How to Hem Lining on Pants (or Skirts)

We’ve covered so many ways to hem pants so far.

If you’ve missed those, click on “Alterations” right here, or above, and it will lead you to all the posts I’ve written on hemming.

But, for now, lets look at how to hem lining on pants or skirts.

It’s very simple.

Don’t be intimidated.

First, let’s just look at a typical pair of slacks that have lining.

pant lining, 573

You’ll notice that the lining is turned up twice and stitched, like you would do to some pants hems.

But, let’s look at how to get to that point.

Basically, if the lining you have in the pants is hanging at a good length (it’s not hanging out from under the pants and it’s not too short), then my basic rule of thumb is this:

Whatever amount you raise the hem of the pants is the same amount you’ll raise the lining.

So, take a look at where the lining hangs on your pants before you hem them. Do you like where the lining falls? If so, let’s proceed.

If you don’t, then figure out how much you need to take up. Sometimes, you don’t need to hem the lining at all.

But that’s rare.

In this case, I hemmed the pants up 1 3/4″. So, I am going to take up the lining by 1 3/4″ also.

I begin by pressing the lining up 1 3/4″.

WARNING: Be careful to check and see what the lining fabric is made of. You might assume that it’s polyester and set your iron to polyester, but many times the lining is made of acetate, which takes a much cooler iron.

I know because I’ve melted my share of linings.

measuring up pant lining, 574

Once I have that amount pressed up on both legs, then, in this case, I am going to trim off the lining right next to the original stitching.

trimming off hem of pants lining, 575

That original hem was 1/2″ wide, so when I cut it off, I had 1 1/4″ left from the fold to the cut edge.

You need at least 1 1/4″ between the foldline and the cut edge of the fabric. If you don’t have that much, you’ll need to rip out the original stitches of the lining hem and press the fabric out flat.  Then, cut your lining 1 1/4″ out from the fold line. so that it looks like this:

trim off excess lining material from pants, 576

If you are only taking up your hem 1/2″ or 1″, you can probably just fold it up once and stitch it. It will probably look just fine that way.

But, for lining that has to be raised up more than that, we’ll continue with this next step:

Bring the cut edge of the fabric to the fold and press the edge like this:

press up pant lining hem like this, 577

You should have two parallel folds in the hem area now.

Fold up the lining twice on those folds and stitch it like this:

fold up pant lining twice and then stitch, 578, pant lining

Sometimes, in nice slacks, you’ll notice that there is a thick cord holding the lining to the pant at the side seam or the inseam.

(You may have had to cut that before you started this project).

Or, you may want one in if it didn’t come that way.

So, I use one of two options: Pearl Cotton thread or satin ribbon.

This is Pearl Cotton thread in a size 8. If I were you, I’d get a thicker size. This one is a little thin for my liking:

spool of perle cotton, 579, pant lining post

You can get it at your local fabric or quilt shop.

I like it because it is stronger than thread.

Or you can look for some cording, which is even thicker and stronger than this.

You just thread it on a needle and knot the end.

Then, make sure your lining isn’t twisted inside the pants and lay them flat so that the lining and the pant are laying where they should.

Lift up the pants and see where the lining and the pants go together.

Now, take a stitch into the side seam allowance of either the lining or the pants about an inch or two above the hemline.

take a stitch from the lining to attach the perle cord to pants, 580

As you can see, I like to come in from behind the seam and hide the knot.

Then, take a stitch into the other seam allowance. Do not pull the thread all the way. Leave about an inch and a half of thread because you want it to have some “wiggle room”.

take a stitch into the pants with perle cotton, pants lining, 581

Then, anchor it good with several knots.

You can achieve the same effect, and it may be a stronger solution, with satin ribbon.

I cut a piece of ribbon about 2 inches long and attach one end to the lining seam allowance and one end to the pant seam allowance.

Make sure you tuck the raw edges of the ribbon underneath like this before you sew them to the seam allowances:

attaching ribbon between pants and lining, 583

And there you have it!

Lining that’s really simple.