Jean Upcycle: DIY High-Waisted Shorts

diy shorts cover edited

As August rolls around, it’s definitely still crop top and shorts weather where I’m living.  A nice pair of high-waisted shorts can be pretty pricey- so why not make your own? All you need is a pair of old jeans, which you can find in  your closet or your local thrift store.  This project can be as simple or as intricate as your creativity desires. In this tutorial, I make a pair of distressed, high-waisted shorts with lace pockets. It can also be worn in two different way! It’s cute, girly, summery, and definitely something you won’t be able to find in stores 🙂 

materials edited

This tutorial covers a range of difficulty depending on how intricate you want to make your shorts. The basic hem is quite simple, but embroidering designs can be a bit more difficult!

cutting the jeans

Cutting the Jeans

I got my jeans from Goodwill for $7.50. They’re a really nice, heavy denim.

1. Try on the jeans and mark how short you want them to be. I wanted to be able to roll mine so I left a few extra inches. Also leave room for seam allowance for hemming purposes.

2. Take off the jeans and line up the seams at the cuffs, making sure the fabric is flat. Cut where you marked. Make sure to use nice, sharp scissors!

3. Try on your cut pants to make sure they’re an appropriate length.  I ended up cutting off a bit more because I wanted my shorts to be a little shorter.

hemming 2

Hemming the Shorts

I wanted my shorts to be able to be worn in two different styles. When the cuffs are rolled up, I wanted them to be girly and cute. When the cuffs are rolled down, I wanted them to look a bit more relaxed and boho.

1. Flip the raw edge of the shorts upward. If you don’t want the hem to be seen, flip it downward. I just wanted my jeans to be worn in two different ways, and I wanted the frayed hem to be seen when the shorts are unrolled.

2. Using a straight or zigzag stitch, sew all around the hemmed edge

At this point, you’re welcome to stop if you enjoy have a plain, all-purpose pair of shorts. I decided to add some extra touches to mine, so read on if you want to learn how!

distressing 2

Distressing the Denim

1. Mark where you want the distressed areas to be with chalk

2. Make a horizontal cut in the widest part of your marking. I do this by folding the fabric and snipping the fold.

3. Using a pin or needle, carefully pull the horizontal threads at the cut. At first, some of them may be loose, but eventually they will be unbroken from one side of the cut to the other, which creates the distressed look.

Tips: It helps to trim the vertical threads as you go, as they tend to build up and make it harder to pull out the horizontal threads. Additionally, you can make multiple horizontal cuts and pull away the threads until the distressed areas join.

4. Grab a nail file or piece of sand paper and rub around the edges of your distressed areas.  This softens the fabric and gives it a more natural look.

5. Take a needle and thread and sew around the distressed areas. This will keep the denim from fraying any further in the wash.

lace pockets 2

Adding Lace Pockets

I noticed the pockets of the shorts stuck out past the edges when I rolled them, so I decided to make the pockets look a bit fancier. Covering the pockets also allows lace to peak through the distressed areas.

1. Turn the shorts inside out and place the lace fabric on the inside pocket and measure how much fabric is needed.

2. Place the lace on the pocket and sew around the left, right, and bottom edge, keeping as close to original seam as possible. Do not sew along the top edge, as this will kill the functionality of the pockets (you can end up sewing the pocket together. Oops.)

embroidering 2

Embroidering the Back Pocket

I thought the back of the shorts looked a bit empty, but I didn’t want to make it too intricate. I decided to embroider a little arrow in the upper corner of the right pocket.  This is a symbol that means a lot to me personally, so it was just a way for me to make the shorts more unique.

1. Draw the symbol on with pencil so you have a guide when embroidering.

2. Embroider on the design. It’s important to make small stitches and to start a stitch in the middle of the last one for a smooth pattern.

before and after edited

You’re done! You now have you’re own pair of unique high waisted shorts. Enjoy while summer is still around ❤



One thought on “Jean Upcycle: DIY High-Waisted Shorts

  1. Pingback: T-Shirt Recreation: DIY Crop Top | softwearhacks

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