DIY Ripped Jeans – The Expert-Recommended Technique

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Learn how to make DIY ripped jeans properly and have a timeless piece of clothing without spending too much. Ripped jeans have been around for years, and they’re among the most fashionable but expensive because of the careful attention to detail needed to produce them. The good news is you don’t need special tools or advanced sewing skills to turn your regular jeans into trendy ripped styles.

DIY Ripped JeansPinDIY Ripped Jeans


DIY Ripped Jeans vs. Distressed JeansChoosing the Best Pair for DIY Ripped JeansSteps to Making DIY Ripped JeansStep #1: Prepare and Set-UpStep #2: Mark the AreasStep #3: Make HolesStep #4: Reinforce the HolesStep #5: Add Finishing TouchesSuccessfully Making DIY Ripped Jeans

DIY Ripped Jeans vs. Distressed Jeans

Before we discuss the process of making DIY ripped jeans, let’s first differentiate between ripped and distressed jeans. These versatile jeans are often confused or considered the same because they both have a worn-out look. However, there are slight differences that you need to note to ensure you produce the kind of pair you really want.

Generally, ripped jeans look more worn-out than distressed jeans. Distressed jeans can have small cuts or scrapes that look like holes. They also usually have remaining threads. On the contrary, ripped jeans have bigger or more visible cuts, appearing as holes, with the threads usually removed or hanging around the holes. Read more about how to make distressed jeans.

DIY Ripped JeansDIY Ripped JeansPinDIY Ripped Jeans

Choosing the Best Pair for DIY Ripped Jeans

To ensure you achieve a signature style of DIY ripped jeans, you need to use the right pair to start with. Your old, faded jeans are great options not only because they already look worn-out, but they’re also easy to rip. Likewise, it isn’t practical to rip your brand-new pair, but you can do so if you want to. You can also opt for old secondhand jeans sold in thrift stores or at markets.

Choose the right color or wash of the jeans. Light to medium colored pairs are perfect choices since they’ll offer the worn-out or old look that ripped jeans have. On the contrary, dark-washed jeans look freshly dyed, so they won’t look so realistic. You can use them but make sure you fade them out (discussed later) before starting with the actual DIY ripped jeans process.

Style-wise, it doesn’t matter if you choose skinny, boyfriend, and other types of jeans. It’s all up to you. In terms of size, though, ensure the jeans still fit you or have the fit that you’re comfortable wearing.

Cut Jeans into ShortsCut Jeans into ShortsPin

More Jeans

How to Cut Jeans into ShortsHow to Distress JeansHow to Wash JeansHow to Mend Holes in JeansTypes of Jeans

Steps to Making DIY Ripped Jeans

The process of making ripped jeans involves five general steps, and they are:

Prepare and Set-UpMark the AreasMake HolesReinforce the HolesAdd Finishing Touches

Step #1: Prepare and Set-Up

As mentioned, if you have dark-colored jeans, let them fade by bleaching, exposing to the sun, or washing them with hot water a few times. You may also do so with light and mid-washed pairs if you prefer.

Adding patina by soaking the jeans in tea or coffee for at least ten minutes is also a great way to add some used look to the jeans. After doing any or both, wash the jeans before starting the actual process, as it will help soften the material.

While waiting for the jeans to dry, you can start preparing the materials you need to use for your DIY ripped jeans. They include:

Ruler or Meter StickChalk or PencilScissorsCutter or KnifeSandpaper, steel wool, and/or pumice stoneShaverTweezersCardboard or Old Magazine

Step #2: Mark the Areas

Try the jeans on and identify the areas you want to rip. Take your chalk or pencil and ruler and start marking. If you don’t know which areas to rip, here are DIY ripped jeans ideas for beginners:

One or two inches above the knees is better than around the knees as the hole enlarges when the knees bend.Above or near the thighs, but not too high to prevent your underwear from showing.

It’s also best to create horizontal holes the very first time you rip your jeans before experimenting with different shapes. Additionally, the best length of the holes is one inch, while the width should only be as wide as your legs.

