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How to measure the inseam of jeans & pants guide

By Maurice Malone  Published March 20, 2020, Updated Oct. 25, 2020

One of the most common questions asked is how to measure the inseam. Not everyone measures the inseam in the same manner, especially when measuring jeans. The point of confusion begins with where to start or end the measurement in the crotch.

The example below displays a jean sent to us for hemming with a paperclip holding the cuff in place to indicate the customer's desired inseam length. To find out the length, run a flexible measuring tape along the inseam, from the seamline at the crotch, to the edge of the leg opening (hem). This would be the same for both pants and jeans.

Jeans with measuring tape running along the inseam

This image shows the seamline starting point in the crotch. Some get confused, pondering if to start at the center of the double-needle stitch or if to start on the seam. Start from the seam line because it is the center point where both sides of the legs meet and is the center point of both pattern panels. For example, some jeans may only have a single stitch or no stitching on the inseam or rise. Would you move the measuring point to where the center of a double stitch would be? The answer is no, of course not. Therefore the seamline is the correct center point of both sides of your pants or jeans.

Jeans crotch close-up explains where to start the inseam measurement

How to mark jeans for hemming

If you don't have a measuring tape, and can't figure out your desired inseam length, simply roll or cuff one leg of your jeans to the desired length. It's a good idea to use some kind of clip, pin or press the cuff into place.  You can also use chalk or tape to mark your jeans or pants. Please note, it is best to mark one leg, as most people never mark both legs exactly the same. The alterations process will be delayed if we have to contact you to see which measurement is preferred.

cuffed hem of jeans held in place by a paperclip