Summer Shorts - A Tutorial

Added by on July 31st, 2012 @ 10:48 am

Where did the month of July go? Though summer is halfway over, we have the month of August in front of us, which tends to be the warmest (and most beautiful!). With that in mind, Ashley from Sweet William shares a very easy tutorial on how make your own cut off shorts to last you through the next few warm months. Ashely spent just $5.50 and took 30 minutes of her time to create three pairs of customized shorts – will you try doing this?

Summer Series: DIY Shorts Tutorial

The closer we get to the end of summer, the more I want to update my wardrobe for the next season. But the fact that August is usually the hottest summer month, sweaters and jeans seem a little far-fetched. So instead, I’ll just make a few new updates to my summer wardrobe.

Since it is a little too late in the season to spend money on full price shorts (must save for important fall purchases), I would like to share with you how I made my own shorts – and how you can do it, too!

To make your new shorts, you will need a couple pairs of pants that fit great in the waist and butt. They can be old jeans you no longer wear or just want to cut up. Or you can head out to your  favorite Goodwill store and pick out a few pairs. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the 50% off barb of the week. You only need to like the top half of the pant, so it doesn’t matter if the bottom is tapered or flared. We are going to cut them!

Tan Jean Shorts

I loved how high the waist was on these, so I wanted to balance that out with a cuff, but still keeping it on the short side. Since I currently have a pair of cuffed cut-offs that I love, I used that as my measuring tool. Remember, you can always make them shorter, but never longer.

Step 1: Line up jeans at the crotch with the shorts. Mark the cut line with chalk. Remember to always cut on an angle (the longest being the side on the inner thigh) to get the most flattering look.

Step 2: Cut! Use fabric scissors to get the best cut.

Step 3: Make your cuff. I like to roll it two times. Try them on to see if they land where you like and then iron to set in the seam. If you feel like you need it, you can put in a small stitch to hold the cuff.


Mint Green Jean Shorts

With this pair, I wanted to keep them more organic and show off the natural fray and the awesome color. I used my eye to decide where to cut, but made my straight line with a ruler.

Step 1: Put on the jeans and mark with chalk at the length you like. Take them off and lay flat on the floor.

Step 2: Put a ruler on the chalk mark and draw the cut line at an angle.

Step 3: Cut the first leg then fold over to copy the same cut on the other leg. Before you make cuts, always check the length of the pockets. If it is on the longer side, turn inside out to cut to make sure you don’t cut the pockets!

Step 4: Put in the washer and dryer to get a natural fray.


These were the second pair of overalls I found and bought from the Goodwill Buy the Pound Outlet. They ended up costing $0.50, so why not cut them up?! Since they are more lightweight than the others, I knew I wanted to turn them into shorts. Since the legs are wider than the jeans and since I want to show that off, I wanted to make sure to keep them long enough for a double cuff.

Step 1: Try them on and mark where to make the cut. Or like I did, you can measure out how long you think they should be. I chose to cut at 3 ½ inches from the crotch. I am still going to cut at an angle, but a smaller one to keep the wide cuff.

Step 2: Cut the first leg, then fold over to make a copy of the cut on the second leg.

Step 3: Cuff, iron, wear!

In less than 30 minutes and with only $5.50 spent, I have three cool new pairs of shorts. The best part about making your own cut-offs (instead of buying them off the rack), is you have full control over how they look. You pick the length, style and details that work best for you.

Check back to my blog, Sweet William, to see these new shorts in action in upcoming outfit posts and additional DIY’s!

Ken Christian
Senior Director, Communications
Goodwill Administrative Office

Updated 1 year ago by Kimberly Curry

DIY & Goodwill NNE

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Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Ashley Jordan, 27, has always had a love for the creativity of fashion. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Ashley has quickly emerged as a pre-eminent purveyor of fashion knowledge in the Portland region. Ashley has worked as a Buyer & Merchandiser for Sun City, a Visual Manager at Abercrombie & Fitch, Assistant Buyer, Social Media Lead, and Style Consultant for Akari, and offers her services as a personal stylist in her own time. Most recently, she has become the Women’s Department Manager at Urban Outfitters in downtown Portland.