How To Cut Your Jeans for a DIY Raw Hem

I’ve had a ton of questions about how to cut your jeans for a DIY raw hem, so I finally got around to making a video about it. It’s a rudimentary video at best, but it should do the job.

Fashion DIY Tutorial: How To Cut Your Jeans for a Raw Hem

Jeans with a raw hem is very on trend these days, so there’s really no need to take your jeans to a tailor if they’re too long.

I mean, you certainly can if you want a traditional hem; but if you like the raw hem look, you can easily cut off your jeans right at home. All you need is a pair of sharp scissors.

I have a pair of dressmaker’s shears from my quilting days, but a regular pair of all-purpose scissors will work just fine as long as they’re good and sharp. (The newer, the better.)

Before you start snipping, you’ll need to figure out the length you want. There are two ways to do this.

How to Determine the Right Length

There is no one right length for everyone. You’ll have to figure out what is going to work best for you and the jeans you are cutting. It depends on your body type, personal preference, and the shoes you will wear with them.

There are two ways to determine the right length for your jeans:

#1. Use an existing pair that you like as a guide.

This is the easiest way, and how I did it in the video. You just lay them both out, with the pair that’s the guide on top, and cut.

#2. Try them on and cuff to find the length you like.

The other option is to try on the jeans with the shoes you will most likely wear with them, and tuck the hem of the jeans under to see how they look.

Trying them on with shoes is key here. The jeans I’m cutting look fine with sandals and ballet flats, but when I wear them with sneakers, they fall into the top of the shoe and it looks sloppy.

Style Tip: You will look slimmer if you allow some ankle to show. Here’s my before-and-after, for example.

outfit details

Adjust until you like them, and then mark the spot with an ink pen or by snipping a tiny slit right where you will want to cut them.

You only need to do this on one leg, because you will fold the jeans and line up the hems before you start cutting.

How To Cut Your Jeans

Once you know the length you want, you will want to button your jeans and fold them neatly in half.

Fashion DIY Tutorial: How To Cut Your Jeans for a Raw Hem

Lay them on a flat surface and smooth them out so the hems on both legs are lined up straight.

If you are cutting based on your own marking, make sure the marked leg is on top.

If you are using another pair as a guide, fold that pair the same way and lay them on top of the pair you are going to cut, lining them up from the bottom of the inseam. (Watch the video to see what I mean.)

Fold the bottom leg under and out of the way. (You will cut the one on top first.)

If you are cutting based on your own marking, use that mark as your guide, and start cutting, trying to keep a straight line.

If you are using the other pair as a guide, cut along the edge of that pair.

Then you unfold the bottom leg, smooth them out to make sure they’re even, and cut the bottom leg, using the top leg as a guide.

Go slowly, and stay as close to the cut hem from the top leg as possible. And that’s it!

Try them on again to be sure you like them. You can always cut more off, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Once you put them through the washing machine, they will start to fray naturally and look great. This is how they look after washing…

DIY Fashion Tutorial: How To Cut Your Jeans for a Raw Hem

If you want to speed the process along, you can use your scissors to snip small cuts along the edges and use your fingers to start the fraying, but that really isn’t necessary unless you want to wear them right away.

Okay, here’s the video I made. It is kind of slow… I didn’t get fancy, so it’s just a straight shoot, but it’s less than 10 minutes, if you want to see the process in action.

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28 thoughts on “How To Cut Your Jeans for a DIY Raw Hem

  1. Love this post! Thank you! Gives me something to do today. I prefer the raw hem look on my jeans and agree, above the ankle is more flattering.

    Can you do a post on how to achieve the cool non-tie laces on your sneakers. I recently purchased a pair of Golden Goose and have no idea how to do that!

    1. Yeah, you can either pull them into your shoe and tuck them under the insole of the sneaker. Or if you want to knot them like I did, you just pull them tight, fold it over, and make a knot.

  2. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years. Also, on some of mine blue jeans I use an old emery board to rough up the end and it helps give a lighter color and more natural distressed look to the bottom.

  3. Thank you so much for doing this post!!  I am wondering if frayed hems are going to stay in style for years to come since I keep my jeans forever.  What are your thought?  I hope you are able to get outside some today.  How is your hip feeling?

    1. I think so, it’s just too easy.

      My hip is no better. Kind of frustrating, but it is what it is. When this stupid quarantine gets lifted, I need to figure out what to do about it.

  4. Thank you, Jo-Lynne. I need to cut a pair I just bought. One question. What about the side seams? Do you need to secure those so they don’t unravel?

  5. Great post!  I cut a pair awhile back and it was nerve wracking.  Ha ha  This post makes me want to go cut a few more now!  Very helpful!

  6. I’ve found that my jeans fray various amounts depending on the material. I don’t mind a little fray but I had a pair from Madewell that frayed extensively every time I washed them. They were super fluffy at the bottoms and looked a little silly. So I bought some fray check liquid seams from amazon and problem solved!

  7. I need to do this with a pair that I bought recently. But ack, I don’t have any decent scissors anymore. Anyone got any recommendations that I can order online?

  8. Always enjoy your posts Jo-Lynne. I get all of my fashion trend advice from the handful of bloggers I follow online. But as a blogger, I’m curious where you get your sense of the new trends and information you share with us. Thanks!

  9. Thanks for such an informative video. You saved me from buying a new pair of jeans 🙂

  10. Thank u for sharing this made my life a lot easier im only 4’11 and the struggle is real I wear a 7 to 10 and they r always too long its so frustrating!!

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