Sewing Tutorial: Classic Designer Cut-Off Shorts

Sewing Tutorial How to repurpose outgrown designer jeans into classic cut-off shortsThe temperatures are quickly on the rise here in Tucson. We've already had a few days in the 90's. So, it's officially shorts weather. Of course, the warmer weather prompted my daughter to head to the mall and buy herself a new pair of shorts from one of her favorite stores.

When I saw the classic cut off shorts she bought, I had to cringe a bit from sticker shock, especially since she had just gotten rid of a pair of jeans that were too short for her. When I asked her if she realized that I could make her an identical pair of shorts from her cast-off jeans she looked at me in complete surprise.

So, I grabbed a pair of scissors and her outgrown jeans from my fabric stash and set to work.


  • one pair of outgrown jeans
  • scissors
  • quilting grid ruler
  • fabric marking pen
  • basic sewing supplies (optional)


How to make cut-offs with a rolled hem Here are the brand new shorts my daughter purchased.
Now let's create the same thing, with an old pair of jeans.
The most important part of making cut-off jeans is ensuring that both sides are the same length. Use a ruler or quilter's grid and a disappearing fabric pen to mark the desired inseam on each leg. Remember to make your inseam a little longer if you are going to use a rolled cuff.

My inseam is six inches. That's a little longer than the original store shorts because I hate short shorts as much as I hate high prices.
Next, draw a line, perpendicular to the inseam, at the desired length on both legs.
Now, cut across the line.
Since the original shorts had stitching along the bottom edge, I decided to do the same to prevent the fabric from fraying. I used an elastic overlock stitch, but a basic zig zag or even a straight stitch would be fine.

If you don't want to roll the hem, it's fine to just leave the cut edge frayed. It will unravel a bit during the first few washes, so you may need to trim any long threads, but it creates it's own classic, relaxed, summer look.
Now, my nearly six foot tall daughter is searching her closet for other jeans and pants she may have outgrown and it's likely I'll be making a couple more pairs of these shorts!

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The Chilly Dog: Sewing Tutorial: Classic Designer Cut-Off Shorts
Sewing Tutorial: Classic Designer Cut-Off Shorts
Sewing Tutorial: How to repurpose a pair of outgrown jeans to create a pair of classic designer cut-off shorts.
The Chilly Dog
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