DIY Cropped Flare Jeans (crop or cut off your old jeans: no sewing!)

I have been wanting to find some kick crop (a.k.a. cropped flare) jeans since last spring. I love my skinny jeans, but I also love the idea of some raw-hem cropped flares that are a little looser. I tried Banana Republic’s Cropped Girlfriend jeans which fit really well and looked great on me, but were just too long. On a person with longer legs they would be absolutely perfect loose/slightly flared crops, but on me they just looked like straight-cut raw-hem jeans. Not what I was going for.


Then I requested some cropped flares or kick crops from Stitch Fix. They sent me a pair in my most recent Fix that had great details like a button fly and raw hem, and they did have a nice feel and stretch, but I just didn’t feel like they were very flattering on me (see photo below).

They just give me too much width at the hips in my opinion.


So I was about to give up, but then I decided to cut off an old pair of Gap bootcut jeans. These jeans are an old favorite of mine, purchased back around the year 2002. Yep, that old. Anyway, I have always liked the way they fit, but I quit wearing them a few years ago because they’re bootcut. I know most stylists and fashion magazines have been saying bootcut is still an option, but they just feel dowdy to me at the moment.


Here’s how the cut-off Gap bootcut jeans turned out:


Pretty good if I do say so myself! I am particularly thrilled because this is not my first attempt at cutting off jeans…. In fact, I’ve tried it a few times before with an old favorite pair of straight-cut Levi’s from around the same era (early 2000’s) and they did not turn out very well. Part of the problem was that I cut them off a bit too high. The other problem is the waist is a little higher and the knees and cuffs are about the same width, so they don’t have a great shape for cropped jeans. These good ‘ole bootcut Gap jeans worked perfectly, though.


Here’s what I did to cut them off:

  1. Put the jeans on.
  2. Roll up (cuff) the bottom of the jeans and then see how the length looks in a full-length mirror. Adjust the cuff as necessary.
  3. Cut a little slit or hole at the bottom of the fold/rolled part to mark the length you want to achieve. Repeat this on the other leg.
  4. Take the jeans off lay them on a flat surface and, using the little cuts you made, cut the jeans straight across.
  5. Put the jeans back on and check the length. If it looks good, you’re done!
  6. **To make them perfect, you’ll want to wash and dry them to make your frayed edge softer.

I had NOT yet washed and dried them in the photos here, so they’re not fraying all that much. I can’t wait to see how much better the edges look once they’re frayed a little more. I did pull a few threads to start making the edges a little stringy. I made sure to cut off the long strings — I prefer just short ones all around.


All in all, they turned out much better than I had expected. I would definitely do this again if I had a similar pair of old jeans.


For those of you who prefer new jeans in this style, though, I rounded up a few options, including the really cute Banana Republic ones I was too short-legged for.


Have you had good luck cropping your own jeans? My luck has mostly been bad, but this time it turned out to be really good. If you have any tried-and-true tips for cutting off your old jeans, please share!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these links may result in my earning a small commission. As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

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