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.)


"Making cutoffs out of looser-fitting jeans can work—I've done it, which means it's idiot-proof!—but for the love of god, NEVER try to make a kicky denim skirt out of your old blues. Leave the, erm, crotchal region intact and you wind up with a weirdly low front panel that juts out (the jokes will write themselves); cut it off, and you end up with a skirt so short it's essentially a belt. There's a reason the patterns for skirts and pants are different, people!" - Elana Fishman, Senior Digital Editor