I would simply cut the unwanted inches off then stitch a hem to thread the elastic into. Otherwise no different to taking up the hem of any other trousers. If it is an elasticated cuff at the bottom then I would stitch the cuff on further up the leg after gathering and pinning on the fabric then just cut away the excess.
That sounds like a great idea, thank you. I think I could manage that! I bought them only to wear in the house as I have a skin condition and needed something loose to wear, so thought these would be ideal.
Someone else may have a better idea, but what I'd suggest is turn inside out and make a kind of pleat near the bottom (or about knee height) and hand stitch around. If you wanted to shorten by 2 inches, pleat would be 1 inch. You could pin first to check length.
That way you wouldn't have to cut the nice fabric and there would be fairly minimal sewing. Depending on how much shortening was needed, the pleat might affect how they hang, but by pinning first, you could see how it worked.
I've just bought some harem pants online - beautiful coloured cotton with elastic around the ankle. However, they are too long for me so I want to shorten them. Can anyone suggest an easy way to do this? I can knit and crochet, but am not very good at sewing, so it will be done by hand.