How To Distress Your Jeans

Kirsty runs Fashion For Lunch and blogs about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She used to be London based, but just moved to the seaside – trading Shoreditch for sea shells in Margate! She loves customising clothing, scouring vintage markets, discovering new perfumes and buying endless numbers of red lipsticks. In this post Kirsty shares her tips for distressing your own jeans at home to save both money, & old jeans from the dustbin!

Earlier this summer I customised a denim jacket with vintage patches and I wore it all season long! I was stopped several times on the street by people asking where I had bought it from – many assumed it was designer jacket. I felt so proud telling them it was cheap and the main thing it cost me was time and effort.

Customising clothes is so much fun and far easier than you might expect. There are so many things you can do to give a new spin to your clothes, but one of the simplest things you can do is distress your denim.

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Want to know more? Here is what you need to do…

First of all, find yourself a pair of jeans which you like, but you think could be a little more exciting. Then have a think about what you want to do to them. Maybe you want them to sit a little shorter around your ankles? Or maybe you want your knees to hang out of them? Perhaps you want to distress them around the hips so the pockets stick out – it’s all possible!

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I wanted my jeans to be a little shorter and sit around my ankles, when they are worn with boots they look really cool and with heels, gives the impression you have super skinny ankles. To achieve this, I chopped off the hem of the jeans rolled them up twice and loosely stitched them by hand. I did big stitches on the inside, and small stitches on the outside, to make my handiwork as discreet as possible.

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To rough up the jeans, I rubbed sandpaper all over the front of them and concentrated on the areas which would normally see most wear, like the knees. It takes a little work, but it scruffs them up nicely. Next I took a pair of scissors and carefully scored the denim with the edge. This helps wear the fabric down a little more and in places, it might start to rip, just a little.

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If you want to lighten the jeans, you need to carefully use bleach. You’ll need a pair of rubber gloves, household bleach and water. Take the jeans outside and dab watered down bleach onto your jeans with a piece of kitchen paper. Again, concentrate the bleach to the areas which would see the most wear, like the knees. Always be careful when using bleach, avoid contact with your skin,don’t let it splash the clothes you are wearing and always use in a well-ventilated area. As always, keep bleach far out of the reach of any little fashionistas that may be about the house. Once the bleach has worked its magic, give them a rinse to remove the remainder of the bleach.

Once the jeans are dry, it’s time to find a Stanley knife and very softly and carefully score the jeans in a cross-hatch motion. Always cut away from yourself and be very gentle. The denim will very quickly start to rip, so do a little at a time. If you just want subtle rips, just score a very small section, very lightly.

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And there we have it, how to distress your denim! Don’t forget to tweet us photos of your handiwork, we want to see!

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