How To Cut Jeans To Make Them Ripped

You can always hit the shops looking for the perfect pair of ripped jeans. But the issue with buying ripped denim is that you don’t get a say in the position of the rips. It means that the placement, scope, and size of the tears might not be to your liking. As such, some people like airy, big tears while others want neat rips on their thighs or subtle scuffing around their pockets.  

So, the best solution for you is to find out ways to rip your jeans yourself. This way you can get it ripped as much as you want and wherever you want. 

How To Cut Jeans To Make Them Ripped?

First off, you need to select the jeans you want to rip. Your best bet is to use an old denim to get that distressed look, though you can also go for new ones. Then, get your supplies ready, such as a sharp knife, pumice stone, cheese grater, etc. After that, choose the area you want to rip and how much you want to rip. Use your tools to rip through that part. You can choose to reinforce the sides of the rip to prevent further tears. 

Cutting jeans to make them ripped is a simple nine-step process. Let’s take you through the process to give your jeans a brand-new look. 

Step 1: Gather All The Supplies 

Basically, all you require to rip up the jeans is something sharp and a pair of jeans. Based on the type of style you are looking for you will need a sharp tool that fits the job. So, here are the two scenarios to consider: 

  • When you plan to make holes, use a sharp knife, razor, or a pair of scissors to rip the jeans. Even box cutters can help to get the work done. 
  • When it comes to creating a frayed look, you can use a cheese grater, pumice stone, sandpaper, or steel wool. 

Step 2: Select The Pair Of Jeans That Are Well-fitted 

You need to select the kind of jeans that fit you nicely. You can rip any pair of jeans to get the same results. However, you do not have to rip any new pair of jeans. You can also try ripping cheap, comfortable jeans brought from any local or secondhand shop. 

Also, using the pair of jeans that you have already worn is going to give you way better results than using a brand-new pair. But if you are keen on using new jeans, you can go for that as well. 

Typically, light to medium wash denims look good when it is ripped because the color gives it a ripped and distressed look. The dark washed jeans seem way too fresh to be distressed and ripped. It may not appear realistic. 

Step 3: Choose And Mark The Spot To Start Ripping 

Start by laying the jeans flatly on your table. Then, use your chalk or pencil to mark those places you plan to tear. After that, use a ruler and mark the exact length that you want. So, remember the ultimate length and the shape and width you want in the holes. 

Though you can utilize a pen or pencil to mark those lines, your safest bet is to go for a chalk because that is the least likely to cause mistakes. Even if you mess up the lines made in chalk, you will only need a bit of water to wash it all out. 

Also, most people just want to rip around the knees of the pants, although you can put a tear at any place around the pant legs. In fact, it is best to go a bit higher above the knees so that the tear does not get really big as you move around. Your knee might catch that hole each time you bend and end up ripping it more than intended. 

But do not rip too high because your underwear will start showing. 

Step 4: Spread The Jeans Out Again To Start Ripping 

Get a small wooden block and insert that in the pant legs as you do the ripping. The wooden block is the safety measure to ensure that you do not end up altering both the back and the front of the pants. 

Otherwise, you can even go for a cutting board, a stack of papers, or an old book – just about anything that you’re okay with cutting. Just do not start doing it over the kitchen table using sharp knives because that will leave scratches. 

Step 5: Use Sandpaper To Start Fraying Your Jeans 

Before you begin cutting up your jeans, you can use the steel wool or sandpaper to begin rubbing and thin out the places that you plan to distress or rip up. It helps in loosening the jeans fibers and makes the fabric easier to distress and rip out. 

It is a good idea to use different kinds of tools. As such, you can alternate between the use of a pumice stone, steel wool, and sandpaper if you can collect everything. It might take some time based on how thick your jeans are. 

Now, you can go ahead if you would rather cut up your jeans as it is. There is no reason to weaken the jeans if you do not want the frayed look. 

Step 6: Loosen Up The Fibers To Make More Holes 

When you want more stringy patches and frayed areas in the jeans, you can use your knife or scissors to tug at the parts that you have weakened using the sandpaper. It will help to loosen the fibers in that area, letting a bit of skin be visible while wearing. Then, you can pull the white threads sticking out from your jeans to encourage the look. 

Step 7: Add A Few Holes In The Jeans Using Scissors Or Knife 

Take a scissor and cut a small part right inside the distressed part. Also, make it as small as you can. There is always an option to make it bigger, but you might ruin the jeans and make it unwearable when the hole is too big from the start. So, make sure the tear is not bigger than about half-inch. 

For a natural look, make the rip right across the body, instead of up and down. 

Step 8: Rip The Jeans Further Using Your Hands 

Ripping your jeans will cause fibers to tear and make the hole look like a real one. So, tug at those threads to get them pulled out a bit as you would do with natural rips. Make sure you do not cut the hole excessively because this will give an unnatural and clean edge to your fabric. 

The other alternative is to just cut a small hole and let it grow while wearing the jeans. You might prefer the natural look you get this way. 

Step 9: Reinforcing The Ripped Parts (Optional) 

You can reinforce the jeans if you want. So, you will have to sew right around the perimeter of the hole if you want the holes to not get bigger. Per se, you can use either a blue or white-colored thread to start sewing around the rip by a sewing machine or by hand. But feel free to skip this step if you want those rips to grow gradually over time. 

What Exactly Are Ripped Jeans? 

Take the regular jeans and put a couple of fades, frays, scrapes, shreds, and rips to it. And your ripped jeans are ready! Though it is hard to tell who began the ripped jeans style, it was one of the crucial parts of the grunge movement. However, at present, they have completely taken over the casualwear scene. In fact, from jackets, shorts, to jeans – you name it and you’ll find it’s ripped version! 

Will It Help If You Wash The Jeans Before Ripping? 

Washing your jeans does not help with the ripping specifically, but it might help you get the look you want. For the actual ‘aged’ appearance and in order to rough up the fibers before you get started, make sure your denim gets a few washes.  

You can add a bit of bleach to your wash if you want to break down the color a bit. Just remember that you are not supposed to throw other clothes in the machine along with your jeans and bleach. 

How Can I Enhance The Look Of My Ripped Jeans? 

If you want to enhance the look of your ripped jeans, you can try fraying the edges. You will have to cut the ends of your jeans a bit and start removing the threads using a tweezer to get the frayed look. 




I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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