How To DIY Statement Hem Jeans 5 Different Ways

I am all about the statement hem denim trend, but the look can come with a pretty hefty price tag when you’re purchasing it from ready to wear shops. Whether you’re looking to rock a step-hem jean with your favorite slides, scissor-cut hems with sandals, or the rock’n’roll chewed hem with ankle booties, you’d be surprised at how easy this look is to DIY with just a little time and a pair of scissors. It’s also a great way to refashion an old pair of jeans you’ve had sitting in the back of the closet just waiting for their chance at a second life! Read this blog post to find out how to DIY the statement-hem denim trend 5 different ways!


  • For a lot of these styles, you can get away with only using a pair of scissors. However, for styles like the released-hem jean, it’s a lot easier to remove the original hemstitching with a little tool called a seam ripper. You can find these at most craft stores like JoAnn’s + Michaels, but I got mine on Amazon (see here).
  • You can leave your jeans as-is once you’ve cut them, and. they will naturally fray as you continue to wash and wear them over time. However, if you want that “worn in” look now, use some sandpaper (don’t worry, I’ll show you how below!)
  • For styles like the step-hem and cut-off hem, use longer skinny or straight-leg denim. For styles like the released hem, chewed hem, & frayed hem, try shorter styles. Any silhouette works for these three looks (skinny, straight, or bootcut).

1. The Released Hem:

This one is ideal for those jeans you have in your closet that are just a liiiiiittle too short. Using a seam ripper, cut away the thread at the hemline of your jeans and unroll the hem. The jeans will naturally show different color lines from the dyeing process.

2. The Cut-Off Hem

Would you believe that all you do is cut away the hem? For best results, try on your jeans with the shoes you’re most likely to wear with them the most and measure anywhere from 1/2″ to 1″ from the top of the back of the shoe. The point of this style is to show off your ankle and your amazing footwear, so cutting them a bit cropped is best!

3. The Frayed Hem:

After you cut your hem, take a piece of sandpaper and run it along the bottom of the jean. (I used a medium grit since it’s what was on hand). The more you work at it, the more frayed and “fluffy” your hem will become, so you can do this as much as or little as you like depending on what you want your final look to be. It’s not hard to do, but it can get a bit messy, so be warned- denim fluff will get everywhere!

4. The Chewed Hem:

This style requires a bit more work but is well worth it. Cut away the hemline of your jeans to start. Make small snips into the bottom, then rip it a bit for a more rugged look. Do this all around the leg opening. After that, take your sandpaper and go to town. To get a really good “chewed” look, you’re going to have to sand the hell out of the denim. It’s a bit more labor-intensive (which is why this style is more expensive in ready-to-wear shops!) but it makes for an undeniably bad-ass statement!

5. The Step Hem:

You’ll just need a pair of scissors for this one. This is great for a pair of jeans that either slightly too long, or rests right at the top of your foot. Because the back of the jean will be left longer, you just want to make sure it’s not dragging on the ground while wearing your shoes once you’re done. Simply cut off the sewn hem of the denim. Then, determine how high you’d like the front of the jean to sit (it’s best to try this out with a pair of ankle booties you wear often and cut away to the top of the bootie) and cut out a square from the side seams of the jeans. Gotta love a good denim mullet.

Which style is your favorite? If you’d like to see more detail on how to DIY the statement hem denim trend, watch the full step-by-step tutorial on my Youtube channel here.

Happy Making!



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