Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How to Lengthen Kids' Jeans...

As kids grow, their clothes often become too short, whilst they fit everywhere else... simple solution; add extra length to extend the life of pants and jeans. Today's tutorial will show you how to easily add a band to the bottom of kids' jeans.

  • Cut off the existing hem.
As a side note, would you keep these hems? I haven't found a use for them yet, so I've discarded them.

To determine the measurements for the band:
  • Width: measure the circumference of the jeans and add seam allowance
  • Length: decide on the length you want the band, double that length and add seam allowances
To make the band:
  • Fold in half, right sides together and sew the short sides to form a small tube.
  • Neaten.
  • Turn right side out.

  • Fold in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together.
  • Pin to the right side of the bottom of the jeans, lining up the band seam with the inner leg seam.
  • Face the band seam and the jeans seam in opposite directions.

  • Hand baste (hand sew a long running stitch) the band to the jeans.
  • Remove pins.
  • Sew with a 3/8" (1cm) seam.
  • Neaten seam.
  • Remove basting.

  • Fold band down.
  • Press seam towards the band.
  • Topstitch 1/8" (3mm) from the seam line. I use a longer stitch length for topstitching, in this instance, 3.
Normally I would press the seam away from the band. This would mean sewing through multiple layers of denim, so in this case, I've pressed the seam towards the band.

To balance the pink bands, I've added the same fabric to the front pockets.
  • Cut a rectangle a little larger than the pockets.
  • Neaten edges and turn a small hem on all 4 sides.
  • Tuck the rectangle into the pocket and line up with the side seam.
  • Attach to the jeans by sewing along the side near the seam and along the top. 
Be very careful to stay right away from any studs or metal. It doesn't matter if you only sew part way along the top and side. My machine stitching is not neat or even, but this doesn't affect the look. I just held the pink fabric in place while stitching. If you find it easier, hand baste (hand sew a long running stitch) in place before you machine stitch. 

If you find it too fiddly to machine stitch the fabric onto the pocket, you could hand stitch. 

Even though it's rough and ready, I like the effect of adding colour to the pockets. It seems to tie it all together.

This is such an easy way to get more wear from of a pair of jeans.

You may wonder why on earth I'm showing you a photo of me on a tractor. Click on the photo, look down at my feet and if you look very closely, you should see why.

Back in the 70s, I used to lengthen my jeans by attaching wide, woven ribbon onto the hemline. I'm a shortie, so I certainly didn't need to lengthen them when I bought them. As a student, with little money, my clothes had to last for a long while, so the jeans would shrink over time.

Sometimes I used ribbon which co-ordinated with the jeans, but I can also remember sewing on brightly coloured ribbon as well. This was the 70s; bright was good!!! As an adult back then, I could get away with it. I'm not sure that the look would work so well for an adult now-a-days.

I can only find this one photo, showing how I made my clothes last. It's a photo I love!!! Mr TMW and I used to put the motorbikes on the trailer and drive to an Uncle's farm whenever we could. Here I am, city girl, learning to drive a tractor... wonderful memories!!!

... Pam


  1. I love this! I might just use this on myself for all of those silly capri pants I bought when they were in style years ago with some leather patches or something a little more adult. :)

  2. Pam - that is a wonderful idea. I might take another look at my little Miss 4's jeans. She is sooooo skinny/tiny but growing taller. I think she would love pink hemmed jeans. And since we live in Melbourne, we tend to where them for a lot longer (last a few more months).

    I kinda like the idea of cutting them off into shorts too with a little cuffed hem for summer. Mmmmmm got me thinking!!

  3. My little Monkey is a skinny, but she is not short. Making her pants longer is the way to go. Besides, what a good excuse to make soemthing store bought a bit more fun, hey :) Thanks for the tutorial :)

  4. Pam, just a quick question - do you use your regular needle or denim needle?

    1. I use my denim needle. Glad you posted this, as I forgot to put it in the tutorial. I'll add it now.

  5. I too used those ribbon trims on my jeans in the 70"s, sometime multiple rows of them. I was just learning to sew, and during 7th grade grew 7" in height during one school term.

  6. Great tutorial! I will have a use for this with my tall skinny one for sure!

  7. I've seen where people added ruffles to the bottom of jeans but must say, I prefer this look for it's clean lines. Great idea to add the contrast to the pockets too. It ties it all together well.:)

  8. Yes! I love the matching lined pockets too! Very cute!

    Also, maybe the cut off hems could be saved for shoulder straps for a little sundress, or something. Or they could be coiled around and glued into little denim flowers for barrettes or pins or attached onto clothing somehow.

    1. Thanks, Jen. I love your ideas for re-using the hems on future clothing projects.

    2. As someone just learning to see, with a tall/skinny girl who just won't stop growing, and a son who is getting to the very same stage, I love this idea. Simple, too. I can do this! Any suggestions for how to do this to boy's jeans?

    3. I'd do the same with jeans for a boy, but with fabric that is perhaps more boy oriented. The only difference with boys' jeans over here, is the fly opening to the other side, so the same method should work.

  9. Adorable and love this idea! Ill definitely be doing this with my second kid if they have my long legs too.

  10. Oh you could make kids pants so cute this way! My son would love choosing his own fabric to use too!

  11. Great tips on lengthening jeans! I love seeing the photo of you on the tractor! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  12. Love the idea, especially wanna try adding color to the pockets. Maybe change out the back pockets. Wish I had a picture of my jeans from the 70s with ribbon added to prevent flood pants. The ribbon was a life saver during the 8th and 9th grade growth spurts.

  13. Fantastic idea, and love the vintage photo. I do believe 70's style is quite in, so adults can wear wide woven ribbon trim now too, go for it!

  14. Make Head bands out the wasted hem with some of the material you used to lengthen the jeans. Just a suggestion since I recycle :-)

    1. What a great idea, Kathleen. I could attach elastic at the back and then embellish them with all sorts of things. Thanks for the suggestion.

  15. When the pants can just no longer be saved, I unsew the back pockets. I stitch them together and make a little purse. I use the belt loops and add around the top then, run a piece of ribbon thru for decor. You can also find some of the leg to make a shoulder strap for the purse. Maybe even add a flap and it would hold a cell phone.
    I also save as much as I can of the inside front pockets. My coworker hates how shallow the front pockets are on new jeans. I use what I saved to lengthen her front pockets so they are a bit deeper.

    1. I love the sound of the little purses you make. Clever idea to make the front pockets longer.

  16. In the 70's I added a braided trim to my daughters jeans as she grew. I wish I had some more of that trim left...the colors were beautiful.

    1. Me, too. I used mine all up in the 70s lengthening my jeans.


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