Denim cutoffs are a summer classic. Whether you wear them with a men's shirt turned strapless sundress or ombre tights, you can work a pair of cutoffs into just about any summer ensemble.

For today's DIY style project, we've created 3 stylish ways to play with cutoffs. First, a basic how-to on creating a simple pair of cutoffs (a cheese grater is involved!). Next, we take a pair of too-tight jeans (we all have them) and transform them into boho chic shorts. And finally, a couple ways to embellish a pair of cutoffs you've already got.


– jeans

– sharp scissors (ideally ones that are solely for fabric)

– needle and thread

– cheese grater

– pliers

– sturdy fabric

– trim, chain, studs, any embellishments you like

First we'll show you how to make a distressed pair of cutoffs with a cheese grater, scissors, and pliers. For any pair of homemade cutoffs, it's crucial to measure the length while wearing them. Use a pencil to mark the ideal length, and cut about 1/2 an inch longer than that.

Now, get your pliers and scissors. Cut a few slits and use the pliers to pull denim fibers out one by one. You want to pull vertically to get the pictured effect.

Next, get your cheese grater! We used a mini one for a subtle look and then a large one for a more extreme one.

And there you have it. A pair of perfectly distressed cutoffs! Much better than paying the big bucks for pre-distressed denim.

Second, we'll take a pair of jeans that are a bit too tight and expand the waist to turn them into a brand new pair of shorts.

Cut the jeans to the shorts length you like. Then cut along the seams so you have a front and back.

When adding fabric, it's helpful to stitch the fabric on the edges before attaching to the jeans to avoid fraying. Use sewing pins to lay everything out. We definitely recommend trying them on while pinned to make sure you've got your measurements just right. Always err on the side of making them a little too big. We added a little lace flare at the bottom to give our cutoffs a bit more shape.

And finally, we'll show you some ideas for how to embellish and update an existing pair of cutoffs. We used woven trim, chain, and a few studs we had leftover from last week's flip flop extravaganza.

With the trim, take a needle and thread and sew right below the belt loop seam of your shorts. Sew to the bottom and you're done. Use a machine for extra strength. ;)

For the chain, simply cut it to the right length and use embroidery floss or sturdy thread to attach along the pocket line. For studs, simply stick them in and use pliers to fasten on the inside. Or try iron-ons!

Et voila! Three ways to make your own sizzling summer cutoffs.

Let us know if you have any questions about the steps described above by leaving us a note in the comments below. And if you've got your own denim cutoff DIY, be sure to share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.