Six Denim DIYs That Can Turn Disastrous

Every year around Memorial Day weekend, I take an afternoon to assess and sort through my post-winter denim situation. For cooler summer days, I keep a few lighter washes and distressed pairs in my dresser; meanwhile, heavier styles go straight into storage. Anything that doesn't fall into one of those categories (i.e. jeans I haven't worn for over six months and probably won't wear for the next six, either) gets chopped into shorts.

Assuming that my co-workers had a similar system in place, I mentioned this annual ritual at work last week—and, duuuuude, was I ever wrong. Not only were they shocked and horrified by the idea of homemade cutoffs, but had no shortage of reasons as to why store-bought shorts are better: a looser, more comfortable leg opening, better distressing, no errant frayed strings that go down to your knee.

Soon the conversation shifted to denim DIYs in general and how they never, ever seem to pan out. Below are the six most disastrous repurposed jean projects they've ever encountered. So don't try them yourself. (Except maybe cutoffs, which I still make the old-fashioned way. We just won't tell them that.)

Distressed Jeans

"In my late middle school and early high school years I was really into distressed denim. It was the early 2000s and Abercrombie and Hollister were at their peak—forgive me! But I was on a budget and would always try to DIY-distress them...which of course always failed. I won't go into too much detail, but I know at one point or another I used: nail files, a cheese grater (my dad was pissed the next time taco night rolled around!), rocks, grass (nothing says hardcore like grass stains!), my parents' driveway and bleach (What? Was I trying to make an '80s statement?). I also remember a couple pairs of pants that featured homemade patches, which is worse than a horror show. I will never DIY anything with jeans again." - Hillary McDaniels, Production Assistant

"During high school I went through a major Abercrombie & Fitch pretty much every other teenager during the early 2000s. My craving for the brands' distressed denim styles was an insatiable one, so whenever my allowance ran out or my mother said 'no,' I'd try to replicate them myself using old pairs of jeans. It always seemed so simple, but it was always a disaster. Failed attempts include: a frayed mini skirt, frayed short shorts, cuffed bermuda shorts and countless holes and almost-holes at the knee and thigh of various pairs of flares." - Sarah Ferguson, Production Assistant

Ed note: No, our production assistant did not compare note before sharing these experiences with me! I swear the eerily close similarities between these two stories are total coincidence!