In the dog days of summer we need to not only look stylish, we need to feel cool and comfortable. Jeans, the star of the casual wardrobe, are no longer the go- to option when you need to chill out or perfect your summer tan.
Cut-offs, both bought and handmade, can be the perfect solution. As a fix to recycling worn-out jeans or a weekend project with a great thrift store or vintage find, do-it-yourself cut-offs can be the best part of a versatile summer wardrobe.
To create your one-of-a-kind piece you will need a few tools of the fashion trade along with your chosen pair of jeans. The tools you will need are a marking tool, scissors, and an Exacto knife. An Exacto knife is used to create additional “cuts” in the denim to give it a more distressed feel, while optional, this really helps to mix it up and creates an edgier, more current, look and feel.
Step one, if you have purchased a new pair of jeans for your project, is washing the jeans in hot water, and then drying them on your hottest dryer setting. This ensures that the denim is pre-shrunk and your leg lengths will remain true and equal. If you bought a worn-in vintage find, or are using an old pair of jeans you may disregard this step.
Next, you will put the pants on and lightly mark the length you are wanting for your shorts. Always mark a little on the longer side just in case, and make sure to mark the front and back. A 1-2″ inseam works well. You can always cut more later. Remove the jeans once marked. You will then want to iron the jeans one leg at a time so you can have a smooth pair of pants that will allow you to cut evenly.
Once you have ironed you are ready to cut! Using a ruler, mark the lines at your desired cut point so that your cut is straight. Fold the jeans in half and cut. This will help ensure that both sides are cut evenly. Try on the pants once again to see if you need to cut off more length, and to check that both sides were cut evenly.
After you have cut your new shorts, you can play with distressing and adding embellishments. Using an Exacto knife on a cutting mat, you may slit horizontal lines in the denim. This will create frayed “cuts” upon your next washing. Make sure you wash them in a load of their own so the new frays do not get caught up on other pieces, creating unwanted tears.
If you have simple sewing experience, the options are endless. First being, you can give them a finished look with a cuff. Once you have created your cut-offs, fold the bottom of each leg to create your cuff. Press with a hot iron using the steam setting. Turn the shorts inside out and repeat with the legs still cuffed. You may add a small amount of fabric glue to the inner cuff to secure. Allow to dry and they are ready to wear.
Another popular trend this season is adding lace to shorts. One that is easy to accomplish without having to pay a high price for this popular look. All you need is two feet of white lace or crochet trim of choice, pins, white thread, fabric scissors and a needle. Lay your shorts out flat, right side out. Cut a triangle on each leg in the front about the size you will want the lace insert. It is important that it is centered on each leg and using a measuring tape may come in handy. Next, you will cut the lace or crochet to the desired size. Pin the lace in place over your triangle. Once you have threaded your needle with white thread, sew the lace (both the inner and outer edges) to the denim, tying a few knots where you finish to secure. It is an easy way to make your summer shorts really standout while adding a touch of femininity.
Lastly, a trend that is popular for summer is colored denim. There are so many options when it comes to colored denim and adding texture. Do not feel tied to your tried and true blue jeans. Express yourself this season with colors. Add metal embellishments, lace, or experiment with bleach to create “paint” stains and tie-dye. The possibilities are endless. Be creative and let your style show the world who you are.