How to Distress Jeans (and leave the white threads)

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As you may remember from my earlier post, “7 Dollar Hollar,” I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect loose fitting, distressed boyfriend jeans – preferably high waisted. And I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money. I’m currently unemployed and lacking in the mula department. The solution? Thrift stores. But dang, it was hard to find these! I checked out 4 different stores before I finally found the perfect pair, but it was so worth it. These have everything on my wish list. They are baggy in the leg, but not too big, the color is a nice vintage blue denim, AND they are high wasited!!! Oh, and only $12. YASSS. The only thing missing was ripped holes. Here’s how I did it:

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(This was how they looked before. They had some distressed marks already)

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What you will need:

  1. Box cutter, or sharp blade
  2. Tweezers
  3. Shaving Razor
  4. Something thick like a piece of wood, cardboard or magazine
  5. Jeans
  6. Marker


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Step 1

Put your jeans on and grab your marker. Mark the starting and ending points of where you want your holes.

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Step 2

Before you cut, insert your hard surface into the pant leg. This is to prevent the box cutter from cutting through to the other side. I happened to have this piece of wood, but cardboard or a magazine would work too.

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Step 3

Using your marks as guidelines, cut slits between your starting and ending points. Leave about 1/2 inch between each slit. The size and shapes of the over all hole is up to you! The wider you cut across, the larger the hole will be.

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Step 4

Here comes the tedious part. Using your tweezers, you will need to pull out the blue threads on each of your little strips that you made. The blue and white threads run perpendicular to each other, meaning opposite ways. The blue threads run up and down from the waistband to the ankles, vertically, and the white threads run side to side, horizontally.

I found that the easiest way to start is to pull out a few white threads from one edge. This leaves the blue threads sticking out and easier to grab. You can look on the reverse side to help you see the white threads. (See picture above).

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(When your all done pulling out the blue threads, you should have something like this!)

Step 5 (optional):

Use the shaving razor to further distress any small areas around the pockets and zipper. Just run the razor over the denim to create some pilling and rough areas. Mine already had some of this detailing to start, but you may want to add more for the cherry on top šŸ˜‰

Step 6:

Wash AND dry your jeans! This is so important. The washer and dryer soften the the threads and make them fray even more, giving the perfect distressed look! Your jeans won’t look right until you complete this step.

You’re finished! Go out and enjoy your new custom distressed denim! I hope this post was helpful. Please leave any questions in the comment forum below. šŸ™‚ ā¤Ā