Woman cutting jeans into shorts with scissors

How To Cut Jeans Into Shorts: DIY Cut Off Shorts

Upcycling an old pair of jeans is a great way to create less waste AND give your used clothes a new life. Today, we’re here to tell you how to cut jeans into shorts (no sewing expertise needed!). 

So gather your supplies, watch our quick tutorial video, and use these step by step instructions to make DIY shorts of your own!

You only need a few basic supplies to transform your old jeans into cute DIY cut offs:

  • Chalk: Use chalk (or tailor’s chalk) to mark where to cut your jeans.
  • Fabric scissors: Fabric scissors easily cut through denim and make achieving clean lines easy. If you don’t have fabric scissors, regular scissors will work! Just make sure they’re nice and sharp.
  • Ruler: Use a ruler to draw a straight line with your chalk.
  • Flat surface: Make sure you have a large flat surface to work on. If you have a cutting mat, lay it down on your surface to protect your table from the scissors.

Learning how to cut jeans into shorts is a great DIY project and the perfect way to upcycle old jeans. Follow these step-by-step instructions to get started!

  1. Preshrink your jeans. Wash and dry your jeans to prevent any surprise shrinking once your jean shorts are finished. 
  2. Gather materials. Put your jeans, scissors, chalk, and ruler on your workspace. Lay down a protective mat if you’re worried about scratching the surface with scissors. 
  3. Decide what type of shorts to make. Are you going for short shorts? Or the recently trending bermuda shorts? Use inspiration pics to get an idea of what look you’re going for.
  4. Make the first mark. Put your jeans on and decide where you want the new hemline to be. Use chalk to mark just below your desired length (just in case!). You can always cut them shorter. 
    • Tip: Look in a full-length mirror when making your marks so they are even on both sides.
  5. Draw the line and cut. Take the jeans off and lay them on your work surface. Use the ruler to draw a straight line across each leg of your jeans. To give your legs an elongated look, angle the line upward so that it’s higher at the outer seam. Then, use fabric scissors to cut along the line.
    • Tip: Fold the jeans in half before cutting to see whether the chalk lines match up on both sides.
  6. Try them on and adjust. Put the shorts on and use the chalk to make more marks if needed (i.e. if either side is uneven or if you want them to be shorter). Repeat the previous step to make your shorts shorter. 
  7. Roll, fray, or hem. How you finish your pair of cutoff shorts is up to you! Leave them as-is with a raw hem or finish them a different way:
    • Roll: Cuff your jeans to give the shorts a polished, rolled look. 
    • Fray: Use your fingers (or tweezers!) and sandpaper to gently fray the white threads at the bottom of your shorts. The longer you rub the hemline with sandpaper, the thicker the frayed edges will be.
    • Hem: Fold the bottom of your jeans under twice. Then use a needle and thread to add a straight stitch across each leg opening.
  8. Style! Your new pair of denim shorts is complete! Add a flowy button-down, a basic t-shirt, or a crop top to finish the look.

Join The Revelle Community

For personalized jeans recommendations, join the Revelle community! We don’t believe body types should dictate your jeans shopping experience, so instead of scouring the internet (we see you Amazon shoppers!)… we’ll curate jeans FOR YOU using your favorite denim brands and jean types (including straight-leg jeans, wide-leg jeans, bootcut jeans, and more!). We’ll also recommend which size to purchase based on how the brand fits and reviews from other women.

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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