Iron your new hem into place.


Step Eleven: Bring out the 1″ Hem

Flip the 1″ hem (the first one you ironed) to the inside of the pants.

Step Twelve: Pin It!

Pin your hem in place.

Step Thirteen: Stitch It!

Stitch your hem into place.  This can be done with a blindstitch machine or by hand.  We have demonstrated, in a contrasting thread, how to stitch the hem in place by hand.  When you stitch it into place, make sure you only catch a small amount of fabric, as you don’t want your stitches to be visible on the outside of the garment.

Step Fourteen: Anchor Stitches at the Seams

Make sure you anchor the cuffs at the side seams of the pants with a few stitches.  If you do not anchor the cuffs at these areas, they will eventually flop over.

Step Fifteen: Finished!

You’re all finished!  Enjoy your newly cuffed pants!