Recycled Fashion: DIY Denim Shorts

Recycled Fashion: DIY Denim Shorts

Which shorts were DIY and which were store bought?

Hard to tell right? The first 2 photos are of a $60 pair of shorts from Urban Outfitters. All the other pairs were bought for $1 each from St. Vincent De Paul and then cut and distressed by us. Today we are going to show you how we made the last pair!

What you will need:

  1. A pair of old jeans. We prefer highwaisted "mom jeans" for our shorts so we always go to a thrift store to pick up a vintage pair. (By the way! Check out St. Vincent de Paul on Sundays, all clothing items are $1 each! That's how we get our jeans for so cheap.)
  2. Fabric scissors
  3. Pencil/pen
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Measuring tape or ruler (optional, we always wing it)

Step 1. Try em' on & mark a line!

Make sure your jeans aren't too tight! there should be some room around your butt & thighs, but they should fit snug around your waist and hips! Mark a line that is definitely longer than how you want your shorts to end up (remember, you can always cut more off, like we did! this will just get fabric out of the way). I marked a line where my fingertips were.

step 2. cut!

Use fabric scissors to cut along the lines you made. The cuts don't need to be perfect, this is just to make your shorts easier to work with!

step 3. try em' on again and mark another line!

Can't stress enough how important it is to keep trying them on! The shorts always look longer when they're not on you. Mark a line that is more accurate to how long you want them to be, but still be a little generous. If you're going to fold them instead of leaving them cut-off, make sure you leave enough room to fold them a couple times. For these shorts, we left them cut-off. Don't forget to mark a different line on the butt too, and make sure its long enough to cover your cheeks!! 

step 4. cut some more

I recommend starting by cutting vertically first by the outside seam on the front of your shorts (see first photo). Only cut the front layer of your shorts! You will want the back of your shorts to be slightly longer than the front side! Then cut across along the line you made. When you get to the crotch area, be careful! This is where many of my DIY shorts have gone awry. Don't snip too much fabric away here! Cut around until you get to the back of the shorts. As you can see in the last picture, the back of the shorts is about an inch or 2 longer than the front, but the cut is one even line that subtly gets longer on the back. Keep this in mind as you cut! Go slow!

step 6. try on again

Decide whether you like the length, and if you want to distress them!


step 7. rip em' up

If you decide you want to add some rips, it's super easy! Mark where you want them to go. Fold the fabric up a little so that you can snip a little hole with your scissors (see first picture). Then, slide your scissors into the hole and cut along as far as you want it to go. It will basically just look like a stripe at this point. I like how it looks to make a bunch of parallel "stripes" to create a big ripped n' ragged area. I made rips on the front and on the back pocket. Be careful not to snip your front pockets when you make your holes!

step 8. sandpaper

Use sandpaper to rub along any cut edges. The more you sand, the more distressed they will look. Do this even if you didn't make any rips! I always also sand along the waistband and belt loops to give it a rough, worn out look.

step 9. wash n' dry

Throw your shorts in the wash and then put them in the dryer! (just add em' to a normal load of laundry).

step 10. put those bad boys on and work it!

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