Friday, June 8, 2012

DIY Denim: High-waisted Shorts

I'm a lover of all things denim! In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find me in an outfit that didn't include denim on some level. Much to my delight, denim is hugely of-the-moment, not to mention pretty much a classic as well so I will never have to go without. I have all sorts of denim lovelies in my closet, everything from colored denim to the classic denim jacket. Somehow though, I didn't have a recent denim crush of mine and crucial summer wardrobe staple, the high-waisted denim cutoffs. These throwback shorts, a la Lana Del Rey, are EVERYWHERE except my closet. So I decided to make some! A quick shopping trip to the local Goodwill produced the perfect vintage Levi's with a high rise, buttonfly, and spot-on light colored wash. Tip: Shop the men's section for these jeans, the women's usually don't have as many Levi's as I would hope. Another brand that works well is Guess or just about anything with a buttonfly (that usually indicates a high rise). Of course, the jeans are anything but flattering in tact, but that's no never mind. As long as they aren't too tight through the thighs and make your ass look good, then your summer cutoffs are winking at you from the horizon. They are super easy to make! 
Step 1: Find a pair of pants that fit snug but not tight through the hips and waist. The men's jeans work well since they have more room through the thighs.
I like the buttonfly pairs. They are naturally high-waisted and have a more vintage quality to them.
Step 2: Put them on and mark how short you want them while wearing them. You could also use a pair of shorts whose length you like as a guide or pattern, but I like to make each pair custom since no two pairs fit the same. I mark them on the outside of my thigh, not quite in the center of my leg, for the length since I feel that gives the best visual of how long they'll be. Then measure to the bottom hem of the leg and mark the inside of the leg the same distance. I'll even make three marks (the outside, the inside and the center) to make sure I cut straight.
Step 3: Cut. Simple enough, but this is the most nerve-racking part. I would err on the side of caution and cut them a lil longer than you think you want. You can always cut more length off, you can't add length on. Also, don't cut the pockets off. Tuck them up or pull them out of the pocket so you don't accidentally snip them off.  I cut mine just short enough to see a peep of pocket when you wear them.
Step 4: Choose to fray. You don't have to do this part if you don't want. I didn't want them too frayed up so I only did two smaller spots to add character. If you do decide on doing a lil fraying, put them back on. Mark wear you want the frays to be and how wide and tall while wearing them so you know how they'll bend with your body. I just mark a few lines to indicate the shape I want.
Step 5: Cut along the marks. Be careful to only cut lines straight across and parallel to eachother. This ensures you'll have fibers that will be visual when all is said and done instead of just a giant hole.
You should end up with something like this. I only wanted a smaller patch, but you could go taller and wider by just cutting another line above or making the cuts wider.
Step 6: With a safety pin, gently pull the white fibers away. Don't get to rough here or they may break and you'll get that big gaping hole I warned about earlier.
Step 7: Pull away the little blue fibers that get loose once you've separated the white fibers. Most of this comes out in the wash, but I pull them out so they don't get all over my other clothes.
Step 8: Wash and enjoy! When you wash them they will get a nice fray on the edges and wherever you cut into. I plan on making many of these. You can do all sorts of customizing: more rips, add some studs, sew on some lace or fun fabric or give them a bleached tye-dye treatment. The options are endless and you'll never run the risk of some one wearing the same shorts as you. I look forward to the many hot summer days I will be rockin these beautes!

xoxo, Saybher

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