How to Make Torn or Ripped Denim Jeans


Authored by Neal F. Litherland in Clothing 
Published on 01-09-2010

Though some people might find ripped or torn denim jeans to be a strange fashion statement from the 1980’s (along with big hair and leopard print), the fashion is making something of a comeback. Just like in the 80’s however stores are selling pre-ripped or pre-torn jeans at jacked up prices. If all you want is to make a fashion statement with a pair of torn up denim jeans, then it’s fairly easy to make a pair yourself.

First and foremost get yourself a pair of denim jeans. Make sure they’re in the color that you want, and that you aren’t going to want them back after this process is complete. It may be a good idea to buy a couple of pairs from the Salvation Army or a Goodwill store to make sure that you get the general look right before attempting the modify a good pair of jeans. You’ll also need a pair of scissors, a marking tool such as a piece of chalk or a washable marker, and possibly a pocket knife.

Once you have all of your equipment on hand, evaluate the pair of jeans you’re working on. Ask yourself where you want them to be torn. The knees are a good starting point for most people. Simply cut lengthwise with your scissors until a small hole is opened. Then work your fingers into the hole and tear the material until you have a hole that’s the size you want. It may help to draw out with a piece of chalk or with a washable marker just where the hole should end. As you’re tearing observe how the denim reacts, which way the fabric tears, and how much pressure you need to exert in order to make it rip.

If the knees aren’t the area that you’d like, select some other areas on the jeans. Typically these should be places that aren’t structurally important, and which are relatively tight over the flesh of a certain area. For both genders the meaty area of the thigh is one idea. Women often put small tears in the butt, typically where the legs of the jeans begin. Experiment with different areas, and make sure that you try the jeans on after you tear them to see if the tear looks the way you had hoped it would look when you began. Once you’ve gotten a general idea for how denim tears, move on to the ideal pair of jeans and begin inserting your tears in them.

A word of caution; tears in jeans will get worse over time. As you wash them more threads will come undone, giving your jeans that unraveling look. The pre-torn areas will widen and split further, and eventually the jeans will either have to be patched over, or a reinforcing seam will have to be sewn around the tears so that they don’t get any larger. Regardless you should keep a careful eye on your jeans after their torn to make sure that they’re stylish, but that they aren’t falling apart on you.


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