DIY: Distressed Cut-Off Shorts

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Here in Aggieland, it's still a scorching 100 degrees outside. For some reason, Texas does not want to cooperate with my sweater weather mood. I've been seeing jorts all summer, but haven't been able to find a pair that I like for the right price. I searched through Pinterest for some tutorials, but I couldn't find anything that really gave a step by step tutorial with pictures. (I'm just not a video girl.) So, I decided that I'd just wing it and document what I did along the way.

What You Need:
- clothing shears/sharp scissors
- pen/marker
- box cutter/razor blade/sharp knife
- DVD box/cardboard
- sandpaper/pumice stone
- 1 bottle of bleach
- plastic grocery bag
- gloves

Step 1: Find the perfect pair of jeans. I wanted my shorts to be high-waisted, so I bought some boy Wrangler jeans from Wal-Mart for $16. I recommend going to Wal-Mart or your local Goodwill to find cheap jeans. I went to our Goodwill, but they just didn't have any in my size. 

Step 2: Measure the length with a pair of shorts. Find a pair of shorts that you really like to figure out the length. Pick a pair you wear a lot. This helps so that you don't have to eyeball where you think the shorts will hit.

Step 3: Move the shorts two inches below where you want them to hit. A good rule of thumb is to cut further down on the pants than you think. You can always cut more off, but you can't add more on. 

Step 4: Draw a line to cut along. As you can see in the photos, the shorts are angled. Most people make the mistake of cutting straight across. The shorts won't look right when you cut that way. I also draw a line all the way across so I won't make a jagged line trying to eyeball an angle to hit my mark. 

Step 5: Cut the shorts with sharp scissors. Emphasis on sharp because I used really dull, old scissors and it was like hell trying to cut a straight line. If you like the color of your jeans, you can skip to step 9. If you want to bleach them, continue on to step 6.

Step 6: Fill a sink with bleach and let it sit. Okay, I'm going to be honest. The first time I tried this, I completely failed. I filled the sink halfway with water and poured 1/4 of the bleach bottle and nothing happened. Long story short and two bottles of bleach later, I finally figured out what to do. Fill the sink halfway again with water. Then pour the whole bottle of bleach in. I used the smallest, cheap $0.89 bottle at Kroger. So, if you're using a bigger bottle, I suggest just pouring half the bottle in. I recommend putting gloves on and smushing (Yeah, I'm getting really technical here) the shorts to soak all of the bleach. Make sure all parts of the shorts are covered. I didn't wear gloves and it was a pain in the butt washing my hands over and over again to get the bleach off. Now, let them sit for at least an hour. I let mine sit for 3 hours because I wanted them to be really white-washed. 

Caution: Remove all cloth items surrounding the area you are bleaching your shorts. I accidentally bleached my Vera Bradley make-up bag when I lifted the shorts out of the sink. :(

Step 7: Transfer shorts to washer and set on delicate cycle. Put the gloves back on and put the shorts in a plastic bag to transfer them to the washer. Throw the shorts in the washer on the delicate cycle and let it run. When it's complete, throw them in the dryer. This helps them fray at the bottom. 

Step 8: Check to see if spots need to be retouched. Sometimes, you can't tell if the bleach worked everywhere. If there are little spots that need to be touched up, dip a q-tip in bleach and dab it on the areas. If not, move on to step 9. I didn't have that issue, but I noticed later on that there were little spots around buttons that were bluer than the rest of the shorts.

Step 9: Place a DVD case or cardboard in the shorts. Really, you can put anything hard that you don't mind getting nicks or scratches. Yes, that is Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Seemed appropriate for the task at hand. 

Step 10: Slice the areas you want distressed with the box cutter. I figured out that you shouldn't slice all the way through the material. Just make quick swipes across the spots. It'll work out better when you're sanding those spots and will leave less holes in your pants. I wanted one big spot on the bottom, then did a tiny spot on the opposite pocket. I also did little nicks along the curve of the pocket to give it some wear. On the back, I did the same thing. One pocket had a medium size worn spot and the other had a tiny worn spot. I added tiny worn spots along the waistline as well. 

Step 11: Sand the sliced spots. I used a sandpaper block I had for another craft, but you can also use pumice stone. Sand the spots until you like the way it looks. Try the shorts on and you're done! Simple as that. Instead of cutting the shorts shorter, I just folded them up. Personally, I really like how they turned out!

If you have any questions or advice of your own, leave a comment below! I'll respond as soon as I can and try to explain anything that might be confusing or unclear. 

I sported my new jorts off at the Aggie football game this past weekend against Sam Houston State University. We beat the ever-loving hell outta them with a score of 65-28. Gig 'em!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you posted this! There seriously aren't any perfect cut off shorts out there. They're either way too short, or way too distressed!