Woman wearing jeans with a raw hem

DIY Raw Hem Jeans

We love any DIY moment. But we especially love an easy DIY moment… Who’s with us?! 

As denim lovers, we’re constantly getting new pairs of jeans and looking for ways to upcycle our old ones. Adding a raw hem is a fun and easy way to distress an old pair of jeans and give them an updated look. Added bonus? You can cut the hem a little extra short to make them cropped! Don’t worry, we’ll go over exactly how to do it.

What You’ll Need

You only need a few supplies to add a raw hem to any pair of jeans. You’ll need:

  • Jeans: Duh. Grab any pair of jeans you’d like to use for this project. If you’re looking for a more intense fray (rather than a few loose strands), choose a pair of non-stretch jeans. They’ll have more cotton threads for you to pull out. On the other hand, if you want a more subtle raw hem, use a pair of stretchy jeans. Stretch denim is less likely to fray on its own, so it’ll maintain a more subtle look.
  • Scissors: Use any pair of scissors you have. 
  • Chalk: Chalk will help you mark where to cut. Use tailor’s chalk if you have it, but if you don’t, regular chalk will work just fine.
  • Ruler: A ruler will help you draw a straight line with the chalk.
  • Needle and Thread (optional): For extra security, you can reinforce the side seams of your jeans at the end of the project. To do this, you’ll need a needle and thread.

How To DIY Raw Hem Jeans

Who knew could turn old jeans into trendy, distressed denim? Here’s how:

You need to figure out how short you want your jeans to be. If you want to cut right above the original hemline, you won’t even need to make a mark. However, if you want to crop the jeans, or cut them any shorter than their current length, it’s a good idea to mark where you want to cut them with chalk. Make a small line on the front of each leg and then take the jeans off.

Gather your supplies on a flat surface (it needs to be large enough for your jeans to lay flat). If you’re worried about using scissors on this space, make sure to lay out a mat or protective covering.

Fold your jeans in half, lengthwise, so that the legs are lying on top of each other. Check to make sure the marks you made are in the same spot on each leg. (If they’re slightly off, don’t worry! You’ll make sure both sides match when you actually cut). Lay the jeans flat and place the ruler across the jeans where you want to cut. Use the chalk to draw a straight line along the ruler.

Fold the bottom leg so that it’s no longer underneath the one you marked (you don’t want to accidentally cut both!). Use your scissors to cut along the chalk line. Remember that you’ll be able to cut off more length later, so it’s better to leave them long in the beginning.

5. Try the jeans on

Once you’ve cut one leg, put the jeans back on to make sure the cut is where you want it. If you want them even shorter, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Refold your jeans so one leg is on top of the other. Cut the second leg to the same length as the first one.

Once your jeans are cut, they’re ready to be frayed! Use your fingers to pull a few strands out of each hem. You can also rub the raw hems between your hands to help the strands come loose. They’ll fray more with time (and as they’re washed), so start by only pulling a few strands from each side.

Since you’ve removed the original hem from your jeans, it’s possible that over time the bottom will continue to fray and unravel (so the jeans will continue to get shorter). You’re more likely to see this effect if you plan to wear the jeans frequently or if the jeans are non-stretch. To prevent this, simply flip your jeans inside out and add a handful of stitches to each side seam.

Find Your Perfect Jeans

At Revelle, we like to think of ourselves as jean experts. Professionals in the denim department. Your personal jean curator… too much? Okay, okay. We know that a woman’s body isn’t defined by one body shape. That’s why we use our algorithm to find the best jeans for your individual shape. Sign up now to see your personalized recommendations!

Revelle is on a mission to make women feel beautiful in their bodies every day by helping them find clothes that actually FIT, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you do purchase something by clicking on a link, we may receive a small commission. 

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