Saturday, April 20, 2013

D.I.Y. Denim

This year, more than ever, the DIY-inspired, "festival" trend seems to have been kicked into high gear. And when I think of the festival-style must-haves, distressed denim shorts top the list.

So here is an easy and cheap way to create your own distressed denim shorts.

1. Buy "mom jeans."

I hate the term mom jeans, but basically all you are looking for is a classic pair of high-wasted, cotton (non-stretch) jeans. I bought these medium-wash 505 Levis for $4 at my local Goodwill. 

2. Hack off the legs.

I recommend cutting the jeans a tinsy bit longer than you normally would, as the distressing takes up a bit of length. 

3. Wash them.

(Does this require a picture?)

4. Cut horizontal slits where you want distressed patches.

These slits will become your distressed points. Cut two or three slits at each desired spot, with about a half of an inch between them. The slits themselves shouldn't be longer than 2 or 3 inches.

Note: Make sure you consider where the distressing will show up on your body. Obviously, some places are more appropriate than others.

Note 2: Another great way to add natural looking distress is to take your scissors and carefully run the blade back and forth over the edges of pockets, the fly area, belt loops, or where ever else you want it.

5. Wash again. 

This is where the distressing happens, as the slits and raw edges will unravel. On this wash, I added bleach to lighten the fabric a bit and to make the denim fibers a bit softer.

6. Pick at your jeans.

The distressed patches may not come out completely distressed. To aid in this process, take a safety pin or a sewing needle and pull the white (horizontal) strings apart from the blue (vertical) fibers.

 You will remove fibers that look like this:

7. Wear 'em!

With perfectly distressed (oxymoron?) jean shorts often running over $100 at trendy retailers, I completely recommend trying to make your own. It's fast, easy, and fun, and the best part is you are left with a true vintage classic for all of your summer BBQs, day-dates, and yes, festivals.

Til next time.


  1. So cute! These look GREAT, especially on you! What a useful tutorial. They really look like expensive stressed jeans you'd buy at one of the pricey boutiques.

    1. Thank you!! It's easy as pie, and cheaper!


  2. I like it!