— whollyKao

how to shorten your shorts

These days, women’s shorts keep getting shorter and shorter. I like to wear shorts with tights, and it’s hard to find a pair that are an appropriate length for us working gals. My solution? Take some longer shorts and hem them to a length you like.


I bought these shorts years ago, at some designer warehouse sale in  NYC. It was one of those where they only let women into the women’s section, and only men into the men’s section. That’s because there was no dressing room: if you wanted to try something on, you had to strip in the middle of the racks. Talk about privacy! Anyhow, this is what I came out with from that sale. I like the details on them, but they’re knee-length and baggy, which is not very flattering…which is why I haven’t worn them in two years.

I decided to make them shorter so I’d be able to wear them to work and whatnot. I did this with a sewing machine, but it’s something that wouldn’t be too hard to do by hand, if you don’t have one. And it’s a good way to upcycle clothes in your closet!


How to shorten shorts
-measuring tape
-needle (or sewing machine) and thread
-seam ripper



Use your seam ripper to remove the cuff from the bottom of the shorts (near the knee).

Decide how long you want the shorts to be. Remember that you will be sewing the cuff back on the shorts, which will add an additional inch to your final length. Measure and place pins that length, starting at the bottom of your shorts. Do this all around both legs of the shorts.

Using your line of pins as a guide, cut the desired length off each leg. I ended up taking 6 inches off my shorts.

Take the cuff that you detached in step one and measure it so that it fits loosely around your thigh. Cut your cuff to this measurement + 1/2 inch. (So if your thigh measurement is 20-inches, cut your cuff at 20.5-inches long). Pin the wrong sides of the cuff ends together, and sew 1/2-inch from the ends. Flip the cuff right-side up.

Pin the cuff to the raw edges of your pants. My pant legs were a little wider than the cuff, so I had to bunch them a little as I was pinning. For me, this helped to add shape to the final shorts, so I didn’t mind.

Sew the cuffs to the pants. For the cleanest look, sew on top of the existing seam on the cuff.

And you’re done!

Special thanks to Jeff for taking pics for me. He had to take one of these goofy shots:


Hemming your shorts is a great way to extend the life of clothes in your closet. And it doesn’t take all that much time. I bet you turn long pants into shorts the same way too!

  1. Michele says: January 3, 20159:17 PM

    Thankyou very much for your in putting this together it is a great help !

  2. Arudhi@Aboxofkitchen says: March 18, 201211:40 AM

    I love your shortened pants! They look really good and I wouldn`t even guess that they just got some makeover!
    I don`t sew, but am planning on giving it a try as I found so many inspiring crafty blogs around. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial and I think I will try it on my husband`s pants first :D

  3. dijahenry says: March 11, 20126:56 PM

    Reblogged this on Inspire(d) and commented:
    I love this idea! As the days are getting warmer I think this is a great way to welcome spring into your wardrobe!

  4. amyieeee says: March 6, 20129:29 PM

    WHOA! love the new look of your blog!!!!

    • whollykao says: March 7, 20124:51 AM

      thanks amyies! it was an accidental update on the look. i messed up my theme by accident and ended up switching it up altogether!

  5. adventurousEveryday says: March 3, 201210:16 PM

    Okay, so I’m sure you get this all the time, but you are SO cute!!! just thought i’d just say it, p.s. love the shorts idea!

    • whollykao says: March 4, 201212:25 AM

      I don’t hear that so often, but thanks Amyies! :) Hope y’all are having a good weekend!

  6. 7cakes says: March 3, 20123:10 PM

    I love those shorts!

  7. Alex says: March 3, 20121:17 PM

    this is such a great tutorial! I have around 5 pair of shorts I don’t wear because they are too long. thank you!

    • whollykao says: March 3, 20127:46 PM

      Good luck! Glad my post inspired you! :)

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