How to Cut Old Jeans Into the Perfect Pair of Denim Shorts

Et voilà! Slip into your new shorts, grab yourself a frozen treat, and bask in this glorious summer weather.
Photo: Sarah Balch

If you've been searching for the perfect pair of denim shorts but can't find one that's quite your style, perhaps it's time to head to your closet. You likely already own jeans that you're willing to part with, which can easily be DIY'd into celeb-worthy cut-offs.

Cutting jeans into shorts isn't exactly hard, but at the same time, it's not as easy as it looks. Without taking certain things into consideration, such as exact measurements, you might end up with lopsided legs and an endless cycle of trimming, eventually leaving you with something slightly shorter than originally planned.

Ahead, we'll take you through all five steps for cutting jeans into shorts. Not only is this a more sustainable and affordable option, as opposed to buying new, you'll likely get great use out of this summer staple for the next few months.

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What You Need to Cut Jeans Into Shorts

What You'll Need
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  • A pair of jeans you want to cut into shorts
  • Chalk
  • A ruler
  • Fabric scissors (not kitchen or craft scissors)
  • Sandpaper
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Step 1: Take Measurements

Step 1
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  • First, slip on your jeans and use chalk to mark your desired length. Pro Tip: it's easiest to make the mark along the inseam.
  • Take off your jeans and lay them on a flat surface.
  • For the most flattering hemline, make a second mark at a one- or two-inch diagonal on the other side of the leg.
  • Connect the two marks on each side with the chalk. Use your ruler for help.
  • To ensure both legs are symmetrical, measure the length from the inseam and from the waistline, helping you pinpoint where you should mark on the opposite leg.
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Step 2: Start Cutting

Step 2
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Cut along the chalked, angled line with fabric scissors.

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Step 3: Time to Distress

Step 3
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Tease out loose denim fibers with your finger.

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Step 4: Use the Sandpaper

Step 4
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Brush your sandpaper along to edge to further fray your hem.

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Step 5: Wear Them

Et voilà! Slip into your new shorts, grab yourself a frozen treat, and bask in this glorious summer weather.
Sarah Balch

Now, you're left with the length you wanted and a go-to piece for plenty of summer outfits — not to mention some bragging rights when people ask where you got your shorts from.

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