DIY: How to Make Cut Off Shorts

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I know, how hard is it to make cut off shorts, right? Well, if you make them like I did in high school back when I was rockin' those high-waisted, acid washed cut offs... not hard at all. Just attack them with scissors and be done with it... that is, until you wash them and then they fray to the point where there's pretty much nothing left. Oh, and they look like crap. excuse my french...but I'm pretty sure crap isn't really a French word at all.

Walking through the Gap & Banana Republic, I saw tons of nice looking {see my dad rolling his eyes here} cut offs... ones that look much nicer than those ratty things I wore back in the day... but I don't want to pay $40 for a pair of cut offs and neither should you...

Step One:
Grab some old jeans or khakis... no reason to cut up anything new, right? The best way to cut them off is to have someone do it while you're wearing them (cutting them while they are flat on a table will make you end up with an uneven front & back).

Step Two:
Use your sewing machine to sew a simple straight stitch a quarter of an inch above where you cut them. (I just used my pressure foot as the guide.) If you don't have a sewing machine, take them to your tailor who will maybe charge you 5 bucks. If they charge you more then you need a new tailor.

They will now look like this:

Step Three:

Start fraying by pulling on the strands - I found that using a nail file and running in on the edges helped to fray it faster. Don't worry you won't fray it too far... the stitching will help it stay even.

Step Four:

Cut off all the stray strings and things hanging down and them trim the fraying close to the stitching. Careful not to cut the stitching! That's what will keep your "frayed" shorts looking a little more tailored no matter how many times you wash them.

*I found it much easier to fray denim shorts than the khakis since the khaki fabric is a much tighter weave. You may find that you want to run them through the washer to help get the fraying started.*

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  1. What a fab idea! Hubby is always wearing through his khaki work pants down at the feet and could always use more shorts! Thanks!

  2. Erika7:51 AM

    My shorts are now complete! thanks

  3. It's spring cleaning time in my wardrobe this week and there's several pairs of my husbands pants that were about to get thrown out (he wears through the hems with them dragging on the ground) - this looks like a much better idea, and keep my hubby in shorts over summer too
    Nice one

  4. Here's another tip, if you are into denim shorts that look really weathered. While wearing your denim cutoff shirts, sit down naturally, just like you would. Take a piece of sandpaper and rub down on the creases that form high on your legs. The sandpaper will give a sort-of-scuffed look to the denim, depending how hard you rub. It works really nice for dark-colored jeans since it allows the lighter warp threads to show through.

    Brad Richards, Chess Set Seller and closet arts and crafts aficionado

  5. Yup. I found denim jeans are easier to fray too... but somehow I still can't fray as good as yours based on your pictures above. That's why I landed on your blog trying to learn to cut off my shorts better. :)

  6. I exactly know how to this. Great tutorial though. Keep up the good job!

  7. Now I know how it will works and looks like that on you previous pictures you shown. It is fairly good and clean cut. Does this steps applicable on pants stylist?

  8. Cool! My husband has these pants that he refuses to stop wearing because he says they are still ok (they are really not), but now I know what I'll make of them!

  9. I never think about it. Thank you so much. My husband have many paints and jeans which are not used anymore. I should cut it and sew it to be short so he can use it at home. I think this method will produce more stylish pant than shorten it with usual way.

  10. This is just what I needed! Michigan is finally getting into the 90's and I feel like I am about to melt! :) You are amazing!

  11. I have 2 pairs of old pants. I'll better apply these tips to cut them off shorts. This is a good idea, since I don't need to buy a new one.