9 Simple Methods for Hemming a T-Shirt Update 07/2022

What if you found the ideal humorous t-shirt while out shopping, but when you try it on, it falls almost to your knees? Because of the one-size-fits-all length of most tshirts, this has occurred to you before. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your beloved tees; all you need to do is learn how to hem one!

Sewing or sergers are the greatest tools to employ to produce a fresh, longer, and more permanent hem for your T-shirt. In addition to utilizing hem tape or sewing by hand, there are several hemming options available. Adding lace or trim to a shirt can also be used to shorten it.

In this post, you’ll learn how to hem t-shirts using nine different methods. Beginner sewers will benefit from the information provided. Finally, you’ll learn how to finish the hem of a t-shirt in the most professional way possible!

How to Hem a T Shirt

How Do You Shorten T-Shirts?

Cutting, stitching, knotting and even iron-on tape can all be used to make t-shirts shorter! Depending on the amount of time and resources you have at your disposal, you can pick a method. It’s easy to make a professional-looking hem on your t-shirt with a sewing machine, for example.

In the absence of a sewing machine and with little time to spare, you may prefer to employ an iron-on hem tape method. You’ll get a shorter tee, but the style will be less store-bought.

It’s also possible that you’d like to decide on your shirt cutting approach based on the final result. Using some techniques, you can get a garment that looks completely different. There are several ways to change the style of your cut off shirt, such as adding lace or trim!

Before deciding to shorten your shirt, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

To begin, what kind of fabric is your garment made of? The majority of t-shirts are composed of knit fabric. A plain weave fabric uses an over-under weave, while a knit fabric uses looped threads that join together.

This results in a material that is extremely elastic. Because of the stretch, t-shirts are super-comfy, but they may also be tricky for sewers to work with. Tips for dealing with the stretch can be found later in this article.

Second, look at the shirt’s style. What if you cut off the bottom of your oversized baggy shirt with a huge graphic printed in the middle of the front?? You can avoid an unflattering visual imbalance when you’re done cutting your shirt down by leaving more white space beneath the image than above it.

Do you want it fitted or do you want it straight cut? A typical, boxy shirt can be shortened in no time at all. Shortening a fitted tee, especially one with a curved hem, can be a little trickier!

However, you have complete control over your t-shirt-shortening experience. You have two choices: you can utilize basic ways and get good results, or you can work harder and get a shorter shirt that appears like you bought it that way!

How to Hem a T-Shirt: 9 Methods

Hemming t shirts

If you’re looking for a way to shorten your t-shirt, have a look at these nine fundamental options!

1. On a Sewing Machine

If you want your t-shirt to look like it came from the store, use a sewing machine. As an added bonus, this technique requires relatively minimal time!

With a sewing machine, the only drawback is that it may not be able to handle elastic materials like knits. This is why you should use a zigzag stitch or a stretch stitch, as appropriate, on your sewing machine. The section on “how to hem stretchy cloth” near the end of this article may also be helpful.

To hem a t-shirt with your sewing machine, follow these steps:

  1. Try on your tee shirt from the inside out. Mark the new length of the shirt on the inside with chalk or a washable fabric marker.
  2. A half-inch longer than your last mark on the bottom of the shirt is all you need to do now. You’ll have an extra half-inch to work with while making the new hem.
  3. Cutting along your markings, you can remove the bottom of a shirt that is still inside out and facing up.
  4. From the new bottom of the shirt, take another half-inch measurement.
  5. To accommodate the new line, fold the bottom edge up and over the top. The bottom of the tee should have a crisp, half-inch-deep single fold as a result of this.
  6. Using an iron, carefully press the fold.
  7. To keep the iron fold in place, use sewing pins or quilting clips.
  8. Match the color of your shirt’s primary fabric with cotton or polyester thread.
  9. You can use a stretch stitch or an almost-flat zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.
  10. The side seam of the shirt is where you should begin stitching. Using the new folded hem as a guide, sew around the bottom of the shirt!

2. By Hand

If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, you can make your shirt shorter by hand-sewing a hem. This procedure necessitates some patience. In any case, the finished product might be rather attractive!

To sew a hem by hand, you must first master the hemstitching technique. To gain a rough notion, either follow the instructions in this section or watch a video on Youtube!

