Where we come from, it’s not quite shorts weather yet. In fact, we actually have a couple of months before we’ll even be able to take our winter parkas off, let alone start wearing shorts! That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t like to pre-plan for the season change and start picking out the old jeans that we’ll turn into cut offs nice and early. In fact, we start that process around this time of the season every year! By now, it’s like a spring cleaning tradition for us that helps us get hyped up for summer nice and early. We also don’t feel bad getting a jump on DIY summer clothing like this because we know so many people in warmer places that we occasionally get to visit them, and then we do need shorts a little earlier than expected. When we say that we like to make old jeans into cut offs, however, we don’t just mean that we simply cut the legs off our pants and wear them as capris or shorts. We mean that we love to use cut offs as an awesome excuse to get crafty, embellish our clothing, and try all kinds of DIY alterations!
Just in case you love the idea of making spring and summer cut offs just as much as we do and also want to get creative, here are 15 of the best tutorials, designs, and ideas that we’ve come across in our online search so far.
1. Vintage inspired grunge Levi cut offs
Have you actually never made a pair of cut offs before so, even though the process sounds (and is, to be honest) pretty straight forward, you’d like a basic guide just to keep you on track? Then we’d absolutely suggest taking a look at this simple tutorial from Black Rush! They show you not only how to make the cut offs themselves but also how to fray the edges and stylishly weather the shorts a little bit to five them that custom vintage Levi’s inspired look.
2. Lined colour edge cut offs
Are you intent on making jean cut offs but you’re not sure that you want them to be quite so scruffy and worn looking as the ones we showed you above? That’s a fun look at all, but it’s certainly not the only option! Sometimes we’re more in the mood of injecting a bit of a bright colour accent into our wardrobe, so it makes sense that this pretty coloured lined cut offs option from Oh Everything Handmade caught our eye. They show you how to keep the edges clean and add some piping so things look neat and fun.
3. Bleach splatters and studs
Are you quite a big fan of the worn and weathered look but you think that it actually kind of suits regular denim better and the jeans that you really want to cut up this year are black? Then try embellishing them with metal studs and bleach spots to embrace their darker aesthetic instead! Working with metal and bleach might sound a little bit intimidating, but if you get the right kind and you’re very careful, you can quite easily make yours just as awesome as the ones in the picture! Check out how they were made in more detail on My Calico Skies.
4. Hand drawn Aztec print cut offs
Do you quite like the idea of bleaching at least a portion of your shorts but you also think the shorts need a little something more, even though the metal studs we showed you above aren’t quite your thing? Well, if you’ve ever enjoyed hand drawing in any capacity, then we definitely think you should give these Aztec patterned shorts by Pear Mama a try! Even if you’d rather create other designs than this particular geometric pattern, this tutorial will still be useful for learning how the basic steps are done. Make sure your markers are permanent and fabric safe so they don’t wash out or bleed!
5. Boho inspired patchwork cut offs
Are you quite alright with the idea of keeping the edges of your cut offs kind of frayed and worn, but you think you’d rather add some colour and pattern to them rather than distressing the rest of your “new” shorts? Then we’d suggest taking a look at how The Wonder Forest added fun, colourful patches to theirs! We like they they used not only different patterns of fabric but also different shapes and combinations in certain spots, even adding a few embroidered X’s to hammer home the patchwork inspiration. If you really want to nail the Boho chic look, distress a few spots after all but cover them from the inside with colourful patches so the designs show through!
6. Pretty lace trimmed cut offs
Are you actually quite keen on cleaning the new shorts you’re getting out of cutting your jeans up all together so they look as near and tidy as a newly purchased pair of shorts from the store? Them embellishing the edges of the shorts is a great way to hide any fraying that you really can’t get rid of, which is a problem we’ve had before! One of the cutest ways of dressing up messy edges that we’ve ever seen is with a pretty, simple strip of lace, just like you see on these shorts made by One O.
