20 Ways to DIY Jeans—Cute Makeover Ideas for Jeans

Okay, I admit that we’re prob not wearing as much denim as we did pre-pandemic, but speaking from experience, putting jeans on is a simple way to “dress up”—if you can even call it that—these days when you’re tired of your go-to leggings and sweats. But if your old jeans don’t really do it for you anymore and you wanna switch things up, there are a ton of makeover and DIY ideas that can change your denim situation.

In general, if you’re a lil bored at home because you’re social distancing, a DIY project is a great way to keep yourself busy and you (hopefully) end up with something super cute to wear at the end.

Jeans are so versatile when it comes to makeovers: You can bleach them, cut them, distress them, and even turn them into totally different pieces like a skirt, top, or dress. Here, we rounded up 20 makeover ideas for your denim, all varying degrees of difficulty and expertise.

But just a heads up that you don’t have to have a sewing machine to pull them off! Though it takes a bit longer, you can opt to hand stitch these transformations, and some don’t require any sewing at all if you don’t trust yourself with a needle. (Same.) Keep scrolling below to get inspired about your jeans again with all these how-to YouTube videos.

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Crop them and keep the original hem

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Sometimes you wanna make your jeans shorter, but you don’t want them to be frayed at the ends. This vid shows exactly how to crop your too-long denim while still keeping the original hem using some sewing. You can do this by hand as well, but a sewing machine helps it go faster.


Crop and fray the hem

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If you don’t mind the frayed look, an easy way to crop jeans is just by taking scissors to the ends and then using tweezers or your fingernails to pull the threads at the bottom. This will give them that edgy look, and you can make the ends as distressed as you want.


Distress your jeans

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Speaking of distressing, here’s a vid that shows how to give your jeans that all-over hole-y look. You can also choose to distress them in just a couple spots using this YouTuber’s same methods if you’d rather not take scissors to the entire pant leg.


Bleach half your jeans

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This trend went viral on TikTok for a reason because it’s actually a pretty simple way to transform any pants. Using a combination of water and bleach, simply brush the liquid on just one side of your pants (front and back), wait for them to dry and lighten, throw them in the wash, and you’re done! The two-tone effect looks so cool, right?


Bleach your jeans a couple shades lighter

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Have a pair of jeans that are a little too dark for your liking? You can lighten them as much or as little as you want depending on how long you soak them in bleach. Watch the vid above for this YouTuber’s tips on how she achieved her results.


Bleach jeans in a pattern

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Taking a sponge brush, dip it in a bleach solution and paint it in a swirled pattern (or really any other shape or design you like), for a fun effect that switches up any plain ol’ denim.


Make criss-cross jeans

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The asymmetrical zipper and button look has been a popular style for a couple years, and the good news is you can totally DIY it! Watch this video above to see how this YouTuber pulls it off.


Make patchwork jeans

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Wow, the end result of these patchwork jeans is so incredible?! Take bits and pieces from other bottoms in various colors and sew them all together to create these amazing franken-jeans.


Make bandana jeans

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Take a collection of bandanas in various colors and attach them to your jeans using fabric glue or by sewing them on for a different kind of patchwork effect.


Combine them with track pants

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At first glance these look like two-tone pants, but the back material is completely different from the front denim piece. Split the side seams of your jeans and transform them into these funky half-track-pants-half-denim bottoms by watching the easy-to-follow video above.


Paint them

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If you have artistic flair, get some fabric paint and go all out on any of your jeans. You’ll make them truly unique by adding a creative, personal touch to them and everyone will compliment you on your skills.


Give your jeans some stripes on the side

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You can achieve this makeover look with bleach or you can do what this YouTuber did and use ribbon along the sides for some ~contrast~. It’s, like, shockingly easy.


Turn your low-waist jeans into high-waist ones

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Yes, it’s possible to make your jeans high-waisted! This requires some more intermediate skills with a sewing machine, but if you put your mind to it, I know you can do it. Watch the video above to see the magical process and try it for yourself.


Resize oversized jeans

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Almost everyone has one of these jeans sitting in their drawers: Jeans that once fit them but are now too baggy or baggy jeans you bought but procrastinated on taking to a tailor. But the good news is you can do it yourself by following the steps of this YouTube vid.


Fix the gap at the back

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This YouTuber tested out a viral TikTok hack to fix that annoying gap at the back, and unsurprisingly it worked super well. You don’t even need a sewing machine for this one! Thread it by hand in the pattern she follows, pull said thread, and it tightens the back in no time.


Turn your jeans into distressed shorts

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An easy makeover idea is to take any jeans and transform them into the perfect summery shorts. This YouTuber frayed them a ton to give them that worn-in look, and even cut holes on the back for a cheeky aesthetic (although this part is def optional). Just a reminder though: Always cut your lines at an angle and never straight across! The shorts will form better to your shape when you make your cuts slightly diagonal.


Turn your jeans into a skirt

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In this case, you have to cut open the side seams and sew a patch of extra denim fabric over the front and back, but it’s worth it for a cute denim mini you know you’ll wear over and over again.


Turn your jeans into a button-up skirt

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This vid is similar to the one above, except there are some extra steps involved to give it the buttons at the front. You can use any buttons you want for a personal feel, weather they’re mismatched ones or luxe-looking gold ones like this YouTuber used.


Turn your jeans into a top

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For the expert sewers out there, you can create a pretty denim crop top with flutter sleeves and zippered back. This video explains the whole process, and even if you’re not an expert sewer, you might want to take on this project after seeing the end result!


Turn your jeans into a dress

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This is another one that will require more work and time, but if you want a hands-on project, you should totally transform your jeans into a cute strapless mini with a foldover top. This YouTuber even made hers without a pattern, so follow her steps for a DIY project that’s worth the effort.

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