The Daisy Duke look is back this year with short shorts and crop tops. Are you tired of your old jeans, or have they shrunk so much that they are too short to wear? Before throwing those jeans away or donating them to Goodwill, consider turning them into shorts. All you need is a pair of scissors, a ruler, and a piece of chalk or some pins.

There are four different lengths for shorts: capri are calf length, Bermuda-style shorts hit right at the knee or just above, classic shorts are three to five inches above the knee, and short shorts have a two to three-inch hemline. Once you’ve determined the style you want, follow these simple directions:

  1. Put your jeans on. Use chalk or a safety pin on the inside seam to mark the desired length for your shorts. The jeans are going to get shorter as they fray or shrink with washing, so consider adding an additional inch below your mark before cutting. If you want to cuff your shorts, add an additional two inches. Remember, you can always cut them shorter, so it is good to err on the longer side.
  2. Lay the jeans on a flat surface.
  3. Align your ruler with the mark. Tilt it slightly up toward the outside of the jeans. You want the crotch to form a slight “v” shape.
  4. Mark a line along the ruler using chalk or straight pins.
  5. Using sharp scissors, cut along the line. Repeat for other leg.

For a fringe edge, simply wash and dry the shorts. The fringe will start automatically. The more you wash, the more it will fray. Remember, you will lose length as you go.

If you don’t want fraying, or want to stop at the current length, you’ll need to stitch a hem. Turn the inside a quarter of an inch and use a sewing machine to secure the hem. Don’t have a sewing machine? Sew by hand or try iron-on hem tape, which you can find at any fabric store, or at WalMart or Target.

To make a cuff, fold the bottom of the shorts twice. Iron the cuffs in place. To secure the cuffs, stitch up the sides. And if you don’t want fraying, stitch about a ¼ inch up from the bottom to make a hem, or use iron-on tape.

Check out this scalloped hem and other cute ideas, like turning your jeans into a skirt or even a crop top.

Bonus tip: If you accidentally cut your shorts too short, buy some lace, which comes in many different lengths, colors, and styles, and glue it on the inside bottom of each leg to make a longer hem.