Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DIY Fashion – Jeans into Shorts: A Student’s Dream

Any student across the world will tell you there is just one item in the whole world they need, and most importantly want. What is it? Money. Unless of course Mummy and Daddy are sending the butler round with weekly cheques from the mansion (trust me it happens), there comes a time in every student’s life where he or she finds themselves out of cash and feels as though they would do anything just to have Queen Elizabeth II beam up at them from those crisp notes once more.

It is no surprise then, that when a new season comes along, the fashion conscious amongst us find ourselves in a turmoil of emotions; torn between the excitement of getting a completely new summer wardrobe (even though last year’s is perfectly acceptable) and the ever-present loom of the dreaded minus figures in the bank. It was thus in between considering whether to sell my own body for money or someone else’s, that I decided I could save some beloved cash by just cutting up my old wardrobe.
How To Do It

I have been known to be a bit of a hoarder with my clothes, so luckily I have a few pairs of old jeans lying in the dark, dusty corners of the wardrobe, and today I decided to finally make use of them by turning them into shorts. At first I was a bit wary of cutting up my jeans, especially after hearing horror stories of friends ending up with one leg way longer than the other, or just a piece of frayed denim hanging off their waist Adam and Eve style, but desperate times call for desperate measures and I decided if done properly, I could be saving myself from having to buy expensive shorts this summer. And I am so glad I did. So here are my tips on how to DIY and turn your old wardrobe into a new, fresh one:
Choosing the jeans is important. Try and find an old pair with your desired look, and try and imagine them as shorts. If you think it will work, decide on the length you think will suit them most. I have chosen an old pair of stone-wash denim jeans and I’ve decided to go for an above-the-knee crop.
Always cut a few inches longer than your desired length. If you are going for my style you will need the extra fabric to create the roll-up, but even if you are going for a loose, frayed effect, it is always better to start off longer because once those jeans are cut, there’s no way of adding extra length to them.
It is best to decide on length when the jeans are on. Put them on and mark with a Biro where you want to start the cut (remember a few inches longer than the desired length). Take them off and with a sharp pair of scissors, cut as straight as possible starting from where you have marked them. Don’t worry if they look messy at first, this will be cleaned up later.
You now have several options depending on how you want the shorts to look once you are finished. For a simple roll-up as I have done, just roll twice to hide the messy lines. If they are too long and end up halfway down your knee, simply cut a little more fabric off. If you want a frayed, loose effect, then I find it is easier to cut with blunter scissors. Once cut, use the edge of the scissors or a sharp knife to fray the denim. Alternatively, if you know how, or know someone else that does, you can hem the shorts for a smarter look.
It’s now time to personalise. I have left my shorts pretty plain at this point, but there are several things you can do to add different looks. For a rough, worn effect (goes well with the frayed ends), use sand paper or a cheese grater to go up and down against the fabric and wear it down. For further personalisation, change the buttons or add more stitching to really make the jeans stand out. And voila! You have a new addition to your wardrobe.
My Denim Cut-Offs

Being the enthusiast that I am, and feeling like I was onto my own little project, I didn’t stop there. Using the leftover fabric from what I had cut away, I decided to experiment and try and create my own accessories. I had seen a bracelet in Oxford Street Topman the other week that was merely a piece of frayed denim cut for the nautical/beach look. So feeling inspired, I used the fabric I had left and cut about a centimetres width of fabric off of the bottom, ensuring it was fraying with my blunt scissors. Then I simply tied it round my wrist, using the knot as a focus point, and cut down the excess ends. Here is what I ended up with [below right], I feel it ‘ties’ up the outfit nicely! (Oh yes I said it).

So here are some images of how mine turned out:

And why stop there? You could create a neck-tie or ankle bracelet the same way, the possibilities are endless! Just don’t end up looking like the denim monster threw up all over you.
Outfit Inspiration

As always, here are a few images of how the guys on are rocking their very own cut-offs:

I hope this post was helpful and has inspired you to grab the scissors and get going on those old jeans. Happy cutting!
If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on twitter at

Tom Bloomfield

from here