Friday DIY: Jeans to Shorts

May 31, 2013

Hello, friends!  It is Friday, hurray!  Not only does that mean that the weekend is mere hours away, but it also means that I have another DIY post for you – double hurray!  Now I am sure you have all seen cut off shorts before, whether sold in stores (for a ridiculously high price) or around the world wide web, and you may even have made a pair or two yourself, so this should be familiar territory.

What you’ll need:

  • scissors
  • needle & thread (or sewing machine w/ thread)
  • pencil and ruler (for marking measurements; optional)
DIY jeans to shorts - before

I recently found this great pair of slightly older Gap jeans at a local thrift store (for only $1 – woot!), but as you can see, they were a very wide trouser leg that I felt was totally taking away from the awesome embroidery details on the upper part of the pants.  The fix?  Simple!  Turn them into shorts, duh!

I started by taking one of my favorite pairs of shorts with a good inseam length (I like my shorts to have a 5 to 7 inch inseam), measured and marked how long I wanted my new shorts to be.  I then measured an extra couple inches past that length to make up the new hem.

DIY jeans to shorts - measure

After marking with pencil where I wanted to cut, the next step was to cut the rest of the fabric off and create my new hem.

DIY jeans to shorts - cut & fold to create new hem

Here is where there are several options at your disposal – you can either leave the cut edge raw to create that stringy, cut off look of many vintage jeans-turned-shorts, or you can create a more finished hem by folding and sewing the edge of your new shorts.  Here, too, you can either fold under like a traditional jean hem or you can create a cuff by turning the fabric up once or twice.

DIY jeans to shorts with custom embroidery

I decided that since these jeans have such great detail in the embroidery, I would simply fold the fabric once (to still allow some fraying) and then add some of my own custom embroidery to match the top of the pants.  Whaddya think??  Here’s how they look on:

DIY jeans to shorts - after

Pretty cute, huh?  I actually might put this pair up for sale because I already have a ton of shorts and not enough space for all of them; plus, I think they are definitely cute enough to sell quickly, especially with the added custom embroidery!

DIY jeans to shorts - after

This next pair of jeans-to-shorts is actually an old pair of jeans of mine that I have had for several years but that aren’t exactly in style anymore.  I love the detail on the back pockets, however, so I thought they’d make a great pair of custom shorts!  (Although I totally forgot to take a “before” photo of the full jeans before I started cutting – oops, sorry!)

DIY jeans to shorts - measure & cut

Once again, I started by measuring the inseam length I wanted and added a couple extra inches for creating a new hem.

DIY jeans to shorts - fold hem, pin in place

For this pair, I decided I wanted a smaller rolled hem which I really like the look of; then, I pinned it in place so that I could sew without it coming undone while I worked.  After sewing the sides of each seam with my machine, I ironed it flat and then hand-sewed a quick hidden seam inside the folded hem so it would stay put through everyday wear and washing.  Here is the result:

DIY jeans to shorts - after

And here’s what they look like on:

DIY jeans to shortsDIY jeans to shorts

I am super happy with these shorts; in fact, they might just become my new favorite pair!

Although I like to use my sewing machine and add custom details like embroidery and hidden seams, all you really need is a pair of old jeans and some scissors to create your own DIY jean shorts.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and put your own stamp on your creations – sometimes the best stuff is the result of a happy accident!

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!  :)


If you like this DIY post, check out these trendy tank tops I made from old t-shirts or this sweater I customized with an easy and simple design in yarn!



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  • Christina @ Salt Pepper Brilliant

    Love this post I was just looking at a pair of jeans I wanted to customize! Stop by and say hi :)

    May 31, 2013 at 9:42 am Reply
    • alligatortoe

      Thank you! Absolutely – done and done! I would love to see if you do end up doing any sort of denim makeover! :)

      May 31, 2013 at 11:17 am Reply

    Your comments make my day, let me know what you think! :)

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