DIY: Cut Off Shorts

DIY Cut Off Shorts

A pair of nice fitting cut off denim shorts will last you a lifetime (or a few years, at least). As you know, classic cut offs are an essential summer style staple for me. Luckily, cut off shorts are relatively inexpensive–especially when you recycle a pair of old jeans and make them yourself. Back in high school, my friends and I used to make our own cut off shorts. Sometimes they were a bit too short or crooked, which was frustrating, but other times they were just right. After gaining some experience in the clothing industry, I’ve finally devised a foolproof process for making your own cut off shorts. Read on to learn how to transform those raggy old blue jeans into a fresh new pair of cute cut offs just in time for summer… It’s easy as 1 2 3!

Here’s what you will need…

  • old pair of jeans that fit well (try not to use spadex blend jeans)
  • scissors
  • For cuffed shorts, you will also need: an iron, fabric glue


DIY Cut Off Shorts

1. Pin. Try on jeans and determine how short you want them. Pin a safety pin at the desired length. *If you plan on making cuffed shorts, leave an extra 2 inches of length for folding. Take jeans off, turn them inside out, and lay them flat.

DIY Cut Off Shorts

2. Cut. Based on where you pinned the leg for length, cut each leg individually across with scissors. Cut them at a slight angle (v shape) for a more flattering fit and make sure you don’t cut the pockets! A few notes: To make the line more precise, you may want to take a ruler and lightly trace your cutting path with a pen or pencil. Also, I always err of on the side of caution and cut longer since you can always trim them down to the exact length you want.

DIY Cut Off Shorts

3. Wash. And voila! Now you have a new pair of cut off shorts! Make sure to wash them before wear (this will fray the hem a bit, making them look more authentic).

To make cuffed cut off shorts, follow steps #1 + #2 (above) and then do the following:

  • Turn the shorts right side out and iron them using the pant legs you just cut off as an ironing cloth.
  • Fold a cuff at the bottom of each leg (fold over twice) of the shorts and then press with a hot flat iron and steam. Repeat this step by ironing each leg from the inside of the shorts.
  • If the cuff doesn’t stay after ironing, run a thin line of fabric glue along the inner cuff of each leg and press flat to secure cuff. Allow glue to dry completely before wear.

If you give this DIY a try, upload a photo of the finished product to your profile page and link the photo in the comments below!

Can’t wait to see your photos!

XO Lauren

Categories: Craft, Wear
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  • Izabella Emerick

    Great idea! I will deff try it soon and post some photos :) I was in need of a new pair of shorts!

  • Leonnie Prangnell

    I have just thrown away 2 pairs of old jeans a few days go, if only you’d posted this earlier lauren :( , still handy to know how to do though (: x

  • Jessica Bartlett

    I actually done this at the beggining of summer =) Got a whole 2 days out of them and then rain hit =( x

  • Mikita Roharia

    I have done this in the past and it definitely makes great shorts. I get a lot more compliments on DIY shorts!! And it salvages a pair of jeans that might have torn at the knee

  • Kate Shaw

    I do this every summer… for me and for my daughters. The girls always end up ripping their jeans at the knee through the school year so cut off shorts are an awesome money saver. We cut them off in various lengths; since I am handy with a sewing machine I usually run a stitch to keep the fraying where I want it. Also, I can make short out of other pants that they no longer like as pants or some other reason. For myself, I don’t rip my jeans or grow out of them (unless I’ve hit the drive-thru too often) so I go to the thrift store and find the perfect jeans for shorts.

  • Nicole Marchant

    ahh! great idea lauren! think i might be doing this with my old jeans!

  • Melissa Panici

    Awesome idea!! I will have to try this this weekend!!

  • Renos Fy

    The past when you did get ripped jeans from the knee DIY shorts designing many of the things they are good for Lauren

  • Corryn Batykefer

    I love this! I have failed miserably at this a few times back in high school too! I guess its time to recycle all the jeans I don’t wear! Thanks!

  • Lyndsay Hines

    Could you do a post about how to wear a demin vest? I just bought one, love it, but am not 100% positive of the best ways to wear it!

