A Cheap & Easy Way to Shorten Your Pants

A Cheap & Easy Way to Shorten Your Pants
No tailor – or sewing – required.

You probably already know that fit is the most important aspect of clothing. That's why Primer created a whole series about how clothes should fit.

In the age of mass manufacturing, most men’s clothing comes in standard sizes. We call this “off-the-rack”. Since people don’t come in standard sizes, it’s not surprising that so many guys are walking around in clothes that don’t fit.

Sleeves are too long. Shirts are too puffy. Jackets are too big.

But, by far, the most common problem is that pant are too long.

All kinds of men fall victim to this, mostly due to ignorance or laziness. But shorter gents have it worst since most stores only offer 30+ inch inseams. If you’re under 5’8”, this is simply too long.

Luckily, getting your pants hemmed is easy and cheap. Most dry cleaners will do this for just $10-20.

But what if you don’t want to pay the “tailor tax” every time you buy a new pair of pants? Or maybe you’d like to cuff your pants or roll them up instead of getting them hemmed?

Well, I have good news, fellas. You can shorten your pants at home, all by yourself, quickly and easily. Plus it’s super affordable.

This cheap and easy clothing hack works best for pants that look good rolled, like chinos. The cool thing is, if you decide later on that your pants would look better hemmed, you can still get them hemmed. This is a semi-permanent solution, perfect for commitment-phobes.

In fact, this trick works so well, you might find yourself buying pants that are 1-2” too long, just so you can use it.

At the very least, when the store is out of 28″ (as usual) you can buy a 30×30 or even a 30×31 and shorten them yourself.

You’re probably wondering, “Can’t I just roll them myself? Why bother with tape and glue and irons?”

Good question. Here’s the problem: pants come unrolled. And the roll usually doesn't stay crisp. The cuff you create gets sloppy throughout the day or somehow widens. The solution? Make the roll permanent. Don't worry, there's no sewing involved. Just a few basic supplies that are very cheap and available at most grocery stores and places like CVS.

Here’s what you need:

shorten pants with fabric glue

It helps to iron the pant legs first, but it’s not necessary. Start by laying the pants out on a hard, flat surface. If the glue doesn’t want to come out of the tube, use a small nail to clear the way.

Spread the glue across one side of the original hem. Do both legs, one at a time:

sew no more singer fabric glue

Fold the pant legs over themselves, like you’re making a cuff or rolling them up. Press firmly to set the glue in place. Then flip the pants over and do the same thing to the other side:

Pant cuff ironed down

After both sides are glued, put something heavy (like a book) on top of the pant legs to hold them in place while the glue dries:

Books holding down pants cuffs to dry

Additional Tips

If you need them shorter, you can roll and glue them again using the same process. Or you can create wider cuffs, but thin, tight rolls look best, especially for average and shorter guys).

The glue should hold through gentle wash cycles, but you can swap it out for iron down hem tape, which is even stronger.

This works great on shorts too. Show some thigh in the summer: roll up those 9” shorts and glue the cuffs in place using this method.

Go ahead, try it out!

Now you know how to shorten your pants at home, in just a few minutes, without learning how to sew. Go try it on that old pair of pants in the back of your closet – you know, the one that you neglect because they’re a little too long.

Brock McGoff

Brock runs The Modest Man, a blog for short men who want to dress better. Check out his free guide: How to Dress Taller: 11 Crucial Style Tips for Short Men.