How to Cut Jeans, From Shorts to Frayed Hems

Getty | Viktar Savanevich

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, it's the perfect time to start scouting new trends and styling spring wardrobe essentials — specifically, jeans. With every season comes a handful of new trendy denim looks — but sometimes our wallets aren't able to support our dream wardrobe additions. So, what's the next best thing? Revamping your own closet by learning how to cut jeans and how to fray the bottom of jeans.

Indeed there are so many different ways to style that old pair you haven't been wearing recently — and cutting your jeans is a fresh, stylish option. Not only is it a fun way to spice up your closet, it's cost-effective as you can create completely new pieces of clothing without spending extra money.

Though cutting jeans in general or cutting them into shorts sounds complicated — and even feels risky — it's actually easier than you think. There are just a few basic guidelines and tips to keep in mind. For example, you don't want to cut your jean shorts too short, or make your frayed edges look uneven and unruly.

Once you learn expert tips on how to cut jeans, you'll be ready to give every piece of denim in your closet a new look. From creating the perfectly distressed pair of shorts to fraying the edges of your favorite low-rise jeans, a few strategic directions will have you DIY cutting your jeans like a pro. Follow the tips on how to cut jeans below, and you'll quickly see your dream wardrobe come to life.

How to Cut Jeans
Getty | Willowpix

How to Cut Jeans

Though cutting jeans can seem intimidating, it's totally doable if you follow a few easy steps.

First, you'll want to try your jeans on. Fold the hem of one leg underneath and safety pin it to your desired length. You can try styling it with other pieces and different types of shoes to make sure you truly like the length.

Once it's pinned, take the jeans off and lay them on a flat surface. Grab another pin or fabric chalk to mark the desired length. Then, it's time for the big chop. Fabric scissors will get you a cleaner cut, but any sharp pair of shears will work. Just cut straight across the line you've marked, and the first leg is done.

Now, fold your jeans in half, so the freshly cut leg is on top of the other. Take your pin or chalk, and use the first leg length as a guide for your second. Once you've marked the second leg, cut it straight across.

How to Fray the Bottom of Jeans
Getty | Edward Berthelot

How to Fray the Bottom of Jeans

If you're looking for an edgier look, you can fray the bottom of your jeans. You'll start by using the same method as the clean cut, making sure that your jeans are at your desired new length and the leg length is even.

Once you've cut both legs, you'll want to pull out a couple loose strings. You can do this with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. Once you've pulled out a couple, grab a fork and start to run the edges horizontally across the bottom of the pants — pulling out more white frays.

As you see more white, start to pull out those frays with your fork vertically, elongating the frays to make them look more distressed. Keep doing this until you've got your desired frayed look, and do the same on the other leg.

The nice thing about the edgy, distressed look is that it doesn't have to be clean. You can keep pulling out those frays until you're happy with the final look.

How to Cut Jeans Into Shorts
Getty | Vitria Silva

How to Cut Jeans Into Shorts

Now with the warmer weather, you may feel inclined to not only crop your jeans, but to fully transform them into shorts. It's a very similar process to cutting jeans; you'll just be chopping more fabric this time.

Start out by pinning or marking where you want to cut. You'll want to mark a little below where you'll want the shorts to land, taking into account excess fabric that might get cut off, or the possibility of cuffed shorts.

Once you've marked one leg, fold your jeans in half and cut both legs at the same time. Cut the jeans with the inseam facing you, and cut at a slight angle, moving your scissors upward as you reach the outer edge of the legs, but straightening out right before you make the final cut. This will ensure that the back edges are even as well.