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How to Cuff Shorts

Cuffed shorts are a summer staple. They can be flattering to nearly every body type. You can sew your cuffs to keep them from rolling down by stitching the inseam and outseam. If you want to avoid sewing, you can use fabric glue. The cuffs will stay after washing.

This is a close look at a  pair of denim shorts with cuffs.

Cuffed shorts are making a comeback. They have a more polished look than cut-off shorts, which makes them ideal for many summer occasions.

It also allows you to customize your shorts. If you want short shorts, you can create them yourself. If you want long shorts, simply use a pair of pants to make them.

Typically, creating cuffed shorts requires sewing. However, you can skip the sewing tutorial and use a no-sew option, needle and thread not required.

Pants vs Shorts for Cuffed Shorts 

The first step is choosing your beginning fabric. There are two basic options for creating cuffed shorts. You can begin with a pair of pants or a pair of shorts. If you have a pair of pants with stains or rips in the leg, you can upcycle them into stylish shorts. Old jeans are perfect for this. You can also purchase pants or shorts from the thrift store and give them new life.

The only real requirement is enough material to create a cuff while maintaining the desired length, so you don’t want to begin with short shorts.

Denim vs. Cotton 

This is a close look at a pair of mustard yellow shorts with cuffs.

When you think of cuffed shorts, your mind likely conjures denim shorts. Adding a cuff is a great alternative to cut-off shorts, but it’s not the only option.

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Khaki or trouser material also works well for creating cuffed shorts. The lighter cotton material is also easier to sew than denim.

Cuff Width and Length

This is a close look at a pair of long denim shorts with cuffs.

This is the key to a great-looking pair of cuffed shorts. Most tutorials suggest rolling up the cuff 3/4 of an inch for the first roll and 1 inch for the second. This is a good starting point. However, the cuff can make your legs look larger or smaller.

If you have larger thighs, a thicker cuff will make your thighs look smaller in comparison. Consider 1 inch for the first roll and 1 1/2 to 2 inches for the second roll.

If you have skinny legs, a dainty cuff is the best choice. 1/2 an inch for the first roll and 3/4 inch for the second will be flattering.

If you have larger thighs, choose shorts that have a loose fit in the leg, particularly for denim or khaki shorts. If you have smaller legs, choose form-fitting shorts.

The cuff should hit above or below the widest part of your thigh, not directly on it for a slimming effect. This draws the eye to a slimmer portion of your leg.

Creating Cuffed Shorts 

This is a close look at a pair of denim pants in the process of being converted into a pair of shorts.

To create cuffed shorts, you’ll start with determining the length. Decide the length you want your finished shorts. It’s best to put them on and mark the length while looking in the mirror.

To determine your seam allowance, decide how thick you want the cuff, and add the length of both rolls. For example, if you choose 3/4 inch and 1-inch rolls, you’ll need 1 3/4 inches to create the cuff. Measure this length beginning at the line you made on the fabric and make a new mark. This is the line you should cut on.

If you want to avoid a visible mark on your shorts, turn them inside out before putting them on.

Cut the shorts to the desired length. If you prefer, you can hem the shorts above the cut to prevent fraying.

However, one of the advantages of cuffed shorts is that the raw edge isn’t visible. You can easily skip this step.

Next, create your rolls. You may need to iron the cuff so it lays properly. You can pin the cuff, so it stays in place.

Sewing Cuffed Shorts vs. No Sew

The easiest way to sew cuffed shorts is to simply stitch the inseam and outseam with a needle where the original stitching is. This keeps the cuffs from unrolling and doesn’t create a visible hem.

If you have a sewing machine, you can use it to stitch the inseam and outseam.

If you don’t want to sew them, you can use fabric glue. Make the cuff and then use fabric glue to attach the cuff to the pant leg.

Cuff Shorts Sewing Pattern

If you are skilled at sewing, you can sew your own shorts from fabric with a sewing pattern. There are patterns for women, men, girls, and boys so you can create the perfect pair of shorts from scratch.

You can also find sewing tutorials that provide a pattern for creating cuffed shorts from pants.

Sewing your own shorts gives you control over the color, cut, size, and waist of the shorts. If you want a pair that you’ll love, consider making your own instead of buying in-store.

Mood Fabrics and Sew Direct offer shorts patterns. You’ll also find a huge selection of patterns on Etsy and Amazon.

Rolled Cuffs on the Fly 

This is a close look at a woman wearing a pair of denim shorts with cuffs at the beach.

Most tutorials focus on permanently creating a cuff. However, you can also create a cuff by rolling your shorts up, and then unrolling when you are finished wearing them.

If you’ve got a pair of cutoffs that you want to class up for the evening or just want to shorten your shorts temporarily, this is a great option.

Roll up the shorts to create a cuff. Spray the cuff with spray starch and then iron them. This will stiffen the sorts and keep the cuff from rolling down. You can also safety pin the cuff from the inside of the shorts. Just pin along the seams.

How to Cuff Shorts FAQs

Can you roll up shorts?

Yes, you can roll up shorts. It’s a good way to dress up shorts or to shorten the length. 

How do you shorten shorts by hand?

There are two ways to shorten shorts. The easiest way is to cuff existing shorts. This makes them an inch or two shorter. For shorter shorts, you’ll need to cut them to the desired length. You can then cuff them. You can also cut them and wear them as cut-offs. 

Are cuffed shorts in style?

Cuffed shorts are classic. They are ideal for people of all ages. Cut-off shorts can be hard to pull off if you are over 40, but cuffed shorts will look great. They are also excellent when dress shorts are required. They also allow you to adjust the length of your shorts to suit your personal style. 

Should I cuff my shorts?

The better question is why wouldn’t you cuff your shorts? They are classy and a style that anyone can pull off. Yes! Cuff your shorts. 

Are store-bought cuffed shorts vs DIY cuffed shorts better?

It really depends on your goal and personal style. With store-bought cuffed shorts, you don’t have to worry about them coming unrolled. However, you are limited to the styles you find in store. When you cuff your own shorts, you have a wider style selection. You can create them from any pair of shorts or pants with enough length. However, creating your own cuffed shorts requires a bit of work. 

What should you wear with cuffed shorts?

Someone can easily dress cuffed shorts up or down. Pair them with a polo, button-up shirt, or blouse to dress up cuffed shorts. For a casual style, pair them with a t-shirt or tank top and sandals or sneakers.