Easy DIY: Denim Shorts with Side Stripe


I love me some denim shorts.  I wear them pretty much all summer.  I probably have about 10 pairs……

That said, I decided I wanted to spice things up a little with my cut-offs and try a few DIYs.  The first is really simple – adding a side stripe along the seam.  You can do this with or without a sewing machine.  I used a sewing machine because it is faster and nap time is only so long at my house.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pair of denim cut-offs
  • scissors
  • 0.5-1 metres of trim
  • sewing machine or needle/thread
  • clear nail polishimg_7139-1.jpg


Step One:  Find the right pair of shorts. And select your trim.

This looks best with shorts that have a raw edge and aren’t cuffed.  And you don’t want the shorts to be too tight.

Now you need to find the perfect trim.

I used a denim looking trim with white and red striping along the sides and I love the way it turned out.  I just bought a metre from FabricLand for $3.  I probably only needed 0.5 metres but I always like to buy more than less because there is nothing worse than having to go back to the store mid-project.  I also think a red velvet strip would look cute or white on  darker wash.  Really anything goes.  Just make sure you don’t get a stretchy trim because it wont sit right.

Step Two: Cut the trim to length.

You want to place the top of the trim about 0.5 inches above the bottom of the waistband and then run the trim down the side seam leaving about 0.5 inches of trim below the bottom of the frayed of the shorts. This will be the length of your trim.  Its always better to leave it a little longer than you think you will need then you can cut it to size after is stitched on. So err on the side of too long at this stage.


Step Three: Hand stitch the top of the trim.

The top of the trim will meet the bottom of the waistband and the right side of the trim is going to be over the of the side seam of the denim, essentially covering the seam of the denim.

Take the cut piece of trim and fold 0.5 inches of the top of the trim under.  This will create a clean edge that will run along the bottom of the waistband.  Place this on your shorts so that the top meets the waist band and the right side just covers the seam of the denim.

Now you are going to stitch the top of the trim to the shorts.  I like hand stitching along the top because you can hide the stitches better plus the denim is so thick in this section that the sewing machine can be hard to maneuver.

You want your thread to match the trim so you don’t see it at all.  I used white.

Sep Four: Add a little nail polish to the underside of the trim that was rolled under.

This helps seal the edge so it doesn’t fray more.  You can always use your sewing machine zig zag stitch to seal the edge as well but I was lazy. If you use the zig zag stitch do this before you stitch the trim to the shorts.

Step Five: Stitch both sides of the trim to the shorts.

You want to stitch as close as possible to the sides  of the trim so the trim lays flat.  I used the sewing machine for this and it was really fast.

Be careful of the pockets, I always accidentally stitch pockets closed when I am doing stuff like this.


Step Six : Finish the bottom.

I didn’t stitch along the bottom, instead I left about 0.5 inches of trim hanging below the shorts and again I sealed it with nail polish.  I kept the edge of the trim with a raw hem to match the frayed edge of the shorts.

And voila, you have side trimmed shorts.  The nice thing about this is that you can just take the trim off with a seam ripper if you get sick of it and you are left with your original shorts underneath.

Now I must go buy more trim.  These turned out so cute  that I want to do a pair of jeans.



And if you are looking for more easy DIYs, try adding pretty pockets to your cut-offs.  Tutorial here.

Happy Sewing




2 thoughts on “Easy DIY: Denim Shorts with Side Stripe

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