DIY denim distressing: Tips and tricks

DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans


I recently attended a preview of the upcoming Denim Up-Cycling event at McArthurGlen Outlets where we were taught easy tips and tricks to update your denim.

The instructor, Vancouver-based fashion design guru Wen-chee Liu, offered some simple advice for achieving two on-trend denim distressing techniques: tears and ripped hems (as well as a few other ways to upgrade your favourite jeans). 

Check out her tips and tricks below — and be sure to scroll through all the pics so you can see the jeans I up-cycled! Stay tuned for outfit pics with them (because I can't WAIT to wear them!)


How to distress your jeans

What you'll need:

-A pair of jeans (obvsies)
-Sharp scissors
-Tweezers
-Medium-weight sandpaper

First, put on your jeans and mark the areas where you want the distressing to be (i.e.: your knees or pockets), before you pick up your scissors.

Remove your jeans and cut two lines in your denim (no more than one inch apart). This will be the top and bottom of your distressed area or hole. Be careful not to go too close to the side seams as this will damage the overall structure of your denim.

Then, grab your tweezers and begin removing the non-white fibres from the area between the two cuts. The white fibres, and the elastane, will be left behind to form a thin webbing of fabric over the new hole.

Want a more roughed-up look? Grab that 220 sandpaper and rough around the edges of the cut. This will further fray the edges and keep it from looking too, "precious," as Wen-chee calls it.

How to do a ripped hemline

What you'll need:

*same as above! 

First, put your jeans on and mark the length you want them to be. Having trouble getting it right? Ask a friend or family member to assist — or, measure them against your favourite jeans that you love the length of. 

Carefully cut the jeans to the desired length, being careful to not make one shorter than the other. 

Take the sandpaper and/or tweezers to the raw hem and begin pulling out the white fibres. This will create the cool, unfinished look.

Bonus: Want to get that cool letdown-hem look? Grab a pair of cropped or ankle-length jeans in a cool wash. Then, grab a seam ripper. Carefully remove the manufacturer's stitching around the bottom of the pants (the hem) and unroll the denim. The shorter style should allow the jeans to hit you at the perfect spot when the hem is taken down. 




And if you want to learn from Wen-chee yourself, you can attend the Up-Cycling event at McArthurGlen on April 15. Tickets are $10 each and all the proceeds go toward the BC Children's Hospital! Get all the details (and buy tickets!) here.
DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans
Playing around with patch placement. 

DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans
The patch station! Where you can iron on a bunch of goodies. 

DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans
Workstation including playing cards, which can be wrapped in sandpaper before using for better grip and control.

DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans
The pile of amazing patches Wen-Chee bought.

DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans

DIY distressing denim upcycling vancouver mcarthurglen outlet mavi cindy jeans
The sweet spring-inspired work tables at McArthurGlen. 

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