Thursday, May 8, 2014

DIY: Denim Shorts from Dad Jeans

Summer is upon us, and for girls, that means one thing: less clothing.

I don't mean that in a dirty or mean way or anything, but if you think about it, it's true. Shorter shorts, shorter sleeves, even your shoes show more skin (aka sandals haha).

Something that has always been a classic is the denim short. The style of denim shorts that are most commonly worn (and wanted) by women/girls are cut-off shorts, otherwise known as Daisy Dukes. If you didn't know already, Daisy Dukes are basically any kind of cut-off shorts, usually made from jeans.

That brings me to today's DIY: Denim Shorts from Dad Jeans!

My dad is very small, standing only at 5'3", so naturally that would mean that he has a small body frame as well. I was looking through his clothes one day (I wear some of my dad's clothes) and stumbled upon an old pair of Levi's. He said he didn't wear them anymore so I took them for myself to turn into shorts after seeing if they fit me!

Tip #1: So if you want to create cut-offs like these, it's best to start with a pair of old jeans, whether they were your parents' jeans or you found them at a thrift store. You don't want to go out and buy a new pair of pants only to ruin them. That's a waste of money, and if you get the jeans used, there's always that sense of vintage flair that everyone is looking for these days.

What you need: 
+ Old jeans from your parents or the thrift store or even your own
+ Scissors
+ Tailor's chalk (or Sharpie)
+ A ruler or straight edge

Step #1: Take your old jeans (like pictured above) and try them on. You should already know if they fit you or not, but put these on to see where the jean hits your legs and so that you can get an idea of where you want to cut and how short you want these jeans to go.

Step #2: Now this step, I didn't get exactly right the first time, but mark the length you want to cut your shorts at with some tailor's chalk if you have it (if you don't have it, that's fine; I used a Sharpie, but be careful to cut so you don't see the lines if you use it). Use a ruler or straight edge to make the line diagonal--when you wear the shorts, they will look straight across because of the way the shorts fall on your legs (plus you need some adequate coverage on your inner legs, haha).

Step #3: After this step, my shorts were still a little long because I was debating if I should fold over the bottoms or just leave them as cut-offs. Folding over the legs were too tight on my thighs so I decided to keep them as cut-offs and repeat step #2 and shorten the shorts a little bit.

Tip #2: If you are unsure of the length you want your shorts to be, it is always better to cut it long rather than short! That way you have room for error! Because I was working with men's jeans, parts of the jeans were a little more difficult to work with... if you know what I mean.

Step #4: When you mark the shorts to make them the final length you'd like for them to be, make sure that you leave the back of the shorts a little longer (like in the photo) so that your butt is covered enough. I know that most girls like their shorts super short, but honestly you don't need your butt cheeks hanging out.

Tip #3: If you'd like to add character to your shorts, expose the pockets and mess up the threads at the bottom hems of your shorts and let some of it hang out! But if you are exposing your pockets, make sure not to accidentally cut the pockets!

Once you've distressed/cut the shorts to the way that you like them, then you're finished!

Now you have a classic piece of clothing that is versatile in any wardrobe! On top of that, it is vintage and you made it yourself too! 

What has your experience been with DIY-ing your own shorts? I'd love to read about your experiences below!

Good luck!


  1. I DIY-ed a similar pair from old men's jeans. I made them roll-ups though.

    ♥Emma, from It's Emma Elise

  2. Cool! I have old jeans that I could do this with. Thanks for the idea!

  3. In a few years my daughter will totally be doing this with her daddy's old jeans :) Great tutorial!

  4. Awesome! I want to make myself some roll-up shorts sometime this summer too! Hopefully I can find a pair that fits my thighs well enough to do so.

  5. You should definitely do it! Hope this helps [:

  6. Aww, that is so cute! Thank you!

  7. Oh my goodness! Amazing! You did such an awesome job on these. I want to make some!

  8. Thank you so much! This is a great DIY for the summer!

  9. wow! loved it :) you did a great job.


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