Hem Your Summer Cut Offs: Create a Controlled Frayed Edge or Hem

Stop the Fabric From Unraveling

@jamiesue / Twenty20

Creating cut offs from your old jeans is a summertime favorite but have you ever had the fraying get out of control so those cut-offs were exposing more than you intended? If you don't control how far the fraying can go, it will go beyond where you intended because in most cases, the fabric grain is not straight round the leg so your "fashion fringe" may end up showing off much more than you intended.

If you want your cut-offs to last for many summers. this simple step will keep the fraying where you want it and not beyond. 

Add in how economical it is to just cut off ragged jeans to have a new pair of shorts and they become even more appealing. The only problem seems to be how to have that cut off edge stop fraying and keep some modesty intact.
A simple line of stitching can prevent the fraying from going beyond where you want it.

Here's how:

  • Mark the jeans to the length you want the shorts. (Measure from the floor all the way around the leg to have a straight hem.)
  • Cautiously cut the jeans off leaving a couple inches extra to fray. You can always cut more off but you can't sew it back on and have the original look that you were aiming for when you started.
  • Thread your sewing machine with thread that matches the color of the fabric as closely as possible. Denim Thread may be perfect for this sewing task.
  • Sew a straight line of stitching around the edge at the desired length of the shorts that you originally marked. This stitching can be a shortened straight stitch or a narrow zigzag stitch. If you are sewing a stretch fabric, maintain that stretch by using a stretch stitch.
  • Start pulling out the threads from the cut edge below the stitching, starting at the cut edge.
  • Comb out the threads and trim off those that stay attached. Do not force the threads that want to resist being removed from the fabric since your stitching is probably what is preventing those fibers from coming loose.
  • Wash and dry the shorts for the finished effect.
  • Trim wandering threads fraying for the desired effect but leave the line of stitching in tact to prevent the fraying from going further.