  • Megan Baird

    i’m so glad you posted this because, it made me think of a funny story with my two best friends. so a few years ago, my junior high school ran this club called club 01 (started in 2001) and every year there would be four dances, and you had to be a member to come in. there was a fall dance, a winter dance, a spring formal (my favorite), and then a summer one before school ended. it was THE thing :) and so my 8th grade year, i was at my friend, Riley’s house with another friend named, Leah, and Leah forgot her shorts! and at the fall dance, everyone wears cut off shorts because it’s about the last time you can for a while! so Riley got out an old pair of jeans and told me to fix it since i liked fashion and blahblahblah. well, i tried making Leah shorts for the first time out of these old abercrombie jeans, and it was a disaster! they were so uneven, it was hilarious! so i tried my hardest to fix them, which helped a little. i told her i would try again, but we didnt have time. we were already late for the dance and it was a 30 minte drive, so she ended up wearing the shorts. but the funny thing was, she got compliments on them when she got there! so i knew i was meant to be in the fashion industry when i got older! leah and i often laugh about that now, but i used it as inspiration! :)

  • Megan Baird

    also lauren, last night there was a marathon of shows about Pippa Middleton, Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Prince Harry. i fell in love with the Middleton girls and their style, and how well they hold themselves! i was wondering if you could do a post on how to work that classy, clean style? the hair, the makeup, the clothes! i love it all! xoxo.

  • Lucie Bartlett

    Megan – that is an awesome idea! We love the Middletons here in the UK – Kate is our new style Queen! Lauren has always been my personal style role model, so it was be so great to see her take on Kate’s timeless paired down style. x

  • Katelyn Merrill
  • Meryam Talib

    I did it. Awesome idea, I love it!!!!

  • Sara Davis

    Great tips! I need to go through my jeans and will cut any that don’t fit my legs anymore. I also wanted to say, you should post more DIY :) It’s really nice to learn simple fashion tips from a professional like you!

  • Alysia Gruenstern

    I have ruined lots of jeans trying to make my own cutoffs, I’m going to try it again using the V shape idea and hopefully it works!! I NEED a good pair of cutoffs!

  • Cassie Hanson

    the v-cut is a great tip – cutting denim isn’t always as easy as it looks! thanks :)

  • Dess

    thanks! i’ve tried this many times and it always ends up crooked..


  • Kimberly Sparks

    Planning to do this. :)

  • Lupsie

    This is a great post! I have so many pairs of jeans that I refuse to throw out because…well…because I will NEVER throw a pair of jeans out lol! I am going to try this tonight-wish me luck! lol

  • Katie Trieskey

    I did this with a pair of old bermuda shorts! They turned out great!! :)

  • Maria Abbruscato

    totally CUTE!!!!!!!!

  • mariana venancio

    I did it with an old pair of jeans!!

  • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson

    This is so conveinent! I’ve tried to make shorts on several occasions and always end up with a fail!

    Kindness is the best accessory,

  • Laura Lau

    Hi Lauren!

    I hope You alright. I would if you could write a blog about FESTIVAL OUTFIT. :)

    best wishes,


  • Apple

    You could also try dyeing your cut offs and I’ve seen a skirt made from a bleached pair of jeans.

  • Kiwi

    this is a very helpful post for me!! Thanks!

  • Rebecca Trapani

    this is awesome i cant wait to try it:) thanks

  • mrsellieroop

    I didn’t have a great experience with this thread, but I think I might have done something wrong.

  • Claire Coppersmith
  • Claire Coppersmith

    I cut them a little short, but that’s okay, they stilll wrok!

  • stacey lee drage

    your my lifesaver , iv been trying to figure out how to do this for at least half a year now and it never worked out but then i follow these steps and it works <3 thanks lauren

  • Maria Camila NR

    I loved the post! I saved two old blue-jeans, and I had gook luck (and a good look), the shorts are amaziiinnng!!! :) Thank you! ♥

  • Christina

    Massive fail :( On the upside, I now have a costume if i ever wanna go as daisy duke for halloween….

  • Guest

    Love this



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