DIY Cutoff Shorts: Ideas, Variations and How-To Tips

DIY cutoff shortsCutoff shorts are everywhere this season.  Like most frugal fashionistas,  it pains me to pay full retail price for them – so I don’t!    Instead, head to your local Goodwill and make your own pair for a fraction of the cost.  Plus, you can create a look custom-made to your specifications.

DIY Cutoff Shorts

First off, look for jeans that fit your waist and rear-end.  Since you’ll be changing the basic look of them, the fit in that area is the most important factor in your buying decision.  Length is irrelevant, which is nice for us short gals.  Pay attention to colored tags at Goodwill.  The day I was there, any green tag item was just $1.49.

DIY Cutoff Shorts | #DIY

Use chalk to mark where you’d like the hem of your shorts to be.  I used a pair I already like as a pattern and guide.  Pay careful attention to the length of the inseam, making sure it is equal on both sides.

DIY Cutoff Shorts | #DIY

Also, make sure the angle is the same on both sides by measuring the length from waist to hem.  Make sure it is the same on both sides (a tape measure or ruler comes in handy).  Always add a little bit extra for the fraying.  You can always cut off more later if necessary.

DIY Cutoff Shorts | #DIY

Use a sharp scissors to cut the legs off at the chalk line.

Wash and dry.

Wash and dry.

DIY Cutoff Shorts | #DIY

Trim stray threads.  You’re good to go!

Other ways to customize your DIY cutoff shorts:

  • Use an Exacto Knife to create tears in the fabric to give your shorts the “destroyed” look.  Don’t cut the fabric all the way through, just partially. Note:  This won’t look just right until they are washed and begin to fray.
  • Add lace at the hem for a feminine, trendy touch
  • Use embroidery floss on the pocket seams to give them a designer look
  • Use bleach to lighten the denim
  • RIT fabric dye can also be used for coloring your jeans, either in a solid color or ombre look


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