Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I 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!

This summer's DIY cut-off jeans shorts--Tutorial!

Last summer, I noticed bermuda-length cuffed jean shorts were all the rage, and I made my own out of a pair of old jeans (tutorial here).  I did the tutorial here, and still love those shorts and have been wearing them around this summer.

But this year, I've noticed another trend in magazines and such.  The original cut-off jean short, with a small (sometimes raw-edged) hem.

Express (4" long inseam!)
Flickr via Pinterest
J.Crew like a year ago
J.Crew this summer
Lucky Mag
Pinterest, original source unknown
You could pay $181 for these True Religion ones...
YesStyle.com, $50
Anyway, so you see the range of styles, lengths, and tightness-es.  Quite a few ideas to work from!  In all, I'm noticing shorter and looser than last year's longer cuffed jean shorts.

I went into my closet, and pulled out this ancient pair of old favorite jeans.  They're from, literally, like 2006.  They have spandex in them so they stretch, and I have worn them while at many different weights!  Haha, they've been around--they have holes starting on the knees, some paint, and some of my original jeans-mending method patching on the butt.

I wish I had a slighly looser pair, but these will do for this fun DIY project.  Here goes the tutorial!
  • Start with your old jeans and try them on.  Mark with a pen about 2" below where you think you want them to hit your legs.  Just in case, you'll give yourself that extra room since you may waste some straightening etc.  Begin to cut.
  • Cut through the top layer only, to start with, rather than chopping both off at once.  The grain is slightly different on the front and back, and you want to get a true straight line.
  • Once you've gone all the way around, fold the jeans in half and cut the other side to match as closely as possible.  They'll really look homemade if they're not symmetrical!
  • Fold them in half and look at them from different angles to make sure both sides are the same.
  • You may also want to turn them inside out, so you can see the straight grain of the denim, and shave off little bits of the edges to make them straighter.
  • Try them on again.  They should be about 1" longer than you'd like them to be.
  • To the ironing board.  Press about 1" of the jeans up.  No need to hem or turn under twice!  Wahooo, these are simple!
  • Now get out your needle and denim blue thread.  This part is sort of optional, I guess, but these will be most wearable if you do this step.  Basically, to lock in the cuff and rolled-up look, without always having your shorts moving around in length, you'll hand sew the cuff in place.
  • You'll do a running stitch, but make the stitch on top just a millimeter long, and the stitch underneath more like half an inch long.  You cover lots of ground quickly this way, but your stitches don't show on top.
  • If your jeans stretch at all, like mine did, you'll want to do this in a zig zag pattern.  The thread doesn't have the same give as the jeans, so by zig-zagging you give the stitch some flexibility.

All done!  Wear and enjoy--your personalized jean shorts, exactly the length you wanted!  And so trendy right now!

And, pretty much free.  You can't go wrong.


  1. I am a fan! I love jean shorts and it's a great way to recycle old jeans.

  2. Nice! Can't wait to see how they look in Hawaii!

  3. Anonymous8/23/2011

    Love. And it's so perfect to just get cheap jeans at the thrift store for this too.

  4. Thanks! Yeah, I thought about getting some $5 ones at a thrift store and using them, and would if I had needed looser ones or something. Also good for jeans that are too short or awkwardly flared!

  5. I have a barely-worn pair of Hudson jeans that a tailor destroyed while altering that I've been meaning to do this to. Thanks for the reminder, it will save me about $165 (the cost of the ones I've been eying), and prevent the jeans from going to waste!

  6. I've always wanted to cut some of my rarely used pants into a cute cut-off shorts. Can't wait to try it out..Finally I can put those pants into good use!

  7. that's so funny, I was actually going to make a pair of these for a road trip I'm taking on labor day week-end! Thanks for the tutorial, it's a sign I definitely have to make them now!

  8. I went crazy with scissors and a cheese grater to give my cutoffs a vintage look http://www.sewinlove.com.au/2011/03/20/diy-denim-cutoffs-from-thrifted-jeans/

    Mine are made from an $8 pair of thrifted jeans because I wanted a slightly high waisted look.

  9. Anonymous9/21/2011

    Seriously? A tutorial for CUT-OFFS? If you can't figure out how to do it without a tutorial, you probably shouldn't be trusted with scissors.

  10. @Anonymous... yep! A tutorial for cut-offs! Some of us like to see how things go before we pull out the scissors ourselves!

  11. I'm looking for a tutorial for bermuda length cut-offs. Can you help?! :)

    1. Sure! I did one last summer! http://www.adventuresindressmaking.com/2010/03/we-need-to-learn-to-make-these-shorts.html

  12. nice tutorial but is there anyway to cut the jeans into shorts without using those needles and sewing process? pls do tell me sum1...

  13. Anonymous7/04/2012

    I loved the tutorial but would you please tell me if there is a way in which you can cut jeans into shorts, without using needles and sewing process.... i means can't we just cut it with scissors, take off the threads and wear it ?
    pls reply...

    1. Thanks. Of course, you can just cut shorts off. They won't ravel too much, although you may need to trim the hanging threads after every washing.

  14. thank you so much for sharing this<3 i made one and it turns out really great!!!

  15. If you are an artist or designer send your work to an online store www.cutoutsandholes.com



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