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How To Cut Knee Holes In Jeans?

From Hollywood celebs to fashion influencers, knee holes in jeans have become a style statement for the past couple of years. And if you are bored of your old jeans, knee holes are the trendiest makeover you can give them. 

Yes, you read that right! Why spend more money to buy denims with knee holes or rips when you can easily do it yourself and get the look you want? You don’t even need to be a sewing expert to rip your jeans. Just follow the steps and tips mentioned below and get started. 

How To Cut Knee Holes In Jeans?

There are two methods to cut knee holes in jeans. You can either cut an easy and simple horizontal slit, or you can make square holes in the knee region. You will need basic supplies like chalk/pen, cardboard, craft blade, and jeans. Then, select your jeans and mark the area where you want to cut. Afterward, place cardboard inside the pant legs and below the knee to start cutting. Cut along the mark but not too close to the seams because the cuts enlarge as you wear the denim. 

Method 1: Cutting An Easy Horizontal Slit 

If you are going for a subtle look, just a basic horizontal slit would do the job. Here are the things you will need and the method you’ll have to follow. 

Materials needed: 

  • Jeans 
  • Craft blade 
  • Cardboard 
  • Pen or chalk 

Procedure to follow: 

Step 1: Mark the place to make the holes 

Find a pair of well-fitted jeans. Then, start by putting your jeans on and mark the place on the knees where you want those holes to be. Use a chalk piece or a pen to draw one horizontal line right across the knee. Also, you can do this on just one knee, or you can do that for both the knees. 

You might even create two three slits on both the knees. A good idea would be to choose skinny or fitted jeans that have faded in that knee zone already. 

Step 2: Preparing to start ripping into the jeans 

Take your jeans off and put a cardboard piece in the leg. Also, make sure that the cardboard piece is slid all the way so that it reaches below the knee. It will ensure that the craft blade does not cut through the back layers of the fabric. You can skip the cardboard in case you don’t have the craft blade. 

Step 3: Start cutting through the marked line 

Now, cut right across the drawn line, while stopping an inch between the seams. Remember not to cut all the way from one seam to another. Jeans tend to rip more on their own and it gives a more natural and authentic look to the hole. 

It is okay to leave over an inch between the edges of that slit and the seams. In case you don’t have craft blades, you can use a pair of fabric scissors for cutting the slit. 

Step 4: Keep ripping through your jeans 

If you want, you can fray the edges using a nail file or sandpaper. Also, keep that cardboard inside the pants while doing this. You can run a piece of sandpaper or a nail file over the edges and in the hole. 

How much you rip the jeans depends on the kind of effect you want. Now, the longer the fabric is filed or sanded, the more it is going to fray.  

Step 5: Make holes on the other leg 

At this point, remove the cardboard because the hole is complete. Then, repeat the process on the other pant leg to make the other holes. These holes can all be of the same size or you can make them a bit larger or smaller. 

Step 6: Wash your jeans for further impact 

If you want your jeans to have more of a distressed look, you can wash them. Also, remember that the hole is going to fray more gradually as you wash the jeans and keep wearing it. In case you do not plan to wait, simply machine wash before drying the jeans. It will fray those raw edges and get them a more natural, softer look. 

Moreover, check out the washing instructions on the jeans to figure out the cycle setting and temperature you need to use. Also, most jeans will need cold water. 

Method 2: Making Square Holes In the Knee Area 

If you want an edgier look, you can make square holes in the knee area. Read on to know more about the materials required and process to be followed. 

Materials needed: 

  • Jeans 
  • Craft blade or scissors 
  • Cardboard (for craft blade) 
  • Pen or chalk 
  • Tweezers 

Procedure to follow: 

Step 1: Choose the jeans that you want to cut 

Though you get to use any type of jeans you prefer, fitted or skinny jeans will get you better results.  

However, when the plan is to make the hole look more real, go for a pair that is already faded and old and has some discoloration in the knee region. 

Step 2: Create marks over the knee region 

Then, create two parallel and horizontal marks over the knees. Also, these lines can be of any length that you want, though they make them equal. You can make the marks as far apart as you want depending on how big the hole has to be. So, make the hole bigger by putting the marks further apart from one another. 

You can use a chalk piece for darker fabrics and a pen for the lighter ones. Remember to use chalk for darker fabrics and pen for lighter ones. Leave nearly an inch of space between the edges of these lines and the seams of the pants. 

Step 3: Start cutting the jeans after putting cardboard inside 

Now, you can take your jeans off and place a cardboard piece inside if necessary. Afterward, spread out your jeans on a flat surface before tucking a cardboard sheet inside the pant legs. Make sure the cardboard sits right behind the knee. It will help to ensure that the blade doesn’t cut through to the back of those pants. 

You can skip the cardboard if you plan to cut the jeans using scissors. 

Step 4: Cut across the marks you have made 

It is time to cut right across those marks you made, while leaving a fabric strip between them. Then, you can cut through the marks with a craft blade or scissors. Make sure that you do not cut through those side seams. Also, when you put a cardboard piece into the jeans, remember to get it out once you’re done. 

You will only cut two horizontal, parallel slits, and not an actual square hole. 

Step 5: Pull out the threads between those slits 

After this, you need to pull out those blue threads from between those slits. Right after cutting along the lines, you will get a fabric scrap between the slits. Then, use a tweezer to hold the blue threads and gently pull those out. After you are done, you will get a couple of white threads right between the slits. 

But remember not to pull any thread below or above the slits. Moreover, don’t pull out the horizontal threads because that is going to elongate the hole. Allow the threads to break naturally. 

Step 6: Wash your jeans for further impact 

If you want your jeans to have more of a distressed look, you can wash them. Also, remember that the hole is going to fray more gradually as you wash the jeans and keep wearing it. In case you do not plan to wait, simply machine wash before drying the jeans. 

Moreover, check out the washing instructions on the jeans to figure out the cycle setting and temperature you need to use. However, most jeans will need cold water. 

Tips to cut knee holes in jeans 

  1. Select the jeans that you have already worn or something that has a fade or light wash right down the front. It will make the hole have a more natural look. 
  2. For something that looks really cool and casual, go for skinny jeans ending at the ankle, instead of baggy, boot cut, or flared jeans. 
  3. Make those holes than you intend because it will go larger gradually on its own as you keep on wearing the jeans. 
  4. When you do not want the holes to look bigger, put a couple of stitches on either side of the hole. 
  5. Reinforce the hole’s sides by putting an iron-on denim patch on the inside of your pant legs. It will ensure the holes do not get too big. 



Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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