  1. The shirt must first be measured and cut before stitching can begin! Put it on from the inside out and then draw a line where you want the shirt to terminate.
  2. A half-inch line should be drawn around the shirt when you remove it.
  3. Following the markings, cut off the bottom of the garment.
  4. Make sure you iron the excess half-inch of fabric.
  5. Cut a length of thread the same color as your shirt, about 18 inches long.
  6. You can thread a needle with the help of this. The best needle to use is a ballpoint pen needle.
  7. Tie off the end of the thread inside the folded-over edge of the fabric. Pull the needle through as if you’re going to stitch, but instead of pilling the thread tight, leave a little loop. Then pass the needle through the loop and through once more before cinching the knot closed.
  8. Tie off the end of the thread inside the folded-over edge of the fabric. Pull the needle through as if you’re going to stitch, but instead of pilling the thread tight, leave a little loop. Then pass the needle through the loop and through once more before cinching the knot closed.
  9. Put a knot within the fabric’s folded-over edge and secure it with a piece of thread. Leave a little loop of thread instead of pilling it tight when you pull the needle through like you’re about to sew. Finally, tie a tight knot by threading the needle through the loop two more times.
  10. Together, the two stitches should form a flat “V.”
  11. Around the folded edge, sew another “V” stitch.
  12. When you’re done with the knotting, cut off the loose end.

3. Without a Sewing Machine

Fusing hem tape is an excellent option for people who don’t own a sewing machine and don’t want to spend an hour or so mending their shirt by hand. Hem tape resembles a tiny mesh strip. Neither side of the material is pleasant to the touch.

Hem tape can be purchased at most fabric stores, as well as at Walmart and other discount stores. Amazon and other internet retailers are great places to look for it as well.

This results in a shirt that’s been shortened but not permanently. Tape that has been heat-set will hold up to several washings. The fabric may eventually tear.

  1. Turn your shirt inside out and measure the length you want it to be.
  2. Using a ruler, draw a line across the shirt that is half an inch shorter than your desired length.
  3. As you would when hemming a new clothing item, follow this line and make a cut.
  4. In order to create a hem, measure half an inch from the shirt’s raw edge and fold this half-inch over to the inside. Make a half-inch fold at the bottom of the shirt and iron it in place.
  5. Hem tape should measure twice the length of the bottom of the t-shirt, thus measure the length of the hem.
  6. Fold the extra half-inch in half.
  7. Make sure to smooth the hem tape inside and out.
  8. The folded-over half-inch of hem tape and the inside of the shirt are sealed together by pressing the edge of the tape down one more time.
  9. Make a circular motion around the bottom of the garment by ironing slowly along the folded edge.
  10. Allow the ironed edge to cool for a few seconds before gently tugging on the folded-over half-inch to ensure the hem tape is fully fused.
  11. If required, re-iron the garment.

However, fabric glue tends to soak through the top of the cloth and create crusty streaks when used for this approach. As a result, utilizing hem tape will result in considerably neater outcomes!

4. On a Serger

The hems of a t-shirt can be given a store-bought look by using a serger. Even if you’ve used the blindstitch feature on your serger, this method may be a little intimidating. Since they operate in an entirely different manner than sewing machines, sergers often have a steep learning curve

To put it another way, what exactly is a “serger?” There are several thread sources that are used to wrap the threads around a cut edge of the fabric as it stitches it, creating an enclosed seam. Sergers don’t utilize bobbins or lower threads and can work with two to five spools of thread at a time, depending on the project.

A serger’s blindstitch foot and settings can be used to create a unique type of hem on a garment in addition to making enclosed seams.

  1. To prepare your shirt for hemming, turn it inside out and mark the spot where you want the hem to begin.. Then remove it and make a new line one inch below the original. You can cut this way.
  2. Up to a half-inch of fabric should be pressed into the shirt’s interior.
  3. The next step is to flip the folded edge over and fold it to the outside of the shirt. This may seem outlandish, but do it! When the right side of the shirt is facing up, leave a tiny piece of the cut edge extending out past the folded edge.
  4. Use a blind stitching setting on your serger. Because different serger models may require different tension settings, consult your manual. The materials you’ll need to complete this project are three threads and a needle.
  5. Insert the shirt with the wrong side facing up under the needle and sew the hem. Make sure the needle is placed so that it lands just right of the fold on that little portion of the cut edge.
  6. Remove the garment from the serger and press the hem open once you finish sewing.

