Check Out These DIY Cut Off Shorts

Jan Howell
by Jan Howell
7 Materials
1 Hour

Are you looking for your next fashion upcycle? Follow my tutorial and learn all the tricks and tips to this amazing transformation. I took a pair of jeans and refashioned them into an awesome pair of cut off shorts. In this tutorial, I will show you how to create four different hem options for your pair of shorts. You can choose whatever style you like best for your new pair! Learn the tricks to making shorts with a frayed hem, a rolled hem, an outward rolled cuff, or a basic trouser hem. All you need is a pair of pants to kick off this upcycle.

DIY cut off jeans shorts

Tools and materials:

  • Jeans/pants
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Seam gauge 
  • Sewing machine 
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron 
Mark the jeans
Mark the jeans

To get started on this transformation, you need to decide how long you want your new pair of shorts to be. Use a pair you already own to mark the jeans or try them on and pin the legs on yourself to find a length that you’re comfortable with. 

DIY cut off khaki shorts
Cut off and fray

If you choose to use a pair of shorts as a pattern, make sure to line up the crotch of the jeans and the shorts. For the frayed edge, cut just at the bottom of the shorts. If you are using one of the other methods, you will need to leave some extra fabric below your pinned marking or the bottom of your existing shorts. 

Match up the waist

Once you’ve cut off the one leg, fold over the jeans, lining up the waistline. You can then cut off the other leg knowing that the lengths will match. 

Fray the bottoms

To make sure that the shorts don’t fray too high, sew a straight stitch across just a ¼ inch from the edge. Then, using a needle, pull out some of the white threads to create the desired frayed style. 

Make a marking
Create a rolled hem

To create a rolled hem, cut the pants to your desired length. If you use an existing pair of shorts, use a pencil to mark your desired length. 

Add ¾ of an inch

Measure and add ¾ of an inch to your marked line. Then, cut the legs off of the jeans or pants.

Press the fold

To create the rolled hem, fold the shorts upward by ⅜ of an inch and press the fold. Then fold again by another ⅜ of an inch and press again. 

Sew a straight stitch

Hop on over to your sewing machine and sew a straight stitch starting at the inner thigh seam. Clip your threads to get a clean finish. 

DIY shorts cut off
Create an outward rolled cuff

To demonstrate the outward rolled cuff, I used the cut off legs from a pair of jeans. Serge the bottom of the shorts or use a zig-zag stitch. 

Fold over twice

Fold the bottom of the shorts up by an inch and then again by another inch. 

Stitch the cuff

Then, hop on over to your sewing machine and stitch the side seam of the cuff. 

Add onto the bottom
Create a trouser hem

A trouser hem is definitely better suited for lightweight pants as opposed to denim. Mark your desired length and then add an inch and ⅜ to it. Fold the edge inward by ⅜ of an inch and press.

Get a professional finish

Then, fold the bottom up by an inch and press the fold. Sew along the edge of the fold inside and then topstitch to get the perfect, professional finish. If you don’t want to sew a topstitch you can add an invisible stitch which you can learn to do here.

Cut off jeans shorts DIY

It’s so easy to transform jeans into amazing shorts! Which finish is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Pins
See all materials

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 1 comment
  • Ellen Ellen on Jan 07, 2021

    Thanks for posting as I need to shorten a pair of jeans into capris and this post is just what I need. Happy New Year! Stay safe and healthy.