My DIY Step Hem Jeans

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close-up of my DIY step hem white jeans

I love step hem jeans. I love them with pumps, with booties, with sneakers. They’re a nice change-up on the old crop pant, and at my age, they even feel a little edgy. All good things! The only problem is, as of yesterday, I didn’t own a pair of step hem jeans. I was merely stalking them online and in stores.

The cheapest remedy to this situation was to make my own. This was a super easy project, too! Here’s how I did it.

How to: DIY Step Hem

1. Rummage through your closet for an old pair of jeans.

The best candidate for this is a pair of jeans you don’t wear very often because they’re too long. I picked out a pair of white J.Crew jeans that were given to me, secondhand, by a daughter’s friend about six years ago. They’re a little long and bulky through the calf — so I’ve been rolling them up to a crop height.

White denim pants

My candidates for a DIY step hem— an old pair of white JCrew jeans someone gave to me.

2. Put the jeans on and mark the long side.

There is no rule on how long your step hem pants should be. Try shopping pants online to find the length you like. When I went through this process, I found many lengths I didn’t like. Some were long and awkward and others were short and awkward.

Step-hem jeans with pumps

These jeans are longer than I wanted. I don’t like how the long side overlaps with the back of the shoe.

 

step hem jeans with slides

These have the length I wanted to achieve with my DIY version.

3. Measure and cut all the way through.

Measuring from the bottom up, make a series of marks across the leg of your jean, where you want to cut. Don’t be conservative, either. It’s much easier to cut a straight line the first time, versus cutting once and then trying to trim from there.

The ruler is leftover from when my kids were in 2nd grade (about 17 years ago)!

I used a ruler to draw a straight line across those marks, which served as my cutting line. For this first cut, snip all the way through the leg of the jean.

4. Try them on again.

Double-check your handiwork. The jeans should now be the desired length of the longer, back side. How do they look?

DIY step hem jeans - trying them on before you cut the shorter side

If your first cut is crooked or not short enough, you want to know before you cut the shorter side. Try them on again to double-check your handiwork.

When I tried mine on, one side was slightly shorter than the other. Maybe I am crooked, or I didn’t measure accurately. Either way, this was an easy fix. I marked the one leg, and trimmed it enough to look even.

5. Cut the shorter side.

Now, you’ll create your step. You can choose how aggressive you want the step to be. A moderate length is 1.5 inches shorter than the back hem, but you could go more or less than that. I started at 1.25 inches and ending up trimming up to 1.5. Measure up from the bottom, make your marks and draw a cutting line.

Double-check that you are cutting on the right side, then snip up along the outside of the side hem and then across the front of the leg.

6. Pull on some threads for a little fray.

Once you try the pants on and confirm that you like the length, there’s only one step left. Just tug a bit on the cut edges to create some fray.

DIY step hem jeans

 

You’re done with your DIY step hem jeans! Do you love them? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Awesome post.

  • kate

    I did the same with an old pair of white jeans to get a new a pair of released hem white jeans for the summer, fun right
    yours look great

    • Catherine Brock

      Thanks Kate! Yeah, it’s like getting a free pair of pants almost!

  • Great tutorial. I’m going to give it a go!

    • Catherine Brock

      Gail,
      Come back and let us know how it goes!
      ~Catherine