TUTORIAL: Short Skinnies

by Dana on August 22, 2012

I love how easy it is to find colorful skinny pants these days. Forever 21, Target, H&M, GAP, Old Navy. Hooray! And when I was in Calif this summer I went crazy and bought 4 pairs from Forever 21. They’re actually twill pants, rather than jeans and are so super comfortable (they fit in the back!…no low-risers).But the downside to all this fabulousness is that I live in Texas. And summer is still here for a few more months.
So my sister-in-law Laura (who also bought 4 pairs) had a brilliant idea.
What if we bought some extra pairs and cut them off into skinny shorts?”
Um. Doi.
YES!!

(Oh, did I mention the pants only cost $15? )
Life just got better.
So I bought 2 pairs of yellow and got fixin’ to cut.
(okay I never say that).
Voila. Short skinnies! or…Skinny Shorts
You have two options here:
- Simply cut them off, let the ends fray, and have good old “cut offs”. Or,
- Give them a new hem so they look like store-bought shorts.

Here’s what I did.
• First wash/dry your pants with the method you intend to do all the time.
• I wanted to see how the fabric would fray so first I chopped off the pants at the ankle, washed/dried, and the results are below. I liked how the edges frayed. But I wanted something more polished. So….
• Put the pants on and pin or mark where they hit the middle of your knee. You can make them any length of course but I think they look best at the knee (any shorter and they start to look like biker shorts, in my opinion).
• Give yourself padding and draw a new hem line at least 1 1/2 inches (or even 2 if you’re nervous) below the knee mark.
• Cut them off, iron the edge under a 1/2 inch, then iron it under another 1/2 inch. Then try them on again to see if they’re where you’d like. If not, trim a little more and repeat.
• Pin/sew the cuff in place using a matching thread color.
You’re done!
Two different looks:
I love having options!
and a mini-me tagalong.
Now I need to go back and buy another pair of turquoise and teal.
Forever 21 you forever kill me.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 crystal August 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

super cute! I’ve done this before with stretchy, boring denim but I never thought to try it with COLOR! You are genius! :)

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2 Twins Squared August 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Great idea! You and Lucy are too cute by the way! O.K. so Casey was taking pictures of you. Owen was taking pictures of Casey. Lucy was in the pictures with you. Clara…? I’m picturing her hanging out in her carrier, smiling and kicking those little chubby legs. By the way you have the best husband ever for taking such nice pictures of you. Let’s just say we do not have similar results over here. :)

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3 Palak August 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Ijust have to say… you have the best walls! These would be great for capris too!

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4 Caren Adams August 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I love it! You totally rock those skinnies! I would have to do some other kind of pants (um, what is the opposite of skinnies? Yeah, they don’t make those…). But I love the idea. Did you use your double needle?
I have no experience with denim, but I have two pair of my husband’s jeans that are not hemmed (seriously, they are 42 inch inseams or something ridiculous like that!). I’m going to have to bite the bullet and try it . Thanks for helping my confidence, chickie!!!

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5 Jenna at Homeslice August 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I did this to a couple pairs of my skinnies that were getting holes in the knees. Perfect solution. Your yellow ones are really cute- love them!

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6 Aliya August 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I was hoping the cut off parts were made into part of shorts for Lucy. :) But I guess there’s less fabric at the end of skinny jeans then there is at the end of the bootcuts I buy.

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7 katie chaffee August 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

How come you have 3 kids and can still wear stuff from forever 21? I weigh the same, wear the same size as before my 3 kids, but those low rise pants just look TERRIBLE!

Love the yellow!

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8 Meagan Briggs August 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I Live in HOT Florida and I am kicking myself why I never thought of this…AH! I want to buy these now so I will have them for next year. I am currently 8.5 months pregnant and so it wouldn’t work now and then it is fall/winter, but I am thinking, these are PERFECT for next summer.

You’re the BEST, Dana. Seriously! Your tutorials have saved my life!

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9 Jennifer August 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

N fair you got 2 pairs each olor! I have beenlooking everywhere all summer for these geat colors will try again at the stores you mentioned and I do like the shorts, cute and wouldbe work appropriate too, unil winter comes here in MA

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10 Jen August 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Cute great way to make capris too!

