Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

"We need to learn to make these shorts!" tutorial

You know the shorts I'm talking about.  I've seen them in every April magazine issue I've received recently--InStyle, Lucky, People StyleWatch, Cosmo (ick), and Glamour.  Here's a page from my InStyle with quite a few choices to get the look, prices ranging from $25-$167.  I've seen them at Target even., not too expensive, but it's much more eco-friendly to make some out of jeans from your closet!  I like that they're cute and trendy but not short-shorts, not too snug, and not the kind that you have to keep tugging down your inner thighs.

Of course we need to learn to make these ourselves!!I set out to make a pair and have written up a tutorial for you.  Here's how to make some longish denim shorts yourself!
  • Start with a pair of loose-ish jeans--snug ones would work, but the look is a little bit softer.  I think jeans with or without stretch would work, but mine are 100% cotton.  Suuuuper old Abercrombie ones, from Goodwill Outlet, the holes are kind of beyond mend-able.
  • Figure out how long you want your jean shorts to be.  I wanted mine about 12" from the center of the inseam, including a 2" cuff.
Cut!  Leave a 1/2" seam allowance, so 12.5" from the crotch.
  • Now, you can't just fold the jeans back and cuff them, like you do rolling up jeans to capri them.  They taper as they go down the thigh, so they're several inches smaller in circumference as you get closer to the knee.  It would not work to just fold it back.  So, take the flared part of the jeans and flip them around 180.  Find the part that's the same circumference as the end of the jeans.
 I want the cuff to be 2", so there will be a 1/2" seam allowance on the top and bottom--cut a 3" piece.
  • Turn the cuff piece back 180 again.  The shape will be like an hourglass, and you'll be switching the inseam and outside leg seams.  See the topstitched side is on top on the cuff piece, but on the inseam on the main piece?
  • Flip the cuff piece inside out inside the main piece, and pin.
  • Sew with a 1/2" seam allowance.
  • Press under 1/2" hem.
  • Press the seam allowance from the two pieces toward the top of your jeans.
  • Fold the cuff piece back and press so that the seam is just under the center of the fold, hidden by like 1/8".
  • Hand-sew the hem down using a hidden whip-stitch, all around on both legs.  I used minimal pinning to keep the 1/2" turn under in place.
  • That's it!!
Hope you got that.  The whole process is more complicated than just turning under a hem, but trust me, it works soooo much better.  Now you can have comfy, non-scandalous, cute jean shorts--from jeans you were thinking about throwing away!  This is one spring trend I am totally into, and I hope you all are too.
Happy recycling!


  1. love it!! awesome tutorial!! i will be doing this soon!!

  2. These turned out great! Thanks for the great tute!!

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  3. Oi,
    adorei tudo que vi
    estou aprendendo a arte da costura
    obrigado pelas dicas

  4. Love reading your tutorial today! :)

  5. Great tutorial! I'm going to work on this next week with some jeans that have gotten too short for me!

  6. Hey I found your blog on Ucreate! And I'm sure glad hey featured you! I'm now your newest follower and I can't wait to start reading your posts and tutorials! This shorts tutorial is great!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  7. So cute - I'm going to have to try this one.

  8. Awesome! I was trying to make some of these last weekend, NEVER occurred to me to use the bottom pieces, you are TOO ingenuitive, and I'm so GLAD you are!

  9. You are so smart!! Do you know how many pairs of bubble-butt cut-off jeans I've worn in my day? And all because the rolled up cuff was smaller around than the legs of the shorts.

    I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  10. thanks! this is totally helpful!

  11. I live in jean shorts in the summer. Awesome tutorial!

  12. I followed your tutorial, and put my in-process photos up on my blog:

    I took a bunch more photos with better lighting, so things look a little clearer. 'Hope you don't mind :)

  13. Thank you for this tutorial! It's so simple and the perfect way to make cut-off's that don't cut off the circulation in your legs!

    I have used it twice already! Once for a pair of jeans that I never really liked the way the legs were at the bottom and just a few minutes ago to make a pair of shorts for my DD (7) out of a pair of her jeans with holes in the knees :)

  14. I just followed your tutorial! It was very well done! Thanks for a quick project.

  15. Nice site !! i also know a very good site for denim shorts Denimology(.)com !!!!

  16. Anonymous5/21/2011

    I love the jeans into shorts idea, as my local stores in my very small town are showing only short, short shorts. I am no longer willing to wear shorts THAT short, love to recycle, and can hardly wait till our thrift store opens Wednesday. Thanks so much.
    Ann, Silver City, NM

  17. The secret to a flushed pants to shorts is revealed. Thank you for the tutorial. :)

  18. Anonymous4/27/2012

    how about if the jeans are straight legs, and just naturally taper down at the bottom? Would jeans like that not be suitable for this type of shorts? Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. Ooh, great question! It would be hard to make skinny jeans work for this, because you do need more width to put back on the thigh area. You could do this tutorial instead, if they're stretchy!

  19. Oh my gosh, I've been wondering how to cuff tapered jeans. This is perfect, thank you.




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