DIY: Denim Shorts from Levi Jeans (cuffed)

Posted on Thursday, 1 August 2013

I have cut up old jeans before in a whim to make my own shorts.. A lack of planning meant the 'shorts' came out looking not-so-great. This time I decided to prepare and plan before hacking into my jeans, this post will share with you my process & tips for successful DIY shorts.

Part 1: Cutting
Jeans (I used a pair of Levi denim jeans which stretch and become too
 baggy at the legs after a few hours of wear)
Fabric pencil (or just a white pencil)
Instructions (that's what the sticky note is)
Step 1: Fold jeans in half and ensure all parts are aligned. Find the crotch and measure 10cm down from where the crotch starts. Mark this point with your pencil.
Step 2: Place ruler horizontally in line with the mark. Draw a stippled line. Try on jeans so you can see where the leg will be cut. Remember we want it longer so there is extra length for cuffing. Also, it's better to be too long than too short. Now cut the top leg of the jeans along the stippled line. Make sure not to cut the bottom leg yet. If you are planning on cuffing the shorts, it doesn't really matter how neat the cut  is but try to keep a straight line on the pencil mark.
Step 3: Use the leg that you cut to measure out where you need to cut the bottom leg. Draw a line with your pencil and cut the bottom leg.
That is Part 1:Cutting complete. Try your shorts on now to see the length. If the length seems long remember it takes a few cm off when cuffing. If you don't want to cuff your shorts you can use tweezers to pull out the threads or throw them in the wash to fray. 

Part 2: Cuffing
This part requires basic hand sowing skills**(can be substituted by using fabric glue where I stitched)
Needle and thread
Step 1: Fold the bottom of the shorts over once to desired width. I had no specific measurement for this. Iron down the first cuff so that it stays like this. Fold a second cuff and iron down again. Make sure to iron on the inside and outside seams as these easily lift up. 
Step 2: Using your needle and thread (colour to match the denim), make a basic stitch in the hem starting from the bottom. Loop the stitch to the inside of the cuff so that you cannot see it on the shorts. Keep doing this until stitch is secure then tie a knot and cut thread.
The image below shows what the stitch looks like from the inside of the jeans.
I kept doing this step on both legs inside and outside cuffs and also on the top and bottom middle. See the image below: each red circle indicates where a stitch was made. It is not necessary to make as many stitches as I did, but I do not like when my cuffs come undone and look sloppy therefore I did it this way.

I'd love to see if anyone tries this tutorial - please link your blog or a photo in the comments. Any feedback is welcome as well.