How To Cut Pants Into Shorts

Shorts are the ultimate expression of comfort and cool. And now you can use your pants to turn them into your brand-new pair of shorts.

How many times has this happened that you have an absolutely favorite pair of denims that have started fraying a little at its hem? Or, maybe you have worn that pair way too many times and got bored of it. There is one solution to both these problems: cut up your pants and turn them into shorts.

The best part is that turning your pants into shorts is super easy. Read on to know all the ways for you to cut your pants into all kinds of shorts.

How To Cut Pants Into Shorts?

You need to cut your pants across instead of straight to get a better fit. After this, make sure to wear the pants once to see if that fits and both the pant legs look evenly cut. Next, you can design your cut shorts in any way that you want. You can run a razor along the sides to create fringes along the edge. You can cut slits and take out threads from there to get ripped shorts. Moreover, you can try out these techniques to cut your pants with both regular and skinny jeans.

How To Cut Jeans Into Shorts With Fringe?

Denim shorts look really cool, and you can make them for yourself from your old jeans this way:

Step 1: Select An Old Jeans

You will have to select a denim that is one size larger than the normal size. It will make sure that the fringe shorts have a comfortable and relaxed fit. Generally, fringed shorts come in a hip-slung, loose fit. But if you are looking for a form-fitted look, it is better to choose normal-sized jeans.

Also, you can go for wider or boxer leg options, like boyfriend, girlfriend, and straight-legged jeans. In fact, old skinny denim can also be used for getting a tight, biker shorts look. It is better not to go for stretchy denim because the fit will be too tight to look good.

Step 2: Start Adjusting The Length

You cannot cut up your jeans based on assumption. It is important to try your denim on and take a look in your mirror to decide your shorts’ length. After all, you don’t want them to be too short, right? And looking in the mirror is how you avoid mishaps like that!

Use a marker to point out how short you want your shorts to look like. Now you can be assured that your shorts will not be too short or too long. 

Now, you need to mark the cutting line. It is important to cut the pants a tad bit longer than the final product has to be so that there is enough room for error and make fringes to the desired length. Moreover, if you want bigger back coverage, the line has to be at least half an inch down your leg such that the shorts have longer back coverage.

Step 3: Cutting Along Your Marked Line

Use scissors to cut along the outer seam of the pants and along the previously-marked chalk line. After you’ve cut the denim all the way, start folding it in half to make sure that both the legs have the same length.

Then, wear the shorts once more to make sure the cuts look even and for assessing the length. If the length still seems too long, make one more chalk line and trim the bottoms with scissors.

Step 4: Time To Make Fringes On Your Shorts

Use a razor blade or sandpaper for making fringes on the shorts. So, lay your shorts on a table and start working on it. You can use sandpaper to rub along your shorts’ bottom when you want more controlled, softer fringes. The other option is to run razor blades along your shorts’ bottom when you want a distressed denim look.

If you want your shorts to have even fringes, make sure to put the same amount of pressure along the bottom. Also, you can add a bit longer fringe using a razor or sandpaper along some spots to bring in some variety, and make the shorts look cooler.

How To Cut Pants Into Shorts Without Sewing?

You do not need to be an expert at sewing to know how to cut your pants into shorts. So, repeat the first two steps from the previous method, buy a hem tape, and then follow the given steps.

Step 1: Start Cutting The Jeans Legs Off

Take the ruler and make a line across the pant legs at the cut marking. However, make sure the line does not go straight across your pant legs. Rather, angle it between 10-15 degrees upwards along the pants’ inseam. 

It may be counterintuitive, but the slant helps you get a straight hem. Now, cut the legs off the pants. You cannot stop here because the hem will begin fraying so you will have to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Create A Hem Without Sewing

You can hem a pair of shorts in different ways. So, you can have the fold on the outside or inside of the shorts. It’s easier to create a hem without sewing when you keep the fold inside. 

Now, turn the shorts inside out completely to make it easier to create the hem. Next, heat up your iron to its hottest setting, and iron the hem along the side of the leg. 

Make sure that the fabric is hot enough for the tape. Put the hem tape on the part you ironed and then, press it down to make it stick to the shorts.

Start folding up the hem until the actual mark made for the shorts becomes visible. After this, iron the folded area of the hem. Also, be careful when doing the outside and inseam because those parts might bunch up. 

Next, turn over the pants and continue the procedure on the reverse side. Then, iron the hem and apply tape before folding up the hem and ironing it. Repeat the process on that other pant leg.

How To Cut Jeans Into Ripped Shorts?

Classics like ripped shorts are must-haves in your closet, and given below are the steps to make it from your old denim.

Step 1: Choose The Areas To Be Ripped

Let’s assume you’ve cut the denim as per the previous instructions. Now, the first step in getting nicely ripped denim shorts is to figure out where you want those worn-out parts to be. So, after you have decided that, put a magazine between the pant legs. It will help you in making sure that all the cuts made in the denim are only on one side. 

Next, you can start cutting a number of small slits that are about one or two centimeters apart. You can make the ripped parts as large as you want based on the number of slits you make and how longer they are.

Step 2: Creating The Ripped Shorts Look

If you look closely within the denim’s weaves, you will note that it has blue threads running vertically alongside white threads going horizontally. Now, grab a pair of tweezers and use it to gently pull out the vertical threads between all the slits.

