How to Make Distressed Jean Shorts From Old Jeans

By Anna Liesemeyer

There are so many times when you have a great pair of jeans that get destroyed on the bottom or acquire a stain. Hold onto them to turn them into your best fitting distressed denim shorts!

portrait of a mature couple at the swings
credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Transform well-worn jeans into a pair of distressed denim shorts

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Use chalk to guide your cut.

Step 1

Draw a line with chalk along the pant leg to guide your cut. Make sure you leave a few inches below the crotch seam and cut at an upward angle so it wears evenly.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Ensure your cuts are even with this technique.

Step 2

Cut leg along the line and place on the other pant leg.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Again, use chalk to guide your cut on the opposite pant leg.

Step 3

Re-trace the cut with chalk so that both sides will be evenly cut.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Fray the cut denim with tweezers.

Step 4

Use your hands or tweezers to pull and fray the bottoms. You can fray as much or little as you like. Optional: Spray with fray check to prevent further fraying.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Slice the denim to being the distressing process.

Step 5

Lift the pant leg up and either slide a piece of cardboard underneath or hold the fabric suspended in the air. Make horizontal slices in the denim a quarter to a half inch apart.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Create distressed patches with tweezers.

Step 6

Using your tweezers pull white strands out and apart to create distressed patches. Repeat as desired. You can do short multiple stokes for the distressed lines along the sides.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
After you've distressed the front, you can move on to the back.

Step 7

You can distress the back pockets as well and add more as you go along.

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credit: Gabe Liesemeyer
Now you can wear distressed short shorts.

Step 8

Wear your homemade distressed denim shorts all summer long.