How To: Cuffed/Rolled Shorts

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Step 18: Done Cuffed Denim Shorts

I had a pair of jeans in my closet, possibly from high school, with ridiculous flaired legs, circa 2002. Not.acceptable.

And so continues the week of destroying all the old jeans in my closet, with these rolled cuff shorts.

Step 0: Materials
Step 0: Rolled Jean Shorts Process

You'll need: scissors, a pen/pencil, measuring tape, needle, thread, and a sewing machine.
The jeans you choose to convert should probably be a little looser-fitting than the average stretchy skinny jean. The look these days is "boyfriend shorts" which just implies some slack in the hips area.

A Note on Procedure
It should be noted that you could just cut the jeans and roll them up to get a similar look, although, considering that jeans taper downward, toward the knee, the rolled cuff might be too tight for the thigh. It is for this reason we're employing (basically) the method illustrated above: taking fabric from a wider part of the pant leg to make the cuff the right, tapered width. This will give you a better looking and better fitting garment.

Step 1: Measure and Mark Pants At Desired Length, Then Cut
Step 1: Measure and Mark Pants

Mark your jeans where you want to shorten them, plus an extra 1/2". Here I marked the jeans at 7.5 inches from the inseam, since I want them to be about 7 inches long (eventually there will be a 3 inch cuff).

Step 2: Cut Pants At Mark

Cut the pants at the mark you made. You now have the shorts, plus the legs of the pants. You might want to check at this point that the shorts are of a desired length. You can always make them shorter at this stage :)

Step 2: Turn the Pant Legs Upside Down
Step 3a: Turn the Pant Legs Upside Down

Turn the pant legs upside down, so the edge of the shorts overlaps with the ankle of the pants.

Step 3: Line the Leg and Shorts Up at Same Width/Diameter and Cut
Step 3b: Line the Shorts Up With the Pant-legs and Cut

Line the edge of the shorts up with the pant-legs at the point where they have the same width/diameter. Cut the pant-legs along the line where the shorts-edge is (i.e., the blue dashed line in the photo).

Step 4: Trim Pant Leg Sliver to be the Cuff
Step 4: Trim Pant Leg Sliver to be the Cuff

You now have a small strip of the pants-leg to serve as a cuff (remember, we have to do the cuff this way because the top of pants are tapered. If you just rolled up the cuff, then the roll might be too tight). Trim it to your desired length, plus 1 inch. In this case, I have a 3.5" strip, so I'll have a 2.5-inch cuff.

Step 5: Repeat for Other Leg & Line Up Properly
Step 5: Repeat for Other Leg

Repeat the previous process for the other shorts-leg. You now have the shorts with two cuff-pieces, they should be shaped sort of like an hour glass (the illustration points this out).

The seamed and topstitched hems should be alternated, as shown in the photo.

Additionally, you may want to mark which side is the thinner side of the cuffs, my little triangles are highlighted in the illustration. This will help you align the right part of the cuff with the shorts-edges.

Step 6: Flip Cuff Inside Out, Thinnest Side Down
Step 6: Flip Cuff Inside Out, Thinnest Side Down

Flip the cuff-piece inside out, making sure to mis-match the seam and topstitched edges as shown. In the photo, you can see that the thinnest side (marked by the triangle) is pointing downwards.

Step 7: Slip the Cuff Inside the Shorts
Step 7: Slip the Cuff Inside the Shorts

Slip the inside-out cuff inside of the shorts, lining the equal-diameter edges with each other, as shown. The thinner side of the cuff should be lined up with the shorts-edge (the blue triangle in the photo signifies the thinner side).

