cut denim shorts

Guide on Making Cut-Off Denim Shorts

How to Make Denim Cut-Off Shorts

Denim cut-off shorts are a summer staple that never goes out of style. There’s something effortlessly cool about the frayed edges and laid-back vibe they bring to any outfit. 

Instead of spending a fortune on designer shorts, why not try making your own? Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have a custom pair that fits you perfectly. 

In this article, I will guide you through the process of making your own denim cut-off shorts, from choosing the right materials to distressing them for that worn-in look. 

Let’s get started!

Benefits of Making Your Own Denim Cut-Off Shorts

There are several benefits to making your own denim cut-off shorts. 

Firstly, you have complete control over the fit and length. No more searching for the perfect pair in stores only to find that they’re either too tight or too long. By making your own, you can customise the shorts to suit your body shape and personal style. 

Secondly, it’s a great way to unleash your creativity. You can experiment with different distressing techniques, add embellishments, or even paint your own design on the fabric. 

Finally, making your own denim cut-off shorts is a sustainable choice. Instead of contributing to the fast fashion industry, you can repurpose an old pair of jeans and give them a new lease on life.

Materials Needed for Making Denim Cut-Off Shorts

Before you start making your denim cut-off shorts, you’ll need to gather a few materials. 

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • A pair of old jeans: Choose a pair that you no longer wear or one that fits you well but is too long.
  • Scissors: Make sure you have a sharp pair of fabric scissors to ensure clean cuts.
  • Measuring tape: This will come in handy when determining the desired length of your shorts.
  • Chalk or fabric marker: Use this to mark where you want to cut your jeans.
  • If you want to secure the edges of your shorts, you’ll need a sewing machine or a needle and thread.
  • Sandpaper or a cheese grater: This will be used for distressing the denim, giving it that worn and frayed look.
  • Optional: Embellishments such as studs, patches, or fabric paint.

Now that you have all your materials ready let’s move on to the step-by-step guide for making denim cut-off shorts.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Denim Cut-Off Shorts

Follow the procedure below to make your own denim cut-off shorts.

  • Start by trying on your jeans and determining the desired length for your shorts. Use the measuring tape to measure from the waistband down to where you want the shorts to end. Mark this spot with chalk or a fabric marker.
  • Lay your jeans flat on a table or other flat surface. Make sure the legs are aligned and smooth out any wrinkles.
  • Use your scissors to cut straight across both legs of the jeans, following the mark you made in the previous step. Start with a longer length and gradually cut shorter if you’re unsure of the final length you want.
  • Once you’ve made the initial cut, try on the shorts to see if you’re happy with the length. Make any necessary adjustments by cutting off more fabric if needed.
  • If you wish to secure the edges of your shorts, sew a straight stitch along the cut edge with a sewing machine or needle and thread. This will prevent the fabric from fraying too much over time.
  • To distress the denim, use sandpaper or a cheese grater to rub the edges and any other areas you want to distress. This will give your shorts a worn and frayed look. Be careful not to overdo it, as you can always distress more later if needed.
  • Optional: Get creative with embellishments. Add studs to the pockets, sew on patches, or use fabric paint to create your own design on the fabric. Let your imagination run wild!

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Cut and Length

When making denim cut-off shorts, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind to ensure you achieve the perfect cut and length. 

  • Always start with a longer length than you think you want. It’s easier to cut off more fabric if needed, but you can’t add it back once it’s gone. 
  • Take your body shape into consideration when determining the length. If you have shorter legs, you may want to opt for a slightly shorter length to elongate your silhouette. 
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! Denim cut-off shorts are all about expressing your personal style, so have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to make bold choices.

Styling Ideas for Denim Cut-Off Shorts

Now that you’ve successfully made your own denim cut-off shorts, it’s time to style them! 

Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Casual Chic: Pair your shorts with a graphic tee and sneakers for a laid-back yet stylish look.
  • Boho Babe: Combine your shorts with a flowy blouse, a wide-brimmed hat, and ankle boots for a bohemian-inspired outfit.
  • Beachy Vibes: Wear your shorts over your swimsuit and add a floppy hat and sandals for a day at the beach.
  • Edgy Attitude: Team your shorts with a leather jacket, a band tee, and combat boots for a rock ‘n’ roll edge.
  • Classic Cool: Opt for a striped Breton top, ballet flats, and red lips for a timeless, Parisian-inspired ensemble.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Denim Cut-Off Shorts

While making denim cut-off shorts is a relatively simple process, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. 

  • Be cautious when cutting the fabric. Take your time and make sure to follow your markings accurately to avoid ending up with shorts that are too short or uneven. 
  • When distressing the denim, start with a light touch and gradually increase the intensity. It’s easier to distress more, but you can’t undo excessive damage. 
  • Don’t forget to try on the shorts throughout the process to ensure you’re happy with the fit and length. It’s better to make adjustments along the way than to finish the shorts and realize they’re not quite right.


Making your own denim cut-off shorts is a fun and rewarding DIY project. Not only will you have a pair of shorts that fit you perfectly, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you created something with your own hands. 

Follow the step-by-step guide, experiment with distressing techniques, and get creative with embellishments to make your shorts truly unique. Remember to avoid common mistakes, try on the shorts throughout the process, and have fun styling them in various ways. 

So, grab a pair of old jeans and some scissors, and let your creativity soar as you embark on your denim cut-off shorts adventure!