DIY Cut Off Shorts | 4 Simple Hemming Methods

cutoff short options

Making a pair of DIY cut off shorts is a snap with these 4 simple hemming methods. This is a great way to recycle and save a lot of money! As you know, I like to upcycle and re-purpose items.  Clothing is one of them.

Cutting off a long pair of pants and making a pair of shorts is one of the simplest upcycling projects there is. I am going to show you FOUR different ways to hem your cut off shorts.

I recommend watching the video tutorial which will walk you through

h all four of these methods step-by-step!

 

Play Video
  • Cut Off & Fray
  • Rolled Hem
  • Cuffed Hem
  • Trouser Hem

What you’ll need to make a pair of cut off shorts

  • Pair of pants

Pants of all kinds can be used. Jeans are one of my favorite things to cut off. So if you have a pair of jeans that have holes in them, don’t throw them out, make SHORTS!

If you don’t have a pair of pants you want to cut off, thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales are great places to pick up an inexpensive pair of pants.

  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Pins
  • Needle & Thread (optional)
  • Chalk pen (optional)
  • Seam gauge
  • Iron

How long do you want your cut off shorts?

Whichever way you choose to hem your cut-offs; the first thing you’ll need to do is decide HOW LONG YOU WANT THEM.

The easiest way is to take a pair of shorts that you already have and like the length of and use them as a template.  Or you can simply try the pants on and carefully apply a straight pin at the DESIRED LENGTH. DO NOT CUT OFF AT THIS POINT!

Once you’ve decided how long you want your shorts, it’s time to decide how you want to finish the edge.

If you are using an existing pair of shorts as a template, simply lay the shorts on top of the long pair of pants you are cutting off. Line up the CROTCH SEAM, NOT THE WAISTLINE. (Some pants have a longer waist height than others). Make sure the waist is lined up horizontally so you get an even cut.

Depending on what hem style you are using, you’ll either be cutting off at the DESIRED LENGTH or ADDING TO THE LENGTH.

CUT OFF & FRAY – Cut off at that length.

ROLLED HEM  –  Add ¾ inch

CUFFED HEM  – Add 2 inches

TROUSER HEM – Add 1 3/8 INCHES

1  Cut Off & Fray

The “cut off & fray method” is the simplest and quickest way to finish a pair of shorts.

  1. Cut off one pant leg at the DESIRED LENGTH.
  2. Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.
  3. Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

You can leave the fabric unfinished and just the fabric fray out. I recommend sewing around the leg with a straight stitch ¼ – ½ inch from the cut edge. This will keep the fray to a minimum. This is a preference only.

2  Rolled Hem

Using a seam gauge, measure ¾ inch from the DESIRED LENGTH MARK. Make sure the top of the waist is even and straight. Using a chalk pen or disappearing ink pen and draw a cutting line.

Cut off one pant leg.

Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.

Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

Fold the edge up 3/8 inch and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place.

Topstitch just inside the fold all the way around, starting at the inner thigh seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Repeat on the other pant leg.Finished cut edge by using a serger, or the zigzag stitch of a single needle machine.

Fold the edge up, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch, and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place.

Finish cut edge by using a serger, or the zigzag stitch of a single needle machine.

Fold the edge up, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch, and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place

Tack the cuff in place so it does not come undone while laundering. To do this, simply sew along the side seams of the cuff using the sewing machine or you can do this by hand.

4 Trouser Hem

This hemming method is a good one to use if you want a more finished look. Dress pants and trousers with a lighter weight fabric work well.

  1. Using a seam gauge, measure 1 3/8 inches from the DESIRED LENGTH MARK. Make sure the top of the waist is even and straight. Using a chalk pen or disappearing ink pen and draw a cutting line.
  2. Cut off one pant leg.
  3. Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.
  4. Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

Fold the cut edge up 3/8 inch and press.

Now fold another 1 inch. Press and pin in place.

There are a few ways to finish this hem. You can topstitch with a single or double stitch or you can use the BLIND HEM STITCH. The blind hem stitch can be done by hand or by using the sewing machine. You can watch the blind hem video tutorial HERE.

There you have it; four different ways to make a pair of cut off shorts from an upcycled pair of pants. It’s pretty simple and straight forward. Let me know if you have any questions.

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