After yesterday’s SPRING BREAK 2015 PACKING LIST extravaganza, I thought this post would come in handy for some of you. So let’s talk denim cut-off shorts, a.k.a. ‘jorts,‘ a.k.a. one of my favorite summer style staples. There is something so easy and effortless about throwing on a pair of denim cut-offs once summer rolls into town. While the length of my shorts has changed (that’s for the best!), my preferred style of cut-off has remained pretty consistent over the years: a medium-blue wash with slight distressing.
The great news about these all-american summer fashion VIPs, is that you can find them at all price points for all bodies. The even better news is that everyone, and I mean everyone… is capable of DIYing these shorts at home. If you’ve got a pair of sharp scissors, a ruler, some chalk, sandpaper (optional) and a working washer/dryer, you’re in business and only a few minutes away from the best fitting (and least expensive) denim cut-offs of your life.
A few style notes before we begin:
1) Your butt cheeks should never hang out of the bottom of your shorts. No one wants to see that. Make sure that you leave enough length when making your initial cut- about 3″ or more from the crotch. Keep in mind that fraying over time will make your denim shorter than they appear at first.
2) Leave the serious shredding, bleaching, bedazzling to the 14 year olds. Actually, I take that back. NO ONE should be wearing shredded, bleached and/or bedazzled shorts. Like, ever.
3) Save your old jeggings and high elastic-content skinny jeans for the donation or consignment piles. Denim cut-offs always look best with a slightly looser fit, stretch-free denim. Think they’ll be stiff and uncomfortable? No worries, a little sandpaper and dryer action will soften them right up.
So, where do we begin!?
STEP #1: Start with a pair of jeans that’s a little roomier than those skinnies you love. An old “few sizes too big” pair, or even a baggier boyfriend cut works well. Most likely, you already have something that fits the bill but if not, this is the perfect opportunity to shop your local consignment or thrift store for a good denim find.
STEP #2: Measure at least 3″ down from the crotch (what an awful word, right?!) and mark your length. Take your ruler and draw a line from the inside seam to the outside seam slightly angling upwards.
STEP #3: Use your sharp fabric shears/scissors and cut along your chalked line. Repeat process on the opposite leg.
STEP #4: It’s at this point you can add distressing if you wish. Use basic sandpaper and rough up the waistband, the pocket hem, the back pockets… anyplace you want the jeans to look a bit more worn. In addition, if you slice horizontal lines with your shears into the shorts, when washed you’ll end up with a frayed patch. The pair of jeans I used for this DIY already had some distressing going on, so I left them as is. If you’re looking to add more “character” to your own jeans, I recommend you read THIS.
STEP #5: Run your shorts through the washer and a quick dry cycle and that’s it! You’re ready to enjoy your new shorts!
OK, now that you’ve seen how easy DIY denim cut-off shorts are, you’re all going to run upstairs and start cutting! Maybe?! Well, if hacking away at old jeans is just not in the cards for you, I put together some of my favorite pre-made styles for all budgets. You know, just in case.