However, make sure the holes you plan to include in your DIY ripped jeans have different sizes and are distributed artistically so that the resulting product doesn’t look boring or intentionally ripped (which you really did). For instance, if you create a huge hole in the left leg’s thigh, then on the right leg, move it a little lower, like just above the knee.

Remove your jeans and neaten your markings. Use a ruler and chalk if necessary and double-check the size and position of the holes.

Step #3: Make Holes

There are two different ways to create holes in your pants, so we’ll discuss each of them to determine which works best for you.

Using Scissors

PINCH – Get your scissors and lift the front leg of the jeans, ensuring you slightly pinch or fold the marked area where you want to put a hole. CUT – Cut a small hole of less than half an inch (this will give you a 1 inch hole).RIP – Then, slowly rip the cut area using your hands to make a bigger hole. FRAY – Tug the threads using your fingers to fray the edges. You may also use a pair of tweezers to remove threads. It is up to you whether you leave or cut all the long white threads. REPEAT – Once done, you can proceed to the next area where you want to make a hole for your DIY ripped jeans.

Cutter or Knife

This method of creating holes will take longer than when using a pair of scissors.

PROTECT – The first thing you need to do is place cardboard or a thick magazine between the front and back pant leg.RUB – Next, take sandpaper, pumice stone, or steel wool and rub the marked area. You can also alternate between the three tools. This step will help make the denim thinner so that you can easily and quickly create holes. How long this will take will depend on how thick the material is, so have a little patience.SLICE – Once the area appears a little thinner than usual, take your cutter or knife. Using its edge, slice through the marked area back and forth until you create a hole. Then, slowly rip the cut area using your hands to make a bigger hole and tug the threads using your fingers or tweezers.REPEAT – Once done, you can proceed to the next area where you want to make a hole for your DIY ripped jeans.Pin

Step #4: Reinforce the Holes

Reinforcing the holes you made on your DIY ripped jeans will help prevent them from getting any bigger. Of course, if you want them to keep expanding, you can skip this step.

You need to get a white or blue thread matching thread. (I have marked the hole in yellow just so you could see better)Then, sew around the hole’s perimeter using a machine straight stitch, or a hand running stitch or backstitch.


Step #5: Add Finishing Touches

Once you’re happy with your DIY ripped jeans, it’s time to add some finishing touches by fraying, scraping, fading, and/or shredding some of the parts. More distressed touches will enhance your ripped jeans’ style.

Here are some of the things that you can do:

Scrape and/or Shred: Without removing the cardboard or magazine, start scraping some areas of your DIY ripped jeans with sandpaper, pumice stone, or steel wool. Do so until they lighten or thin out. You can also start shredding some scraped areas with the help of a razor. Fray: With your scissors, start fraying the bottom of the legs’ edges. Just slightly cut them with your scissors and remove the fibers with your tweezers. Another way to fray the edges is to scrape them off with sandpaper or a shaver. The pockets are also among the best parts of your DIY ripped jeans that you can fray since they’re usually the first ones to wear out naturally. All you have to do is make a tiny cut at the top part, making sure it’s not too deep. Then, remove some of the fibers or threads with your tweezers.Fade: You can make some areas look older than the rest of the jeans, giving them more spunk. The best places to fade out are the buttocks and knees. You can just scrape them with sandpaper or shaver.

Once you’re satisfied, wear your DIY ripped jeans and stand in front of the mirror. Do they look good? Do you need to rip and distress them more? If yes, then mark more areas where you want to rip or distress while wearing the jeans. Once you’re satisfied, wash your ripped jeans to remove the markings, and you’re done!

Successfully Making DIY Ripped Jeans

Congratulations! You just successfully made some custom-made ripped jeans! Keep in mind that the guide we shared isn’t exclusive to pants. You can also use it for your denim shorts, skirts, and jackets. Just remember that the secret to having stylish DIY ripped jeans is not focusing on perfection and not going overboard. Meaning, the ripped areas don’t have to be perfectly aligned and cut, and you don’t have to add too many holes. That’s why adding some distressed touches as well is advisable. Lastly, take some time to practice with jeans that no longer fit you well before ripping the ones you want to wear. Good luck and have fun!

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