DIY Jeans Into Cutoffs: Tips & Tricks!

Every spring, I have a tradition of hauling out my entire denim wardrobe and slicing up everything that I dare. You know all those pairs that you like but never wear – the ones that you put on because you “really should”…and then take off three seconds later because they’re fine and all, but you have another pair you like way better? Those are the pairs that I end up making into cutoffs. (I used to be all, oh, no, those are too expensive to go hacking into. But now it’s actually the pricey-yet-unworn pairs of jeans that I’m likeliest to transform, because if a item cost me upwards of a hundred bucks I would really enjoy getting to…you know…wear it.)

But read these tips before you break out the scissors, because I have done some poor cutoff jobs in my past, and destroying some denim that you were really excited to give a little new life to? No fun. And the point here is fun.

Have fun!

1. Always always always put them on first and make sure you really don’t like them before you pick up the scissors. In recent years, the pair pictured above – an A.B.S. style that I used to adore – was worn somewhere between “once” and “never”. And now those are my favorite shorts.

2. With the jeans on, use a Sharpie to make a little dot where you want the shorts to end. (Alternatively, you can lay them on the floor next to a pair of shorts that you think are the perfect length, and use those as a template.)

3. Err on the side of making them longer – you can always cut more off later – and remember that if you’re planning on letting them fray, you’ll lose a little length that way.

4. Remove the jeans, and cut the leg that you’ve marked. Fold in half, then cut the second leg to match the first. If you’re looking for a frayed effect, run over the edges (and any additional areas you’d like to have a “worn” look) with a steak knife, and then throw them in the wash.

5. Think outside-the-box. If Britney Spears-short isn’t your style, you can cut a pair that hits at the knee, roll them, and give them a quick turn with a needle and thread to make a cute retro style.

  • I love this. Magazines/etc make turning jeans into shorts sound/look so easy, and then often you’re left with a pair of shorts you can’t wear thinking: HOW did I manage to do this wrong? Good tips.

  • Naomi Johns

    Any tips for cutting linen pants?

  • LisaC

    Great tips!  I am going to do this today!

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