How to Crop Jeans & Make Cute DIY Jean Shorts With a Patchwork Design

9 Materials
30 Minutes

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to crop jeans to make DIY jean shorts. I’m going to show you how to cut off shorts from jeans step by step. So take out those old jeans from your closet that you don’t wear anymore, and let’s begin!

This post was transcribed by a member of the Upstyle editorial team from the original UpstyleTV episode.

Tools and materials:

  • Old jeans
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Iron on patches
  • Fabric glue
  • Old material
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
Marking the jeans with a pin

1. Mark the jeans

Pinch your jeans in the approximate place that you want your cut-offs to be. 

Gauging the length of the shorts

An alternative way to find the right length for your cut-offs is to use a pair of shorts that you wear often. Lay them on top of the jeans with the waistbands lined up to find the right length and then mark with your pin. I can see that I've done a pretty good job. 

Cut-off shorts DIY

2. Cut the jeans

Next, fold the jeans as evenly as you can. Make sure they’ve not creased anywhere so you can cut them as evenly as possible. Don’t forget to check that the legs and waistline are lined up.

Grab your fabric scissors and cut a straight line right across.   

DIY jean shorts ideas

3. Now comes the fun part! 

You could buy iron-on patches and arrange them in whatever order or design you’d like. This will give you that individuality. No one will have cut-off shorts like this. 

Or, you could take any scraps of fabric you’ve saved or have lying around from other projects. Then, cut them up and arrange them in a patchwork pattern. I say go crazy with it. Pin them in place. If you choose to go the no-sew route, you can simply use some fabric glue to stick them in place. Super simple!

Tip: Pull out my pocket to make it easier to arrange the design.

Sewing the patchwork pieces onto the shorts

4. Sew 

I’m going to use my sewing machine. With this type of patchy, patchwork look, I really like to use a freehand sewing technique. Just go for it: zig-zag your way around the design. 

Tip: When I'm doing freehand stitching, I really like to use a contrasting thread. I love how it stands out. 

How to fray the bottom of the shorts

5. Fray the bottom (optional)

To get that really great fray at the bottom of your cut-offs, throw them into the washing machine then cut off any long strands. 

DIY jean shorts

DIY jean shorts

This is such an easy DIY project for any of those old pairs of jeans that you haven't worn in a while, or you really just aren’t feeling, and then transform it quite easily into something that’s more your style. 

Suggested materials:
  • Old jeans
  • Pins
  • Scissors
See all materials

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