7. Bleach and lace overlay
Were you actually so into the lace idea we showed you above that you’d like to take the concept a step further and involve lots of lace in your finished cut offs? Then perhaps these half bleach dyed and lace applique clad shorts will be a little more your speed! You could certainly add the lace without bleaching the shorts first, but lightening the colour does half the white of the lace show up a little better against the denim. Get the whole process in step by step detail on Pear Mama!
8. Floral lace applique
ARe you pretty intrigued by the lace design we showed you above but you think you’d actually prefer the look of the lace up against blue denim? Perhaps you don’t mind adding a significant amount of lace but you’d rather break it up so it covers a wider portion of the shorts sporadically, rather than concentrating all the lace in one spot. Either way, this tutorial from Love Maegan has exactly the instructions you need to make a design you’ll really love happen!
9. Bleach outlined and hand coloured cut offs
Were you pretty intrigued by the idea of making yourself hand drawn shorts that you designed and embellished with your own artistic skills, but you’d rather add colour than just using black, even though you’re not opposed to the idea of using bleach? In that case, we think perhaps this entirely hand painted tutorial from Crafty Chica is the best option for you! They show you how to trace a floral pattern into the denim with bleach and then how to fill it in with fabric markers until you’ve basically created your own custom fabric.
10. Distressed cut offs with studs
Are you still thinking about how much you loved the studs idea we showed you earlier but you’d rather make that happen on classic denim cut offs, and you think you’d prefer a little more distressing than that particular tutorial showed you? Then maybe you should take a look at this guide featured on Blythe Ponytail Parades instead! They’ve got tips for making all kinds of great looking purposely worn spots using different DIY methods and tools that you might not even have thought of before.
11. Rolled up cut offs with fringed pockets
Have you perhaps already made the cut offs themselves and you’re quite satisfied with the way they turned out… with the exception that you feel like they’re a little too plain? Well, you could distress them, but not every pair of cut offs has to be full of holes! Instead, why not add a little bit of flare around the pockets, like the way Do It Yourself added a double lining of black fringe here! We think these would look great in any colour of fringe you choose.
12. Lace tassel trimmed cut offs
Were you pretty intrigued by the lace trim idea we showed you above but you actually wish it had something a little bit extra to it; something to add some volume around the bottom to complement and play off of the lace in a way? Then perhaps you should consider adding a more tasseled finish to the bottom! You might find lace trim that already has this kind of thing built in but, if not, you can either make it by sewing the trim on and then fraying out half the lace or you can combine two different kinds of trim together. Get tips for either of these options on Katrin Shine!
13. Friendship bracelet lined cut offs
Perhaps you’re still looking for a way to add a simple pop of colour to your summer cut offs but you’d rather have more than one shade, so the piping idea we showed you earlier doesn’t quite cut it? In that case, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at these funny, awesomely DIY shorts featured on Look What I Made! If you’ve ever made colourful friendship bracelets before, like we did for years as kids, then we have a feeling you’ll have just as much nostalgic appreciation for this idea as we do.
14. Bleach polka dot cut offs
Did we really catch your attention with the bleach idea so you’re totally still thinking about it, but you’re not sure you quite have the skills to draw actual shapes and designs in it on your denim? Then maybe you can mimic the effect in a way that’s just a little simpler! We think this polka dot idea is an awesome start to more complicated projects like that! We’ve also just always thought that polka dots are totally adorable in any clothing related project. Find out how simply these dots were made on a pair of cut and finished cut offs on Invisibily.
15. Cut off jeans with fabric hems and side knots
Did you really like the idea of finishing and covering the cut off edges of your new shorts because you’re also making pairs for your kids and you don’t want them wearing distressed denim to school, but you don’t think they’ll be as into the lace ideas we showed you as you were? Then try edging their shorts in a way that’s a little more bright and fun! Make It, Love It shows you how to make it happen with fun designed fabric tacked on like a trim and left a little too long on the outsides so you have a bit to tie in little bows.
Do you know a fellow DIY enthusiast who loves altering clothing and changing their wardrobe in crafty ways to keep up with changing seasons? Share this post with them to help them shake their jeans and denim up before the days get too hot!