5. On a Hemming Machine

When it comes to hems, a cover stitch machine, or hemming machine, is the best option. The enclosed, looped back and the two double lines of stitching on the front are created by this sort of machine, and you can see them on most store-bought t-shirt bottoms. Investing in a cover stitch machine is the most professional way to make a new hem on many shirts, so consider doing so if you plan on doing so. A specialized hemming machine, on the other hand, is out of reach for most amateur sewers. As a result, many seamstresses prefer to use a standard sewing machine or a serger to perform the blind stitch.

These hemming instructions are for people who own a cover stitch machine.

  1. First, go through the basic steps of putting on the tee, marking where you would like to end, and taking it back off. If you want the hem to be one inch longer than you actually want, measure and cut on this line.
  2. First, go through the basic steps of putting on the tee, marking where you would like to end, and taking it back off. If you want the hem to be one inch longer than you actually want, measure and cut on this line.
  3. The first step is to put on the tee, mark where you want to terminate, and then remove it. Measure a line one inch longer than the hem you actually desire, and cut this line!
  4. Cover stitch machine with two needles should be set up The basic hemstitch is rather simple on most cover stitch machines because they don’t have many difficult settings.
  5. Complete the hem by sewing the entire circle and then releasing the threads.

6. Keeping the Factory Hem

If you don’t want to slice and dice your tee, you can fold over and preserve the original factory hem while simultaneously shortening the shirt with this particular technique.

If you’re going to use this strategy, you’re going to have to pay attention to the details.

  1. Take the shirt off, put it on, and mark how short you want it to be before putting it back on. The outside of the shirt should be measured along this line.
  2. To complete the look, fold the original hem up to meet the chalked-in line. On the other hand, this time you’ll be working on the shirt’s outside.
  3. Hold the fold in place with pins or sewing clips.
  4. Sew over the original hem’s sewing loops. It’s time to make a complete circle around your clothing!
  5. This may sound difficult, but it’s actually rather simple! It’s okay if the old hem peeks out from under your new stitching line. Tuck the sewed-in flap of the extra shirt under the shirt and press it flat. At this stage, the shirt’s hem should be back to its original position.
  6. Topstitching is all that is left for you to accomplish now!

7. Adding Trim

Adding a decorative trim to the raw edge of your shirt after you’ve shortened it is one of the most enjoyable ways to do so. Lace, ribbon, or a cute pom-pom accent are all great options.

This method does require a sewing machine, but it’s very straightforward.

  1. Determine how long you’d like the garment to be and label it on the inside. Afterwards, draw a line half an inch lower.
  2. Take the shirt off, but don’t turn it inside out! At the half-inch mark you marked earlier, draw a line that extends all the way around.
  3. Below this line, the cloth should be cut off.
  4. Using your shirt’s open bottom circle as a guide, cut a trim piece to that length.
  5. In order to secure the trim to the shirt’s raw edge, pin it in place with the correct sides together.
  6. Stitch all the way around the circle.
  7. Press and trim the shirt to a smooth finish by turning it inside out and pressing it.

8. Leaving Unfinished Edge

If you don’t mind a scruffy look, you can leave a rolled, unfinished edge on knit fabric because it doesn’t unravel quickly. Although this method does not require any hemming, it is by far the most straightforward!

You only need to measure the new length you want, cut off the excess, then roll the raw edge between your fingers to achieve the desired result!

Knit material’s nature causes the cut edge to curl in on itself. Even while it won’t produce a polished look like a tailor, this method works wonders on cut-off tees!

9. Using a Pre-Made Hem

Make your own Frankenstein tshirt by combining two separate ones and stitching them together to create the look you want! Hem “upcycling” is another term for this process.

You’ll need two t-shirts of the same width at the hem in different colors for this.

