5 Tips for Making the Perfect Cutoff Denim Shorts

Shorts season is fully upon us, so now’s the perfect time to (finally) nail down a pair of denim cutoffs that you've probably been anticipating of adding to your wardrobe. After all, what clothing item screams "summer" more than a pair of the denim shorts? Just thinking of all the cute sandals and tops we'll wear with them gets us giddy.

Luckily, they can be yours in a matter of minutes if you have the right pair of old jeans to work with. Some of you may have tried this before and failed, only to end up ruining a good pair of jeans. Well, you’re not alone. To never fail at this super-simple DIY project, we are sharing five tips that are sure to guide you in the right, “I want her denim shorts” direction.

Keep reading to discover our five essential tips for how to make denim cutoff shorts from an old pair of jeans. We promise it couldn’t be any easier.

1. Buy a pair of jeans two sizes too big.

Next time you hit up your favorite vintage shop, try looking for a pair of jeans that are around two sizes too big. The extra room will create the most flattering and loosely lived-in pair of cutoffs.

2. Remember to measure the inseam.

It’s key to measure the inseam of your denim to determine your best length. You typically want to leave about 3 inches at the inseam, but you can go longer or shorter depending on what works on you. This is where most DIY disasters happen; you quickly chop your jeans without keeping in mind that the inseam needs to be a smidge longer to create a natural and appropriate angled look. So remember: Determine the length of your inseam and then cut at an angle to make the outer seams a bit shorter.

3. Draw your desired hemline with chalk.

It may be tempting to just hack away, but once you’ve figured out your ideal length, use a piece of chalk to draw a guideline for a foolproof even and not-too-long, not-too-short hemline.

4. Create the perfect fray.

Once you are happy with the length of your shorts, it’s time to focus on the fray. This process is simple; all you need to do is run a pair of pinking shears at the edge of your shorts. Voilà! You now have an effortless, perfectly unraveled frayed edge.

5. Wash and dry before wearing. 

Finally, you want to make sure to wash and dry your cool new cutoffs before wearing them. This last step will ensure that your shorts have that covetable vintage vibe. 

If DIY isn't your style, shop some denim cutoff shorts:

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated by Anna LaPlaca.