How To Make Your Own Distressed Denim Shorts

Perrie Samotin
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How To Make Your Own Distressed Denim Shorts
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Around here, we’re pretty fascinated with the DIY phenomenon, especially when it comes to fashion and lifestyle. There’s something incredibly satisfying about the ability to see something you like and recreate it yourself, or have the creative smarts to dream up ways to make something you’re simply not finding anywhere else. That’s why we decided to catch up with a few of our favorite DIY bloggers throughout the month to get the scoop on things like what prompted them to start creating, what’s been their favorite projects to date, and what projects have particularly challenging.

Next up, Hong Kong-based-based DIY blogger Geneva Vanderzeil of A Pair & A Spare  whose inspiring blog is filled with ingenious projects that span everything from home decor to runway-inspired fashion, such as Balenciaga-style ruffled skirts, Céline-inspired bags, and wrap skirts in the style of Proenza Schouler. Here, Geneva not only filled us in on how she got her DIY start, but also provided us with a cool project to try: A pair of perfectly-distressed denim shorts. Read on!

StyleCaster: What made you start DIYing? Were you always crafty?
Geneva Vanderzeil: I’ve always been creative when it comes to fashion—I started my blog to share that with people.

What’s been your favorite/most satisfying project to date?
At the moment, I’m loving anything transparent, so my clutch, satchel and cuffs are pretty special to me.

What’s been the most challenging project? 
Sewing projects are the hardest ones, but often the most satisfying!

What types of projects to your suggest for beginner DIYers?
Start with removable attachments to shoes and bags—that way you won’t be scared [of] ruining the original piece.

What’s your dream DIY project?
A whole house to makeover!

Why do you think fashion and lifestyle DIYing has become so popular?
People are always on the lookout for things that help them look great without blowing their budget.

When you’re not DIYing, what are you up to?
I love hiking, reading and cooking, although most of my time is taken up with DIYing.

How do you decide if something is worth making, as opposed to just buying?
If it’s worth having it’s worth making.

Click through the gallery above to see Geneva’s tips on how to make your distressed denim shorts!

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According to Venderzeil, cutoff denim shorts are an all-season staple. Wear them all spring and summer with everything from T-shirts to blazers, and come fall and winter, they look extra-cool with opaque tights and ankle booties. Since that perfectly distressed pair is hard to find, learn how to do it yourself for basically no cost!

What you'll need: A pair of old denim shorts or jeans, scissors, a stanley knife, a cutting board, and a washing machine. 

Tip: Want the fit to be slightly retro and high-waited? Check out places like Salvation Army or Goodwill, who usually have a great stock of old denim. 

Put the shorts or jeans on and mark exactly how short you want to cut them.

Take the shorts off and cut them from the outside seam inwards, making sure to leave a few extra inches of fabric inside the leg at the crotch. Essentially, you want them to be longer in that area than on the side of the legs.  

Put the shorts back on and check the length and style—you may want to cut a bit more off or alter them slightly. Once you have the length you like, get out your cutting board. 

With the front of the shorts flat on the board, use the stanley knife to make a series of horizontal slits about an inch apart. Make sure you move the inner pocket out of the way to do this.

Put the shorts into the washing machine on a normal cycle. This should be enough movement to remove a lot of the blue threads between the slits in the front so that you have just the white threads and some gaps showing through. The hem should also have loosened up. As the picture shows, you can use a tweezer to pull threads.

Let the shorts dry and then check if you like the style—if you want more cutouts in the front repeat the cutting and washing steps until you're happy.

And voila! Your perfect distressed denim cutoffs are ready. With spring and summer around the corner, they'll pair perfectly with ankle boots and a light blazer for a night out, or a neon bikini, jersey tank top and floppy hat for a day on the beach. 

For more awesomely inspiring DIY projects, check out a A Pair and a Spare now!

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