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How to Make Your Trousers Longer

We make our swing trousers in one standard leg length as we're a small company and making lots of variations costs more money. They're fine for most people, but if you're particularly gazelle like in the leg department, it's worth knowing you  can get an extra few inches out of our trousers by lengthening them and making a false turn up. You should be able to get the leg length up to about 35" or even 36" using this method!

Sometimes there is not quite enough fabric to make a decent turn up. We have 1” spare on our trousers, but sometimes that is not enough.  It is very helpful to know that there is a trick you can use with a spare piece of fabric or some binding, to keep both the length and the turn up. Sometimes even your local dry cleaner won’t even know this! Once you have the hang of it you can do it at home, meaning that all your trousers can be just right for you.

When doing any changes to turn ups I found it best to do one at a time to start with, so that you have one to follow if it gets confusing. All the turning under then turning back can get a bit twisted in your head when you are learning.

As a good guide, the final length is best if it is ½” (1.5cm) from the floor when you are wearing the correct shoes. If you need them longer than our finished length then let the turn-up down on one leg and get someone to mark it for you. (I have managed to do this for myself, but it does take quite a bit of bending and pinning, then standing and checking, to get it right)

For our ladies trousers I like the finished turn up to measure 1 3/4” (4.5cm) wide. Men’s can go a bit wider, to 2” (5cm) without looking too heavy. You can also go as slim as 3cm and they will still look ok. I have worked out the measurements here to result in a 4.5cm turn up.

So, to start, unpick and press just one leg

Heyday trousers


Measure the finished length that you want your garment from the crotch seam. Here I am after a 33” Inside leg and the yellow pin (below) marks that point.

From that point, measure up 1” (2.5 cm), marked here with a green pin.  This will be the point of our first fold line. This is where we create a little overlap so that our turn up looks authentic from the outside

tape measure

With right side out, fold the trousers up to the point of the green pin. My fold line is 4” from the raw edge, yours might be different so do measure for yourself. Make sure it is straight and press.


Sometimes on floppy fabrics, I do a narrow seam along this fold, to help it stay in place. I don’t really need to with this garberdine, but have done so here just to show you. It makes it easier to understandthe pictures anyway.

sewing machine

With right side out, fold the trousers back down again 2cm higher than the fold you just made. You can see the “lumpy” bit of the folded fabric showing up under my tape measure. This will fold will form the top, visible part of our mock turn up. We need to tidy up the bottom edge and fold it under next.


This is how it looks from the inside now. I’m pointing at where our finished edge will be. The pins (on the other side of the fabric) are holding the mock turn up in place

Measure your finished length again – your first measure will be invalid now that we have lost length folding it one way and the other. Folded the raw edge back under at that point and press. You can see that the edge of the fabric and the mock turn up fold (the one with the edge stitching) don’t quite meet. Yours might be even further apart, and that is ok. We will need some binding or fabric to make up the difference.

 I’m using some wide cotton binding in brown so that it is easier to see my work in the photos. A matching colour is more ideal, but as long as it is dark or light enough not to be obvious as it is unlikely to be seen when the trousers are worn anyway.


When sewing the binding on, leave 1.5cm (1/2”) free at the start. You can fold this back and lap the other end over it, ending with a tidy edge that won’t fray.  In the photo below I am nearly finished sewing around the hem with the binding. I leave a little bit of length in the top piece of binding for a good overlap and a nice join

Sewing into the fold of the binding makes it easier to fold back flat. I have sewn it on a little bit in from the edge of the trousers because I have length to spare.


So the binding join will look tidy like this:


With wrong side out, fold and press the binding up and pin in place, checking the final inside leg measurement. You can see here that I have about ½“ (1.5cm) from the edge

Run a simple slip stitch by hand to secure.  A slip stitch isn’t as hard as it sounds – the idea is to collect only a thread or two of main part of the garment, and keep most of the stitch work on the inside. You can be more perfect if you like (search blind hem or slip stitch for You Tube videos). 

In this situation, be careful not to catch the outside layer of fabric. You just want to catch our mock turn up folds that are hidden from view.

I have done a few stitches to hold the binding join in place too.


To secure the turn up, stitch in the groove of the inside and outside seams. I use a pin either side of the needle, to make sure that nothing slips. The stitching will be mostly hidden this way.

trouser turn up

The stitching in the seam will look like this from the outside.

outside hem

There you have it! Our finished, lengthened hem. We can now do the same to the other leg. Once you get to understand the folding it will become easier and easier!

lengthened trousers

So now you know how to do it, leggy lovelies can take their pick from our swing trousers without fear!

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