DIY “Mega-Shredded” Denim Jacket

I LOVE it when I find things like this on the internet. And by “things like this” I mean super, super expensive things that I really like but can totally just go ahead and make myself for free.

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This denim jacket, discovered on a random British shop’s website, actually isn’t insaaaaanely expensive – about $145, if my pounds-to-dollars calculations serve me correctly – but it’s still more than I want to pay for something that I could simply…not pay for. Also, I have a little grandmother living inside my head who yells why would you pay extra for something that looks like trash?! whenever I contemplate purchasing something with rips in it (which is frequently).

super shredded and distressed denim jacket how-to

It does look a little bit like trash. It also looks amazing.

I always think it’s funny when I have to search on my own website to figure out how to do something that apparently I considered myself knowledgeable enough about that I wrote a post on the topic, but hey – I’m hovering somewhere around seven years and 6,000 posts at this point, so I guess that’s understandable…ish? Granted, distressing denim isn’t exactly rocket science, but I remembered that I’d shot a video a few years ago in which I’d included a few pretty good tips, and yet couldn’t remember what they were for the life of me. So I searched “DIY Distressed Denim” and found the post I wrote on the topic…and then learned that apparently something about sandpapering your jeans violates YouTube’s Terms Of Service.


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Anyway, here it is again. Hopefully YouTube doesn’t interpret ramblings about skinny jeans set to the tune of my husband’s sped-up voice as a danger to society this time around.

And finally, here’s yesterday afternoon’s project, inspired by the “mega-shredded” (their words) jacket I found online: I took a J.Crew jean jacket that I found at a thrift store a couple of years ago, took an x-acto knife and some sandpaper to it, and…How to make your own super distressed and shredded jean jacketHow to make your own super distressed and shredded jean jacket


Love it.

*     *     *  DIY “MEGA-SHREDDED” DENIM JACKET  *     *     *

What You Need:

  • X-acto knife (or very sharp regular knife)
  • Gloves, if you’re clumsy (oh god, please don’t cut off your finger)
  • Heavy-duty sandpaper
  • A washing machine and dryer

What You Do:

  1. The point is to make the jacket look worn in the spots where it would naturally fall apart over years of wear. So first, put on the jacket and bend your arms, then mark the spots where your elbows hit with a pencil.
  2. Insert a thick piece of cardboard into one arm of the jacket, making sure that it’s underneath the elbow area. Using the x-acto knife, make a bunch of small (or large, depending on your taste) slits in the fabric on the spot you marked previously. Rub the sandpaper over the area to rough it up even more. Repeat on the other arm.
  3. Slide some cardboard under the front pocket area and distress the area with an x-acto knife and the sandpaper, then repeat on the other side, if desired (just make sure the marks aren’t identical on both sides).
  4. Flip over the jacket, and distress the upper back area, where the fabric would pull were you to bend over and touch your toes.
  5. Wash the jacket; dry the jacket; repeat as necessary until you have the desired effect.

Tip: When making cuts with the x-acto, make sure to vary the depth, length and placement – you want some cuts to go completely through the fabric, but others to just lightly skim the surface; this will create the most natural effect.

How to make your own super distressed and shredded jean jacket

How to make your own super distressed and shredded jean jacket

| Stay Gold Painting by Laura Ricciardi |

*     Some shoppable versions, for those of you who aren’t especially interested in playing with x-acto knives…     *

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