Today’s five minute tutorial accomplishes two things. One, it instantly updates an old pair of jeans, and two, it’s an easy way to shorten your jeans without having to hem them. So you can weed through your old jeans and make them fresh and new in five minutes!
I’ve shared a few ways to update your jeans in the past, like how to make a baggy pair of jeans skinnier, hemming jeans while keeping the original hem, and distressing your own denim, but today I’m going to share how shorten them up and keep the hem raw, which is a fresh, modern look.
I’ve had these jeans for four or five years, and I just never wear them anymore. Now with this quick and easy update, I absolutely love them and plan to wear them all the time!
– sewing machine and matching thread (optional)
Step 1. Try your jeans on and use a piece of chalk or a highlighter to mark how short you want them. My favorite length for this look is about three inches above your ankle, but you can do whatever length you’d like.
Step 2. Remove your jeans, lay them on a flat surface, and chop the hems off at your mark. Try to do a nice straight and even cut, because it makes the next step easier.
Step 3. Use your seam ripper to carefully grab the top horizontal thread from the jeans (they’re easier to see from the inside of the jeans, so turn your jeans inside out. Pull it loose, and then rip it out completely. Now grab the next thread and do the same. Continue to do this to each thread in line until you’ve removed 10-15 horizontal threads. You’ll now have about a centimeter of vertical fringe at the bottom of your jeans. You might have some remnants of the horizontal threads hanging — I left them because I like the ragged look, but you can clip them off and clean them up completely if you’d like.
Step 4. Repeat on the second leg so the hems are evenly raw.
Step 5. (optional) use a sewing machine and sew a small zigzag line around the base of each leg, just above the fringe, so it doesn’t fray more than you want it to. Don’t do a straight stitch because it won’t allow for any stretch and the threads will break when you try to pull your jeans on.
And that’s it! Now your jeans are the length you want, and are instantly updated to have a fresh new look. Pair them with a fun modern top like this fringe tank that I’m obsessed with (hurry, this one is selling out fast!), a great pair of shoes, and a cool jacket
Thanks for the tip Merrick! I have a question regarding hemming jeans with the original hem… when I have done this my pants have a frayed edge on the inside ( near the new hemmed seam) that shows if I wear my pants cuffed up. Do you have a suggestion on how to get rid of it? Thanks!!
I serge that raw edge, but if you don’t have access to a serger, just zigzag along the edge, going on and off the edge of the fabric as you zigzag. It curls the fabric up in between the zigzag stitch and keeps it from fraying. Hope that helps!
Nice! I’ll try that. Thanks!!
would you mind sharing a picture of the zigzag stitch? i never done any sewing so a lil bit confused about how it is supposed to be. thanks!
I don’t have an image, but the zigzag stitch should look like this ^^^^^ with the stitch going up and down and up and down in a zigzag pattern. Your machine should have that as a stitch option. Does that help?
This is perfect. I have been bemoaning my too-long skinny jeans that aren’t working with my booties, but haven’t been willing to hem them. This is easy enough I just might do it on a pair of thrift store jeans I got recently. P.S. I had a baby about a week after you did, and so have been following along the last 10 months, getting tips.
This is genius! I’ve got some jeans who are seriously going to thank you!
I have an old pair of boot cut jeans. I want to shorten them like this and also make them skinny. Which step do you recommend doing first?
Make them skinny first! The process of unraveling the hem is a little tedious, so making them skinny first will save you some time 🙂