  1. Decide which shirt is your “main” shirt and which one you only want for the hem of it first.
  2. From the bottom hem of the shirt, take a three-inch measurement. Keep the three-inch circle and discard the rest of the hem shirt after cutting along this line.
  3. Make a note of how short you want the “actual” shirt to be when you try it on. Draw a circle around the shirt at the spot where you subtracted two and a half inches from the measurement above.
  4. Remove the excess fabric below the line.
  5. Right sides together, pin the three-inch hem to the raw edge of the garment.
  6. The raw edges of the circle should be sewn half an inch away from the center of the circle.
  7. Press the seam where the two shirts come together after they have been turned right side out.

How Do You Hem a Shirt for Beginners?

Hem of a shirt

Hemming a shirt with hem tape or a conventional sewing machine is the simplest option. These machines have a steep learning curve unless you’ve already mastered the complexity of a serger or cover stitch machine.

However, you may use your ordinary sewing machine to produce a great finish on your cropped tee. If you’re short on time, opt for hem tape. Yes, it lacks the perfect stitching line, but it only takes five minutes and gives you a neat edge on the bottom of your shirt.

How Do You Sew the Hem of a T-Shirt to Look Professional?

Using hem tape or a sewing machine is the quickest way to hem a shirt. If you haven’t already learned the intricacies of a serger or cover-stitch machine, the learning curve for these devices is considerable.

In the event that you can’t afford a high-end hemming machine, a conventional sewing machine or a serger can produce excellent results.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of sewing a real, professional hem, add trim! As an optional step, you can even apply some stitching to ensure that your trimming is perfectly flat.

Shirt Too Long Hack

Several “shirt too long” solutions are at your disposal if you’re in a rush and only need your shirt to be a little shorter.

  • The simple hip knot is always an option. Just grab a few additional shirts, tie them together, and you’re ready to go!
  • Make a French tuck your go-to style while also removing the shirt’s too lengthy front.
  • Make sure you’re holding it outside of your shirt at the mid-front, slightly below the chest. Squirt the fabric around the coin with your fingers. Hold the scrunch in place with a rubber band. Your shirt will have a ruched effect as a result of this!
  • Try tucking in a front or side knot at the bottom of your shirt for a more fashionable look. The front of the shirt will have a neat, collected appearance as a result.

How Much Does it Cost to Hem a Shirt?

To have a shirt shortened, you might pay as little as $6.50 to as much as $40! That being said, a simple circular hem will not cost much to have sewn on by a tailor.

To be on the safe side, save the tailoring for pricey dress shirts and do your own t-shirt customization unless you have a particular vintage t-shirt you want altered. Tailoring most t-shirts isn’t worth the extra money most people pay for them to look their best.

How Do You Hem Stretchy Fabric?

How to shorten at shirt

Use either a stretch stitch or zig-zag stitch to hem elastic fabrics. This can be further simplified by using a fabric stabilizer. A serger or cover stitch machine can handle stretch fabric considerably better than a standard sewing machine, so that’s a no-brainer.

A flexible fabric’s wavy appearance might be exacerbated by hemming it. This can be avoided by following these suggestions for hemming elastic t-shirt material:

  • Before stitching, always wash the t-shirt.
  • It’s best to avoid the problem of pulled threads by using a ballpoint needle in your sewing machine.
  • Try adjusting the tension on your machine to see what works best for you. To make certain your settings are correct for this material, utilize the discarded original hem from the t-shirt.
  • If your machine is equipped with a stretch stitch function, use it. Because it goes forward, backward, and forward, this stitch is extremely strong and flexible. There are a number of stretch stitches that resemble zigzags!
  • This leads to the ubiquitous zigzag stitch, which is also a viable alternative. The v-shaped up-and-down threads in this stitch allow the fabric to expand.
  • Using a fabric stabilizer will also assist avoid stretching while you stitch. You can purchase a washable stabilizer for a reasonable price. The hemming procedure will take a little longer with this technique, but it will save you time!


Because everyone’s body and torso are different, the standard t-shirt length may not be suitable for everyone. Fortunately, hemming a t-shirt is a simple process. Simply snip off the excess and sew a new hem on the raw edge to get the new length you desire. With a sewing machine, a serger or a cover-stitching machine, you may add a professional hem (otherwise known as a hemming machine).

Roll the cut edge until it coils up nicely or put the hem in place by hand with a needle and thread to produce a fun but rougher finish. Cut off the excess fabric and add trim or the hem of another shirt in a contrasting color as an additional option.

Is this something you’ve done before? How did you accomplish this? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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