The aim is to get all the vertical threads removed between all the slits so that just the horizontal threads remain. It will give you as many perfectly ripped parts as you want in your pants. Also, you can make the pants look more distressed by increasing the number of rips or creating larger rips.

Repeat this process until you are done creating as many holes as you feel like.

Pro-tip: You will find it hard to remove that first blue thread. But once you carry on with the process, the threads will start gliding easily and quickly. Also, remain patient during the process – it will feel a bit tedious initially. Then, gradually you will start settling in a rhythm as the vertical threads start piling up.

How To Cut Jeans Into Cuffed Shorts?

Cuffed shorts look the best when the outer part of your denim is darker than its insides as the cuff becomes more noticeable in that case. Also, it is easier to do a cuffed look when there isn’t too much taper. 

After all, the pants will bunch up if the width of the place to make the cut is not bigger than the place to be rolled up. With that being said, here’s how you make cuffed shorts:

Step 1: Figure Out The Final Length

You need to figure out the final length of your cuffed shorts before deciding on the cuff depth. For instance, you can keep the final length around six inches shorter than the actual length, while keeping the cuffs 1½ inches in depth.

Next, draw one line across the patterns of the desired finished length. Then, make sure to cut patterns along the finished length. Attach a new paper here that is wider than your pant legs along their cut edge.

Step 2: Drawing The Cuff And Folding It

Now, you need to start drawing the cuff. For that, make three parallel lines right below the line you made to mark the finished length. The first two lines can be ½” apart, while the second and third are ¾” below. Cut off the extra tracing paper at this third line.  

After this, fold the cuffs under the first line, and fold up both the layers through the line marking the final length.

Step 3: The Cutting And Sewing Part Of The Job

Straighten those seams before folding the third line below the shorts. Afterward, cut through each fold along the inseam and side cutting lines. If you unfold the patterns now, you’ll see the new line of cutting.

Next, start cutting and sewing the fabric. Assemble your shorts, follow the pattern guide to complete the cuff. You also need to press the inseam allowances and the side open. Now, sew the hem by turning the hem under the first line, and machine-stitching the raw edges of the shorts. This finished cuff will hide the stitches.

Fold up the cuff on the final length line before machine or hand tacking the cuffs at the side seam and inseam to keep it at one place.

How Do You Cut Skinny Jeans Into Shorts?

We might have said that cutting skinny jeans into shorts is tricky, but you might want to attempt it when you have a really old but favorite pair. Since you already know how to cut your jeans to turn them into shorts, we are not repeating the initial steps again. 

After you are done cutting your skinny jeans, here’s how to do it right in turning them into shorts:

Step 1: Lay Down Your Jeans To Cut

Take your jeans and lay them down on a flat surface like the floor or a table. Next, use your ruler for drawing a line or guiding as you make the cut. Use sharp scissors along the legs of the skinny jeans. In skinny jeans, you will have to cut a bit on the downward angle towards the insides of your pants to get a flattering fit.

Step 2: Fold Up And Cut The Other Leg

You need to fold your jeans in half such that the cut part is over the uncut one. Make sure the waistband and the seams are completely lined up. Now, use the cut pant leg as the guide for cutting the uncut leg with the same measurements. It is also a good idea to trace the line on the uncut part first to get greater precision.

Step 3: Check To See How Good It Looks

Put on your skinny jeans and ask yourself: are both the pant legs looking even? Is the length of the shorts right for you? You can make any desired changes now. You can cut off the extra amount or make the adjustments so that the lengths of both the legs are right.

How To Cut Jeans Into Shorts Evenly?

Cutting your jeans into shorts evenly is one of the basic things you need to learn, regardless of whether you want the sides frayed or legs ripped. So, let’s start with the tools and move on to the steps.

Tools required:

  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Washable marker
  • Measuring tape
  • Level

Step 1: Mark The Jeans

Lay the jeans flat and mark the desired length of the inseam on it. If you are not sure of how long you want the inseam to be, it is better to cut it a bit longer. After all, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. You cannot bring a cut part back to being long but you can always work in increments.

Now, zip up and button your jeans before folding them in half. Lay the jeans flat and ensure that it isn’t creased. Now, find the mark that you made on the inner seams and the outer leg. The mark needs to be at this same place.

Step 2: Cutting your jeans

Draw one line across the pants section, but consider the golden rule before doing that: the cut should go straight across as it does while shortening any pair of pants at its hemline. 

Also, make sure that it angles a bit upwards from its inner to outer thigh. It will make your shorts fit properly while wearing. You can cut the shorts as short as you want, but the angle has to be more dramatic in that case. Make sure to draw that line across both legs.

Step 3: Making The Cuts And Trying On

Cut along the marked line. Though it might not come out perfectly straight, you can always adjust around the edges using your scissors.

Wear the newly sewed shorts and check whether the length is right. Furthermore, move around in your shorts and look at it from all the angles to see whether the fit is right. 

At this point, you will have a clear idea whether the shorts fit right and have the right length or not. If the shorts feel too long, you can start making adjustments.

Why Should You Never Cut Straight To Turn Pants Into Shorts?

When you cut the pants straight across the legs when it is lying flat, it will look almost crooked. This is especially true in the case of Daisy Dukes because that will give you a weird fit in the back and the shorts will keep riding up in your crotch area.

Wrapping up

And that’s it! You now know all the different ways to cut your denim into shorts. You can try these techniques on at least two to three pants so that you have skinny, ripped, and fringe shorts in your closet. After all, why stop at one style when you can try them all?



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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