A few weeks ago, I mentioned in my wardrobe building blocks post that distressed denim is one of my closet staples. In fact, as far as jeans go, I don’t think I own a pair that isn’t distressed. There’s just something so effortless, laid back, and visually appealing about it. If my jeans come without or with very little distressing, I just can’t help but add some to them.
I also get asked all the time for a distressed denim tutorial, so it’s finally time for one. And better yet — it’s a video tutorial!
And since the video is super quick, I’ve also included 6 other tips below to help with distressing your denim.
1. 1.On your jeans, the blue threads run vertically, and the white threads underneath run horizontally. Knowing this helps give direction to your unpicking, sand papering, and cutting.
2. In the video, I show how to expose the white threads, which creates a really nice distressed look. Creating a large spot of exposed white threads is done in just the same way, but just takes some time to push away all those blue threads that are running vertically along your legs. The blue threads are weaved under and over the white threads, so carefully use your seam ripper to pull the blue threads and un-weave them to expose longer sections of white and create a nice white thread patch.
3. To create a large knee hole, like the one I made in these jeans, it’s best to just cut your hole first, and then distress around the edges to camouflage the scissor cuts. I personally think it’s best to cut an irregular hole, like the hole in the knee on this pair of jeans. This makes it look the most natural. But straight across slits can look great too, like this pair that just exposes a few of those white threads.
4. The washing machine is your best friend when it comes to distressing. Whenever I cut holes in my jeans, I always throw them in the washer and dryer, and it frays the edges just enough to create an effortless hole.
5. The best places to put holes are in the knees and up at the pockets, and the best places to have distressing with the white threads exposed is along the outer thighs.
6. If you’re worried about your distressing (especially the holes) fraying too much, stitch around the entire hole with a straight stitch on your sewing machine and this will prevent any excess fraying.
I’ll cover patches in another post, so stay tuned for that! Any other questions on distressing your denim?
Also I’ve rounded up some of my favorite distressed denim which you can shop by clicking on the images, or just use them for distressing inspiration!