Distressed jeans are the in thing right now, specifically because they look well worn out. Distressed clothing is any garment that is made to look dirty or ripped during the manufacturing process.

For some reason, distressed jeans have made their way back into our closets of late, probably because they look stylish, cool and casual at the same time.

Intentional damage

Unlike normal jeans, distressed jeans are damaged in such a way that they look aged and worn out. The damage can be caused by abrading them with friction, chemicals or even bleach (for the classic faded designs). New jeans that look distressed are usually bleached to give the trademark faded look. The bleaching can cover the entire garment, or may be applied to cover part of the legs. The chemicals and bleach also serve to weaken the fabric, giving the fragile, threadbare appearance. The worn outlook can also be achieved through Stonewashing.

Tears, Holes and Rips

As is the rage today, distressed jeans can come with holes and tears to add to the old, worn out look. The holes and shreds vary, with some brands preferring slight cuts and rips, and some designers going all the way to tear the garments up. The edges are not seamed, allowing them to continue fraying. The bottom hems can also be abrased with sandpaper to make it look more worn out.

Home-made distressed jeans

If you have a thing for crafts and embroidery, then you can also make yourself a pair of distressed jeans from regular jeans in your closet. If you have some ancient jeans that you want to give a new life to, then distressing them is the perfect way to give them a new lease of life.

You will need bleaching solution that will be used to fade and weaken the denim fiber. You can use chalk to mark the areas you want to add rips and holes, then using small scissors, make holes at the areas you had previously marked with chalk. You can use a seam ripper to make crosswise tears at the knees and hem.

Make sure you slip on the jeans before beginning the process so that you can have the best view of where you’d like to create the holes and tears. After marking the spots, insert an old magazine into the leg to prevent the scissors (or a box cutter if you have one) from cutting through both layers of fabric.

If you are using a box cutter, slice through the fabric in horizontal strips. They don’t have to be equal in length. You can opt for two strips, each about two inches from the knee for the classic ripped look. Use short slicing motions, creating longer slices as you approach the mid-section of the area you want to slice through then end with short slicing motions. This gives a more natural look.

You can now use tweezers to fray out the ripped area. Pull out the vertical threads to leave horizontal threads hanging onto the fabric. You can skip alternate strips for a more defined look. Allow the frayed edges to remain as they are, or you can use sandpaper to braise the bottom hem. The result is a pair of distressed jeans that will look trendy as part of a casual outfit.