How to Distress Denim Jeans

Give your jeans the perfect worn-in look by
distressing them with different methods. We’ll go over some tips on distressing with
sand paper, wire brush, razor and scissors and a straight pin. Each one can give you a different look and
you can choose your favorite or mix and match. Before we get started, realize that not all
denim will distress in the same way. Lighter weight denim will be more susceptible
to distressing than heavier weight. Also, don’t expect these methods to necessarily
work for stretch jeans as the spandex in the fibers might not fray in the same way as regular
denim. Let’s start with sandpaper. For more distress, use a courser grit. I’m using 60. For something more subtle, use a finer grit,
like 150. With a piece of sandpaper, start rubbing the
area that you want distressed. If you’re using a finer sandpaper or lightly
sanding the denim, you’ll notice that it’s not distressing as much as making the denim
softer. With 60 grit sandpaper, you’ll eventually
start ending up with holes in your denim like this. Next, let’s try the wire brush. You can find one of these in the paint department
at your local hardware store. When using sandpaper or wire brush, you may
want to put a piece of cardboard in the leg so you’re only distressing one side of the
leg without affecting the other side. The wire brush is similar to the sandpaper. Just start running the wire bristles over
the fabric with force. You’ll notice the fibers will start to loosen. A real distressed look takes a little patience
but it’ll get there. Here’s what I did with the wire brush. When using a razor, consider using a box cutter
or shaving razor so you have a safe handle to hold onto and less of a chance of getting
injured. Carefully, run the razor perpendicular over
the fabric. Make sure not to cut or slash the fabric. I like doing this effect on edges of my pockets
or on hemlines. Stop when the distress level is to your liking. Here’s what I did on my pocket. By using scissors and a straight pin, or safety
pin, you can create holes with frayed threads running across it. To start, choose your location on your jeans
and cut a slit with your scissors. Look at the wrong side of the jeans and you
should see the white color threads. Very carefully with your straight pin start
pulling the white threads away from the blue threads You’ll want to do this very gently, especially
if you want the threads to stay attached on both sides. Keep pulling threads until the area is your
desired size. The blue threads around the hole will look
frayed. You can either keep them or carefully trim
them. Here’s one I made with slitting at the bottom
and top. You can remove some of the white strands if
you want it to look more sparse. Distressing your jeans will make the fibers
in the area weaker, so realize that it can become more distressed over time. To speed up your jeans aging process try these
simple tricks to make sure your new jeans are always in fashion. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Please subscribe to get notified of our weekly
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  1. I'm a costume maker and have been looking to find ways to distress costumes to make them look used, and/or old. Have you used these methods on other fabrics? Do you have any tips for distressing/weathering costumes?

  2. Other than for costume, I disagree with purposely distressing clothing. It makes them not last as long and is inauthentic. Instead, try using second-hand clothing, or simply wearing them regularly and doing things in them that would distress them – like gardening, construction work, or heavy outdoors play.

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