DIY distressed jeans

Not the greatest pic, but I love my distressed jeans

Not the greatest pic, but I love my distressed jeans

I have been looking for a great pair of distressed jeans for ages.

I bought a great pair at H&M and that’s when the bug really bit. That said, I hate the idea of spending R400 on a pair of jeans with holes in them. It just hurts. I also struggle to find jeans with the right distressing. All the pairs I see online just look pretentious or like the dog got hold of them. I like my distressing to look more natural and subtle. Unfortunately, those are normally the expensive ones!

So I decided to take things into my own hands. I selected a pair of jeans I already own and decided to distress them myself.

The first thing I did was scour the internet looking for pictures of jeans with the type of distressing that would work for me. The pair of jeans I chose are a darker wash but have fading and whiskering on them and I thought they would work quite well. They are skinny, but I’m good with that. I’ll work my way up to boyfriend eventually.

When I knew what kind of distressing I liked I put the jeans on, stood in front of a full-length mirror and marked where I wanted the distressing to be with a piece of chalk. I decided to work on both knees, down the right leg, and the left pocket. I also decided to work on the back pockets. I also make the decision to keep the distressing small. I could always add more later if I wanted.

I then gathered my tools and got to work. I quickly figured out that scissors should be used sparingly. The cuts are too hard and straight. My preferred tool ended up being our cheese grater. I would rub a small patch of denim on the grater until I had the level of wear I wanted or created a hole. I also liked using a pair of tweezers to pull out the blue threads leaving being the white threads. This is the look I most enjoy in distressed denim.

When you have achieved the look you want, put the jeans back on. I suggest stopping before you think you’re done to check your progress. When I put my jeans on I saw that I needed more distress in on the knees – they needed to be wider. The side patches looked good, but could also do with being a bit bigger. I found that by working slow and trying on I got to the exact look I wanted.

When you’re done throw the jeans in the wash to get rid of the remnants of fluff and left over threads. Once they are dry you can rock your new distressed jeans. I am so happy with how mine turned out!

Final tips:

Go slow. You can always add distressing, but you can’t take it away. Take your time and get it right. Try on, try on, try on!

Start small. A small hole will also expand naturally as you wear the jeans and will add to the effortless look you’re trying to achieve.

Keep distressing to areas they would naturally occur for a more authentic look.

Experiment with different tools. I really liked the effect the cheese grater gave. You could also try sandpaper, a pumice stone etc. Tweezers are a must, though.


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