How to Cut Skinny Jeans Into Cutoffs

by Elana Kluner

If your skinny jeans still fit but have seen better days, crafting them into cutoff shorts gives you a new pair of bottoms for free. Whether your pants have holes, tears or bleach stains, cutting off the majority of the legs can make them look brand new. Don’t waste money on a new pair of shorts when you can grab your old skinny jeans out of the closet and alter them yourself.

Put the skinny jeans on. Button and zip them up like you normally would to make sure they still fit.

Decide on the length for your new cutoffs. Use the pen or fabric marker to make a mark about an inch or two below that point to allow for any mistakes. It’s always easier to cut more material off than to be stuck cutoffs that are too short.

Take off the jeans and lay them on a flat surface. A table or the floor will suffice.

Use a ruler to draw a line or to guide you as you cut. Cut with sharp scissors across one leg of your skinny jeans. Cut on a slight downward angle toward the inside of the pants for a more flattering fit.

Fold the jeans in half so the cut leg is on top of the uncut leg. Line up the seams and waistband of the jeans.

Use the top pant leg as a guideline to cut the other leg along the same line. You can also trace the line of the pant leg onto the uncut leg first for more precision.

Put the jeans back on. Check that each pant leg is even. If your desired length is shorter than what you see, repeat the process again, cutting a small amount off until you reach the right length.

Items you will need

  • Scissors
  • Pen or fabric marker
  • Ruler


  • To get a fashionable fringe along the leg openings, put your shorts through a regular cycle in the wash. This will fray the bottoms and give it that edgy effect.
  • If you want a folded cuff along the opening of the legs, cut between 4 and 6 inches below the desired length and fold over twice.


  • Be careful not to cut the pockets.

About the Author

Los Angeles-based writer Elana Kluner has been writing internationally since 2008. Her work has been published in M2Women Magazine, DANZ Quarterly, Central leader, Western Leader, The Other Duck and Spa Violet. Kluner graduated with a Bachelor's degree in creative writing from Auckland University of Technology and studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Photo Credits

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