Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DIY Shorts Pt. I: Cutting, Bleaching, and Distressing

After cutting my first pair of shorts, experimenting with distressing for the first time, and dying as well as studding (and even employing my mediocre sewing skills), I decided I wanted more.

I headed out to a local second hand shop, and bought the only two pairs of jeans I could find that fit me. Many other pairs were large, but if there had been more, I would have so bought them up (they were pretty cheap). One pair was plain, and the other a Guess pair with a peace sign on one back pocket. To my delight, the Guess pair had zippers on the bottom. Guess who will be making more zipper shorts?

Taking them home, I cut them. I left one pair long, having in mind I'd try fringing them. Fringe shirts have worked out well for me in the past, why not try bottoms?

After cutting them, I threw the long pair in a bucket filled with bleach mixed with water. Here's a shot of the bleach I used, the bucket in the laundry sink, a beat up towel, and gloves. Make sure you're wearing something you don't care about, bleach splashes easily!

I had no idea how long it would take, but after an hour passed, I added the rest of the bleach. Oddly enough, the long pair took most of the afternoon, and turned a very pale yellow. Expecting the second pair to take just as long, I threw them in and left the room. Within half an hour they were white (which surprised me when I returned to check up on them). I still have no idea why the first pair took so long, but I suppose I'll never know. Below is the first pair soaking, and the second pair white.

Last time I dyed my shorts, I expected a mustard color, closer perhaps to a brown, especially after using dark yellows to dye my shorts. I was surprised when they came out a little more green - but of course, I had not bleached them, and thought the light blue wouldn't effect it so much. This time, I got smart and bleached test strips cut from the legs, that way I can test dyes on them to make sure I have the colors I want. Below is what they looked like unbleached. I left one zipper on the front of that one short leg, showing how I plan on sewing it. I will cut out the middle, and probably sew fabric between the zipper (after dying the shorts).

Shortly after, I began to cut the fringe on the legs of the first pair.

This made a lot of lint...

While shortening one end, I accidentally cut one fringe. It was just too noticeable to leave. So, I cut every other fringe off, which actually made them look better (in my opinion).

When I was finished with those, I started distressing the second pair on the front and back, using my Swiss army knife. I am debating whether or not to distress the fringe pair, which are already pretty busy. But, I have distressed the second pair, both on the front side that will not have the zipper, and the back pocket that isn't studded into the peace sign.

I am thinking of studding one front side completely of the fringe pair (evenly spaced studs). I am still thinking of colors for both. Ideas for how I should dye? What colors I should use? Or use of studs? Comment! :] Stay tuned for my progress once I get back to school. That's where the dying and sewing fun starts!


  1. Hi! I love your blog so so much :). I am now following. If you can check my blog and maybe join that would great. Thanks for your time.

    Steven B.

  2. Those shorts look awesome!

  3. These shorts look so funky, what a a great find in a thrift shop. I'm gonna check out part 2 now :)