How to Get a Worn Look on the Bottom of Denim Jeans After Hemming

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Just because you've spent the afternoon creating the perfect hem on those too-long jeans doesn't mean that it has to stay looking just sewn. Giving your denim a vintage blast is easy if you know how to get a worn, and not broken down, look right. Instead of leaving your hem with a perfectly preppy straight edge, take some time to fray the edges and get a distressed style that will turn your jeans from typically traditional to totally terrific.

Step 1

Put on your jeans. Bend down, while still wearing your jeans, and mark the bottoms with white chalk to see where you will fray or shred the denim. Stand up and check the marks to make sure that they are acceptable to you. Wipe off the chalk and repeat the process if needed.

Step 2

Place your jeans face up on a flat surface. Insert a thin utility knife mat or piece of scrap cardboard between the layers of each leg to keep the cuts from going all the way through. Make slits or cuts with the knife or a pair of scissors. Turn the jeans over and repeat the process on the back bottom.

Step 3

Pull the edges, not the hem, of the cuts out to fray the denim fabric fibers. Rub them between your hands to make the bottoms look worn.

Step 4

Throw your jeans into the washing machine and dryer. The spinning of the wash cycle and tumbling of the dryer will further fray the edges without you having to do any actual work.