We showed you the stylish Summer appeal of cutoffs and how to wear them, but do you know how to make the best cutoff short from those old jeans of yours? We turned to one of the hippest chicks we know, Chantel Valentene, who is the designer behind premium denim label Resin. Resin denim — sold at boutiques like Shopbop and Barneys — is known for incredible feel and impeccable fit, so we asked Chantel — with her foolproof tips for making cutoff shorts for Summer that won't be too short, too long, or too uneven — to be our resident cutoffs expert (and model).
How to make perfect cutoffs after the jump, and then be sure to watch our diy video.
The Short: The Casual Everyday Cutoff (using Resin's men's jean in a size 32)
Occasion: All day, every day. "Granted they are way too big for me, but I love wearing these shorts. They're so comfortable, so relaxed, so chill, so we are going to make these into a pair of tomboy shorts."
Step 1: Invert and Smooth: "Whenever you're working with something that is 100-percent cotton you want to turn it inside out, it usually helps, because you can make sure you don’t cut through your pockets — they're so long you would never know you were cutting a short short. Then smooth the pant legs down straight."
Step 2 Measure: "Since the rise is so long we cut them pretty short, because they’ll hang down pretty low on our bodies. I’ll do a 2 or 3 inch inseam, but we start at 3 inches. We're going to curve the inseam up because on men’s jeans they're so baggy that following the curve of the pocket makes them a little bit sexier. I’ll measure it out from my crotch point 3 inches with my measuring tape."
Step 3: Even It Out: "You want to match your point. Fold it over, making sure the crotch is folded, so you can make sure you're at the exact same point on both sides because the worst thing is uneven shorts!"
Step 4: Customize: "Give it some fray. Usually what I would do is throw them into the washing machine and don’t cut it off, so the fray looks more authentic. But you can create a fray easily: start rubbing the shorts legs together to create fabric friction. Start pulling some of your yarns out. And it works really well when your fabric is 100-percent cotton, because there is no kind of spandex to draw it back so the cotton just lays flat. A lot of men’s jeans are 100 percent cotton and a lot of boyfriend-fitting jeans are a 100-percent cotton, so that’s fine."
The Short: Sleek Bermuda Cutoff (using Resin's double-coated black skinnies)
Occasion: A Night Out. "I’m really a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, but you can do a fancy tank top or a beaded shirt if you’re going out at night, and/or a denim jacket with it. I would wear it with a white tee and a hat. Maybe a really awesome blazer, a long blazer. I’d do that."
Step 1: Measure the length, either for a 5- or 7-inch inseam: "I am going to cut it at 7” then see if I like. And if I don’t, I can go up shorter. The worst thing to do would be to cut it at five inches and you hate it, but then you’re stuck. Start measuring from your crotch point.
Step 2 Cut: "Cut one side first, then the other. Never cut both sides at one time or don’t try to cut straight across. Cut the front piece first then the back piece. Put a little incision at your starting point. Then cut straight across on my top layer only and make sure it’s laying flat. Use the back end of your scissors, because that’s always the sharpest point."
Step 3: Even It Out: You want to match your point. Fold it over, making sure the crotch is folded, so you can make sure you're at the exact same point on both sides."
Step 4: Customize: "I nip the sides 'cause I like to fold them up. Jeans get narrower to your knee, so when you're cuffing it up you split it a little bit to give more room and avoid sausage leg."
Rules For Creating the Perfect Cutoff: