How to Hem With Bias Tape

Red tape image by beloslava from

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Ruler
  • Bias tape

Hemming involves the shortening of length on items including pants, skirts and jeans. Hemming is also required when you let out an existing hem and lengthen a clothing item. Hemming with bias tape is an easy time saving method. You can use store bought bias tape or create your own.

Measure the desired finished length of the item and add 1/2 inch to that measurement. For example, if you want a 29 inseam length on your trousers, mark a line at 29 1/2 inches. Mark the garment using a pencil and cut at that line. Discard the cut off material or use it to make your own bias tape if you do not have prepackaged bias tape. Making your own bias tape can be tricky for a novice seamstress.

Pin the bias tape to the newly cut fabric edge, right sides together. Load matching thread into your sewing machine, including the bobbin. Using the straight stitch and your pressure foot, use the sewing machine to attach the bias tape to the garment. It is best to leave a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Fold the bias tape over, which will hide the seam created in Step 2. Iron the seam and pin the top edge of the bias tape in place. Using the sewing machine, top stitch around the top edge of the bias tape to finish the hem. Use matching thread if you do not wish for the stitches to be noticeable. Use a contrasting complimentary color if you wish for the stitches to stand out.


  • New hem stitches will be visible so if you do not want them easily spotted use a matching thread to your fabric. If you want them visible, choose a contrasting thread color. Prepackaged bias tape is readily available in a variety of colors at craft stores and sewing specialty shops.


  • Double check your measurement before you cut your garment.



About the Author

Kelli Shaw has been writing since 2008. She lives in Michigan and is an experienced business owner with expertise in e-commerce and customer service. Shaw has been featured in "Entrepreneur Magazine," "Woman's World" and "The Detroit Free Press."

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