Raw, frayed edges are the big trend right now in denim. You can pay big bucks to purchase jeans that are pre-frayed, but why would you - it's one of the most therapeutic and beginner-friendly projects that you can do yourself! Here are two ways to fray your own jeans:
Method 1 - Let them out
what you need:
a pair of jeans (you could use a new pair, but old jeans you'd like to update are perfect for this)
a seam ripper (you can find these at any craft store, or even Wal-Mart)
Start by finding the hem stitching on the front side of the jeans. Rip out a few of the stitches with the seam ripper and then flip the hem over to the backside. You'll have loosened enough of the hem that you can run the seam ripper through the seam between the layers of fabric - be sure to keep the garment flat so that you can be sure you're cutting through just the thread and not the denim.
Once you've cut several stitches with the seam ripper, you'll be able to pull the fabric apart with your hands. You should be able to hand-rip it now by holding the bottom side of the hem in one hand and the folded portion of the hem in your other hand and pulling them apart. When you pull the fabric apart, you'll get about 4-5 stitches open before the thread will catch again. Keep alternating between hand-ripping and then cutting the visible thread with the seam ripper until you get all the way around the hem.
Unfold the hem to reveal the raw edge, and pull out the remaining threads. Now all you have to do is wash and iron your garment to enhance the fray and flatten out the hems, and you are done! You should have added a couple of inches to the length of your jeans once this is done. Here are the finished products - A pair of skinny jeans and a denim skirt. The skirt had way more area to cover, and the work only took me about 20 minutes!
Method 2 - Cut them off
what you need:
a pair of jeans (again, old or new... your preference)
a pair of scissors
chalk or a marker
a ruler or measuring tape (optional)
I'm only 5'2", so regular jeans never fit me right. Pretty much my only option is to wear them with heels (or hover magically) if I don't want to drag the bottom 2 inches through the mud. Obviously, I'm crazy about the cutoff trend - it gives me the option to turn any jeans into the perfect length for me without having to touch a sewing machine!
I am not a precise person, so my method of measuring includes as little work as possible. I cuff one leg to the length I'd like the pants to end up, and I mark that line with a marker or with chalk on the inside of the pants. If you'd like, you can measure the amount of fabric you'll be cutting off by starting your tape measure at the bottom of the hem and measuring up to the folded cuff.
Cut the first leg at the mark or measurement, and then fold the jeans exactly in half and cut off the second leg to match the first.
Next it's time to fray the edges. If you throw the jeans in the washing machine, the edges will start to fray naturally. If you'd rather not wait, you can get them started on your own with the sharp edge of a pair of scissors. Run the scissors flat along the cut edge in order to pull out some of the horizontal-running fibers holding the fabric together so that the vertical fibers can hang loose - this becomes your fringe. It's easier to distress denim this way if it doesn't have any stretch, but if you've got stretch denim just keep working with the scissors - the result will be the same in the end.
Here is the finished product - frayed cropped flares!
I hope you enjoy distressing your denim at home - if you need inspiration or some jeans to get you started, drop by your nearest FreeStyle!