If you’re thinking of turning jeans into shorts instead of buying new denim cut offs, you can easily transform your old jeans into a fresh pair of shorts, that you can also decorate according to the latest trends, with floral appliqués or even lace.

Learn how to make your own DIY cut offs with a set of simple instructions. Whether you want cuffed shorts, or a fringe finish, here’s how you can save part of your old jeans and turn them into a new pair of shorts.

Choose the Right Pair of Jeans

Repurposing your old jeans sounds simple, but you need to pick the right pair in order to make your new shorts. Stretchy denim is a bad idea for cut offs, so go for jeans in a regular fabric. If they have damage in the shorts area, you shouldn’t even bother, so make sure that you pick the right pair. If they’re fitted in the thigh area, they might not make the best shorts, but with a little extra effort you can still make them work.

Do It Yourself Denim Shorts

Things You Need for Turning Jeans into Shorts

There are three important item then you need to have at hand for DIY cut offs. The first is a measuring tool, whether it’s tape measure or a ruler. You also need to either chalk or a pencil to mark the fabric before cutting it. You should get an extra strong pair of shears, not just regular scissors, to make the cutting process easier. Finally, a couple of safety pins wouldn’t hurt, so you can mark the cut off line while you’re wearing the jeans.

Measure Correctly

When you’re making DIY cut offs, measuring correctly is paramount to getting the length just right. A good rule of thumb is to stick between 3 and 5 inches above the knee, but if you want them cuffed, you need to decide on the size of the cuff and account for folding the denim in itself at least twice. Put the jeans on and decide which length works for you in from of the mirror. Use the safety pins to mark the right length on the outer sides of both legs.

Easy Denim Cut Off Shorts
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Mark with Chalk

Using chalk is the best way to go when you’re turning jeans into shorts. Make sure that the ruler or measuring tape is perfectly horizontal before drawing the line you’ll use to cut your jeans. If you don’t have any chalk, any dull tip pencil will do. If the tip is too sharp, you won’t be able to draw a proper stray line.

See also: How to Wear Tie Dye This Summer

Cut Carefully

Dull scissors are always a bad idea for making DIY cut offs. You need to cut carefully, but if you mess up slightly, you’ll be able to hide the mistake, either by cuffing or with a little fringe. Use a strong pair of sheers. If they can handle 4 layers of fabric, it’s best to fold your jeans, leaving  the back pocket on top, and cut through all the layers a single time.

Studded Denim Cut Offs

Finishing Your Fringe Cut Offs

If you want to create a fringe, all you need to do if throw your shorts in the washing machine. You can try turning jeans into shorts with lots of fringe, but that means you’ll probably need to wash and dry them twice or even three times. Once you’ve got the fringe looking just right, you can also add stitching on both legs to prevent any further fraying.

Cuffed Denim Shorts

Finishing Your Cuffed Cut Offs

When you’re going for cuffed DIY cut offs, all you need to do is roll the denim inside out two to three times, depending on the length you used when cutting. Once you’re absolutely sure you’ve got the perfect length, you can also secure the sides of the cuffs with a needle and color-appropriate thread. Using an iron for less voluminous cuffs is another option, depending on the look you’re going for.

Making Denim Cut Off Shorts
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Finishing Your Cuffed Cut Offs with Side Slits

Turning jeans into shorts gets a bit more tricky if you’re dealing with skinny jeans or simply feel like you’d like the legs to be wider. The best way to get more leg movement room is to make two slits on the outer sides of your jeans. Whether you go for a 1 or 2 inch slit, you’ll then need a stretchy fabric that you need to sow on the inside to rejoin the sides.

Homemade Denim Lace Shorts
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Embellishing Your DIY Cut Offs

Turning jeans into shorts can completely transform them, whether or not you use embellishments. You can use any appliqué, but if you’re going for a trendy look, florals are the right choice. For cuffed cut outs with side slits, you can even choose a contrasting color for the stretchy fabric to take them to the next level.