DIY denim shorts | Easy & vintage-inspired

Wearing a Backbite bodysuit made from a recycled vintage t-shirt

Instead of spending a fortune on a pair of cutoffs designed to look vintage, I prefer to make my own! I’ve always been pretty thrifty (it runs in the family!), so I am a pro at finding a pair of authentic old-school denim at a bargain.

A year ago, I snagged these faded, baggy jeans at an estate sale for just $10; they were impossible to pass up even though they are super loose on me. (If you’re petite like me, you know how hard it is to find vintage jeans that fit a 25-inch or 26-inch waist.) I did wear them plenty of times as full-length jeans (very Jane Birkin), but I decided it’s time to cut them into shorts.

When it comes to shorts–especially denim shorts–I always go for oversized styles. Tight shorts just aren’t flattering on anyone in my opinion, no matter how killer your legs are! So, this really is the perfect pair to turn into cut-offs.

I’ve had my eye on One Teaspoon’s long denim shorts since the beginning of springtime, and they were the main inspiration behind this pair I created myself. They are cut at an angle and longer in the back, giving them a cool asymmetrical look.

You’ll need:

  • A pair of baggy jeans
  • Fabric scissors
  • Safety pins

Step 1

Lay the jeans flat and create a small (approximately 1 inch) incision on the outseam. The incision should cut through both the front and the back of the jeans. Be sure to cut diagonally, keeping the shorts shorter towards the outseam and longer towards the inseam.

Step 2

Use your hands to tear the remaining portion of the leg off completely. This allows of optimal fraying. You may need to use the scissors when you reach the inseam.

Step 3

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 on the opposite leg.

Step 4

Where desired, roll the newly frayed hems 3 to 4 times and fasten with safety pins. I like to pin mine in the back, and let the front side unroll naturally, or vice versa.

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