Step 8: Pin the Cuff Inside the Shorts, then Sew Half Inch Seam Allowance
Step 8: Pin the Cuff and Shorts to Prepare for Sewing

Pin the cuff inside of the shorts, and sew a half inch seam allowance, as shown.
Step 9: Sew Half Inch Seam Allowance

Step 9: Flip the Cuff Out of Shorts and Iron Seam Upwards
Step 10: Flip the Cuff Out of Shorts

When you're done sewing, flip the cuff outside of the shorts. The "right side" of the cuff fabric should be showing. Be sure to push the seam upwards, as shown in the photo.
Step 11: Iron Seam Upwards

Iron the seam between the shorts and cuff so the edges are pointed upwards, towards the top of the shorts.

Step 10: Fold the Bottom 1/2" of Cuff Up & Iron in Place
Step 12: Fold the Bottom 1/2" of Cuff Up

Fold the bottom half inch of the cuff up onto itself, as shown in the photo, and then iron in place.
Step 13: Iron the Half Inch Fold

Step 11: Fold the Cuff Up with the Seam 1/8" Inside the Fold, Then Iron
Step 14a: Fold the Cuff Up Step 14b: Be Sure to Leave the Seam 1/8" from the Center

Begin to fold the cuff up, as you want it to appear in the final stage...but you don't want to fold directly on the seam. Be sure to leave the seam about an 1/8" inside of the shorts. You can see in the photo that the seam is 1/8" from the edge. Iron the inside of the cuff, as shown.
Step 15: Iron the Inside of the Cuff

Step 12: Attach Cuff with Hidden Stitch

Using a hidden stitch (either slip stitch, or a cleverly done running stitch), attach the top of the cuff to the shorts.

Here is a decent video tutorial for the hidden stitch. But really, all you need to do is use a simple running stitch to attach the shorts fabric to the hidden 1/2" ironed cuff-fabric (as shown in the cutaway illustration above).
Step 16: Attach Cuff with Hidden Stitch

Step 13: Repeat for Other Shorts Leg
Step 17: Hidden Stitch from the Outside

The image above shows the hidden stitch from the outside of the cuff. You might be able to see some indentations, but you cannot actually see the thread, since the two pieces of fabric that are attached are hidden from view.

Step 14: Done!
Step18: Completed Rolled Shorts

Now I just have one more pair of jeans left to modify...

I should mention that this tutorial was borrowed from Adventures in Dressmaking, but I thought I could illustrate the process a little better for some non-sewers.


Adventures in Dressmaking said...

Great job, hope you don't mind if I share pics of yours on my "You Tried It!"
Thanks for citing my tute!

iris said...

Haha, yeah, go for it :)

Stephanie Kay said...

Thanks Iris! This was such a clear and easy to understand tutorial. I really appreciate your diagrams and detailed instructions. Earlier this summer I TOTALLY thought to myself, "Hey! I can make those stylish cuffed shorts EASILY with a pair of old jeans... just cut 'em and cuff 'em, right?" WRONG. My thighs ended up looking and feeling like two little stuffed sausages. I can't wait to try this! Keep these awesome tutorials coming, please :)

iris said...

Thanks, Stephanie! I felt this technique was a little too tricky without some diagrams. Lots and lots of diagrams ;)

My Misadventures in Motherhood said...

I love, LOVE, LOVE this tutorial!! Thank you for the super-clear diagrams and great photos along the way!!

Do you have any idea how many times I've tried to to do this on my OWN JEANS, and just ended up looking like my legs were stuffed into sausage casings??

I LOVE LOVE, LOVE your trick!

And, actually, I'm even a more bit excited about hemming my HUSBAND'S jeans into shorts. I cannot find any "preppy" denim shorts for men anymore... they just don't exist. Everything is cut-up or deliberately distressed, and he hates that look!

Do men even WEAR cuffed jeans anyway? Or is that just a girl thing?

Anyway, I know I can use this trick for my daughter's adorable little jeans that she's getting WAY too tall for but still fit her perfectly in her skinny little legs and around her waist!

So what do you think about cuffed jeans for men? Should I just skip them altogether and do a European hem on the shorts? (like I do on all my jeans, because, you know, I'm EXTREMELY vertically challenged! LOL

Thoughts? :)

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