One of my hobbies for as long as I can remember has been thrifting. I love finding interesting garments from past eras. From old rock t-shirts to strange prints and funky silhouettes, I’m all about integrating once loved gems into my current wardrobe. Not only is it fun and affordable, but it’s the best way to guarantee a totally unique look. And it’s eco-friendly! With summer approaching, the itch to hack off those pesky pant legs is plaguing me again. And with so many people asking for advice on how to make the perfect cut-offs, I drummed up my top tips for finding the right pair, and a step by step guide to making that expert cut!
Choosing your pants of prey…
Look for loving tears and scuffs, paint splatters, or homemade detailing. These natural, unique blemishes make YOUR pair one of a kind! Just be sure whatever previous damage doesn’t make the garment unwearable. When buttonholes are blown out, or when you know you won’t take the time to patch up that booty rip, don’t bother.
Consider old sizing…
Sizes were pretty different back in the day and can often vary from brand to brand. When shopping retro styles and hand-me-downs from thrift stores, it’s likely things have been worn in, shrunk, or just plain fit differently. Don’t pass up the those
32”-waisters because you’re normally a 28″. Try ‘em on, you just might be pleasantly surprised!
Be wary of vintage imposters…
A lot of second hand stores seem to market just about anything as “vintage” in hopes to capitalize on the trend. But just like sizing, quality has shifted over the years. I recommend brushing up on some defining traits of old denim if you’re looking for the real deal in vintage Levi’s to make your cut-offs. Wear and tear doesn’t always mean it’s authentic.
Grab scissors and a tape measure, let’s do this!
The Classic Cut-Off
Step 1: While you have the jeans on, use the measuring tape to guide your marking. Depending on the style of jean you’re choosing to modify and the desired length you’re shooting for, the inches you’ll need to measure down will vary. For this pair I’ve placed a mark roughly 10 inches down from the top of my jeans while standing, and then a perfect 5” out from the crotch once they were flat. That may seem like a lot but nothing’s worse than cutting them too short!
Step 2: Make a small cut where you’ve marked down from the crotch. Turn your jeans inside out and continue cutting. (Turning them inside out will help ensure that you don’t snip holes in the pockets.) If you’re planning on cuffing them, I recommend cutting straight across from the outside hip, toward the crotch. If you’re going for a sexier, short-short, cut from the crotch first and start to round up near the outside hip. If once you’ve tried them on and they’re too long, repeat this step. If you’ve nailed it, throw them in the wash for a nice round of authentic fraying, or rub the raw edges together if you’re looking to wear them ASAP. BOOM! You got yourself some cut-offs!
The Ankle Pant
I’d been eyeing Scarlet’s DIY’d pair for weeks now…
So I found a pair that were just a teensy bit too long, practically begging to be ankle length. And it really doesn’t take more than scissors and a set of eyeballs to make it happen. Check it out…
Step 1: While you have them on, make a small mark where you’d like the new length to end. Measure the distance from your marking to the hem of the pant, and mark the second leg to match.
Step 2: Making sure your jeans are flush to your surface, cut straight across. Then use the edge of your scissors to fray the edges a bit and behold! It’s really that easy…
That’s all for now,