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11 Kelli August 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Darn it…now when I go to the big city on Friday I’ve GOT to run into Forever 21. When my husband sees that I went to the mall on the credit card bill–I will blame you. ‘kay? But when I show him how cute I am in my skinny shorts he will forget all about the bill, so…we’ll call it even!

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12 patty August 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm

lol…so funny

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13 patty August 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Dana,
I have to say that I love your pictures, your projects and also your great sense of humor!!! I wish I could be this talented! You are the perfect wife : )
Patty

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14 Nancy August 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

They look great!

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15 jakki August 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

i love your blog and have just figured out how to link your blog to mine – i’m a newbie to blogging – and i used to live in pasadena too – scotland now. I upcycle and wouldn’t mind getting my hands on the bits you cut off and transforming them into something funky.

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16 jakki August 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

sorry, do you mind sharing how you do the mosaic thing with your photos?

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17 Kristin August 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

So cute! Especially love the photos with Lucy. Haha, I didn’t know you liked yellow…! ;)

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18 jakki August 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm

ooh, gonna try that, so simple, i like your style i was thinking i might have to learn photoshop or something boring!

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19 Jen August 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

What a great idea! I love the colors!

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20 emily August 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

those forever 21 pants fit you SO well. Its so great to find a store that fits your body perfect. I love the shorts too.

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21 Shelly August 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I need a post about shopping at Forever 21. I just moved to a city that has one and was so excited to shop there based on all the cute pants you get, but I just can’t figure out the store. It’s so big and there are so many sections – where do I find the skinny jeans? Or even just t-shirts?

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22 Dana August 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

It is a really big store and actually, annoying :).
You just have to search and search, going through everything. You might find a really cute shirt that’s not your size and there’s no way to find where the other sizes might be. And the staff is a bunch of 15 year old girls.
So…
that’s what you’re up against. :)
Ask them where the skinny pants are in bright colors and they might know what you’re talking about!
they have really fun accessories, hair things, and sunglasses too.

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23 Lisa August 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I do this all the time with my jeans/pants or my kids’ when they get holes. I usually look in the discount racks at Target and once found 2 pairs of colorful girls’ pants for $3.48 each! Chopped them off then my daughter had cute shorts that weren’t too short for her age. I also have narrowed wide leg jeans into a straight leg for myself.

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24 Line August 23, 2012 at 2:42 am

How I wish I lived in the US… or at least I could go to the US at least once a year! I so love the teal pair (& the idea of having jeans that fit in the back!!!): no way I can fin such a pair in France.
Dana, why don’t you, as an influential blogger, suggest Forever21 to open more stores in France AND to carry the American lines? I’m sure they would listen to you ;-)
Have a lovely day!
linedupuy(at)hotmail(dot)fr

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25 SY August 23, 2012 at 2:54 am

Ahh. these look fabulous. I did this recently with some linen and cargo pants I rarely wore since we live in sunny FL and saved the bottom halves to alter for my little 1.5 year old girl. Now we had matching pants!
Just bought your book from amazon and am still going through it. learning so much about the different fabric types. Thanks!

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26 amanda (simplemittens) August 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

super cute!

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27 angela August 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

That is a great idea…and super cute. But wait, didn’t you just have a baby? How is it possible for you to look so fabulous in skinnies? I’m a wee bit jealous.

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28 Melissa Shultz August 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

A-Dor-A-Ble! Love the pants/jeans and the pictures. I need to do this with some of my pants that are too short. Thanks for showing my how to get nice professional results with the hem.

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29 Sarah August 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Um… you just had a baby. No fair that you can wear skinny jeans… or even skinny shorts for that matter! You look great. Great idea!

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30 mel August 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

ahhh!!! i’ve been too afraid to buy the coloured skinny jeans/pants but i would totally do THIS!! i’ve got to do this asap!

thanks again! :)

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31 kerry August 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

I figured out a little trick with cut-offs – if you sew just above where you cut, then the fray won’t go any higher (this is what the stores do when you buy already-frayed hems). I tried it on my sons & it works perfect! I still <3 Forever 21 and I'm almost 40!

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32 Lisa August 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm

love love love all the colors!! i may need to hop on over if i earn a little extra money vending at my christmas market in october. maybe they’ll still be waiting for me!

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