Friday, February 15, 2013

Denim Hack: Cutoffs + Boyfriend Jeans

For our last day, I want to share two more denim tutorials. From J.Crew, one of the final DIY's they suggested was patching a pair of boyfriend jeans. I bought a pair of boyfriend jeans, it was horrible. I am pear shaped, so my booty is the biggest part of me... and let me tell you, boyfriend jeans were not made for "shelf bottoms"... it just doesn't go well. So, I turned them into boyfriend skinnies and they're way cuter on me now. Those are below. First up, I have this cutoff tutorial, taken from my own link HERE. The link has information about maintaining store-bought cutoffs so that they last longer. I was at the mall over the weekend and it was insane how many stores already had cutoffs for sale. Don't buy them- just make them!
The best way to create new cut offs? Here we go. I like to start with a pair of jeans that are either loose or one size too big. I didn't have any so I had to use some old skinnies, I may add in a panel next week (tutorial) to make them more loose. My favorite cutoffs that I saved were one size too big and I just like the way it looks.

(1) Trace it. Lay your favorite pair of cut offs over the jeans. Cut along them (one leg only), adding in *at least* 3/4ths of an inch. I added in an extra 2 inches because my other ones are a tad short and I want to fold the edge over to look like my favorites, too. I also like to angle mine (which you can see) so that they're shorter on the outside of the leg and longer on the inseam, it looks more flattering on the leg line. You can see the disparity between the sizes in that photo. I definitely suggest using loser pants vs. skinny jeans.
(2) Copy it. Fold the cut leg over on top of the uncut leg and cut to match. I do it that way so that both sides are identically even. After this, try them on to see if they're the right length or if you'd like to angle them more.  I wish I had angled mine more.
(3) Hem it. Decide how much of a fray you want, I wanted about 1/2 inch so I hemmed 1/2 inch in all along the edges using a zig zag stitch (same used for top pair). You can let them naturally fray to that hem on their own over time and with washing OR you can attack the edges with a bristle brush/teasing comb to help them along. Another way to do it is to use a seam ripper to pull up the white cross threads and then pull them off. I helped my fray along a little bit, but I'll probably let machine washing and time do the rest. 
(4) Wear it. Old favorites on top and new favorites on bottom. I hope that the new ones break in to be as fab as the old ones-- BUT-- they're the correct size, so that may not happen. Hence the possible inclusion of an extra panel :)  It isn't pictured, but I turned the edges of the legs up so that these would be more identical to the "originals". If you want to make a pair just like my original pair, start with jeans that are one size too big/loose (goodwill?), follow the above steps and then turn the edges over 3/4 inch and iron the crease to make it stay put. If you're serious about them staying folded, you can add in a single hand stitch on the sides where the seams are, or you can run just that side seam through your machine. You can also add frayed sections on the leg by rubbing the jeans with a steel wool pad. 
The shirt I paired the new cutoffs with for the photos is crazy unflattering? It's like a paper bag! Perhaps it needs to be taken in and given a nicer shape. This post is becoming more full of new tutorials all the time! 
And now for the skinnies!
(1) Measure it. Optional. I just guestimated, because that's how I roll. Either put them on inside out and have someone pin the excess material OR put them on and pinch them to see how much needs to go. Be sure to pinch in multiple places- you may need two inches at the inner thighs but only 1 inch at the knees. A good rule would be to pinch at the crotch area, the mid-thigh, the knee, and the calve.
(2) Pin it. Place pins along inseam, taper out from crotch and run all the way down to the end based on your numbers from pinching. You can skip this step if someone pinned for you while you wore them. I left them a little looser at the bottoms so I could achieve the rolled look still. I think the roll at the bottom is what prompted the "boyfriend" label.
(3) Stitch it. Run a tight-ish zig zag stitch all along the jeans. I start at the crotch and back stitch first (running the machine in reverse, it's like tying a knot in sewing world) and then taper the stitch out to the pins. Run it down to the bottom and back stitch again at the bottom. Try them on to see if you need them to be tighter/looser. If they need to be looser, cut the stitch with a seam ripper and give it another go! When you're satisfied, cut away the excess material.
(4) Wear it. I paired them with all kinds of items... but those brown shoes were in bad shape. I was very struck by their appearance when we went out to take pictures... as you can see. They were super distracting. My mom made that headpiece for our wedding rehearsal. I love it. Maybe it'll be a tutorial some day.
That's all for this week! Are you ready for warmer weather? I've got major Spring fever over here! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 


  1. So glad you're getting some spring weather!

    1. Katie, I wish! These are from last summer :) tho it's supposed to be in the 40s Monday, and that's springish if you ask me!


I love reading + responding to comments! Keep in mind that comments are moderated and spam will never be approved :)