From Jeans to Dream Shorts: A 5-Step Guide to DIY Denim Perfection

You can find the perfect pair of shorts in your closet if you have been looking for them but aren’t finding one that suits your style. If you have jeans that are willing to be sold, they can easily become cut-offs. You only need to learn how to turn jeans into shorts.

It’s not difficult to figure out how to turn jeans into shorts, but it’s also not as simple as it seems. You could end up with a lopsided leg if you don’t take into consideration certain factors, like the exact measurements or which angle to cut from. You might end up in a never-ending cycle of trimming and eventually get something that is slightly shorter than what you had planned.

We have put together a guide that will show you how to turn jeans into shorts. This is a much more affordable and sustainable option than purchasing brand-new jeans. You will also get a lot of use out of these jean shorts for many years.

Here are five simple steps to turn your jeans into shorts.

Gather Materials

image 1984

Photo: Sarah Balch

  • A pair of jeans you want to turn into shorts
  • Fabric scissors (not craft or kitchen scissors)
  • Sandpaper
  • Chalk
  • A ruler

If you feel that chalk is difficult to see, you may want to use a permanent pen or marker. We recommend chalk, however, because it is easier to remove. If you were wondering, the sandpaper will be used to fray your hem.


image 1988

Photo: Sarah Balch

  • Mark the desired length with chalk after you slip your jeans on. The easiest place to mark is along the inseam.
  • Remove your jeans and place them flat on the surface.
  • Make a second mark on the opposite side of the leg at a diagonal distance of one or two inches.
  • Use the chalk to connect the two marks. Keep the line straight by using your ruler.
  • Measure the length of each leg from the waistline and the inseam. This will help you determine where to mark the other leg. This is important to do before cutting.

Start Cutting

image 1987

Sarah Balch

Fabric scissors can be used to cut along the chalked angled line. It is important to keep the extra fabric with you when cutting the denim.

Distress ends

image 1989

Sarah Balch

You can use your finger to remove loose denim fibers. Don’t apply too much force as the threads should come out if you gently tug. Pulling too hard can cause the threads to fall out completely, and you want them to be visible a little.

Fray with Sandpaper

image 1985

Sarah Balch

The bottom denim is often distressed to give a distressed look. For a distressed look on the jeans that you have turned into shorts use sandpaper to fray the hem.

Wear them

image 1986

Sarah Balch

You now have the perfect length and an item that you can use for many summer outfits. Not to mention, some bragging rights if people ask you where you bought your shorts.

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