DIY Distressed Denim — Hip Jeans for Babies & Toddlers

I love the look of distressed denim on babies. Here are step by step instructions for making distressed denim for babies and toddlers. - DIY Distressed Denim by popular DC mommy blogger Baby Castan on Board

I love the look of distressed denim on babies — if you haven’t noticed Aiden is a total hipster.  As a child of the 90s  I remember distressing my own jeans and thought  I would try the DIY distressed denim technique on some Aiden size jeans. I had all the materials at home already so the only expense was the jeans. The process of distressing jeans is a bit time consuming but I did my first pair while watching tv after Aiden went to bed. It’s fairly mindless which I actually found relaxing. Anyway,  I think they came out great so here are step by step instructions for making your own DIY distressed denim for babies and toddlers.


First, check out this video:

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DIY Distressed Denim – What you need:

  1. Non-stretch jeans — this might be the most difficult part. It took me awhile to find a pair of non-stretch denim. You are looking for 100% cotton denim. Not anything with spandex or nylon (even if it’s a small amount). I found this pair at Gymboree and this pair at Oshkosh.
  2. Chalk marker
  3. Box cutter or Xacto knife
  4. Tweezers
  5. Microplane (cheese grater or zester)
  6. Cardboard
  7. Fray block
  8. Fabric square (optional)

DIY Distressed Denim – What to do:

  1. Put the jeans on your baby and use a chalk marker to mark 1/2 inch above and below the knee.
  2. Take the jeans off and place them on a hard surface.
  3. Place the cardboard between the pant legs and use the Xacto knife to cut slits about 1/2 inch away from each other. For a more natural look make the slits into a diamond shape meaning the slit in the middle is the longest and the two end slits are the shortest.
  4. Using the tweezers, pull the vertical blue threads. Do this slowly so that you don’t rip the horizontal white threads. This step takes a good amount of time, especially if you are going slowly. You can use your thumb to hold the horizontal white threads so that they don’t break as easily.
  5. Once you’ve pulled all the vertical blue threads, go to the top and bottom edges and pull some of the horizontal white threads to give the edges a frayed look.
  6. Use the Xacto knife or scissors to cut any broken white horizontal threads.
  7. Repeat these steps on the other leg. I made the hole on one leg larger than the other for a more natural look.
  8. Use the microplane to scrape the fabric along the pockets and hem line to create a more distressed look. Don’t forget the back pockets!
  9. Use fray block around the edges of the holes if you don’t want additional fraying to happen.

Tip: On the first pair I used the cheese grater, but it broke so the second pair I used the zester and found it worked a little better for the distressed look I was going for.

DIY Distressed Denim – Some optional things to do:

  1. You can sew a piece of scrap fabric behind one (or both) of the holes.
  2. Play with sandpaper (220 grit or higher) for light distressing.
  3. Carefully add a few drops of bleach for a more distressed look.

Don’t have time or patience to distress your own denim, but still love the look? Check out Farm Fresh Denim an Etsy shop with a great selection of distressed denim.  There is also Freshy Pantz (with removable patches) a shop I haven’t ordered from, but have heard good things about. Both take a few weeks to turnaround orders because each pair is hand distressed, so keep that in mind. If you need something faster, Zara has a few options too.

I hope you will try this DIY distressed denim tutorial and post the results on my Facebook page!

If you liked this post check out Small Shop Spotlight: River Babe Threads and Easy DIY Shadowbox of Baby’s Hospital Items.

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I love the look of distressed denim on babies. Here are step by step instructions (including video) for making distressed denim for babies and toddlers.
I love the look of distressed denim on babies. Here are step by step instructions (including video) for making distressed denim for babies and toddlers.






Hi, I’m Melissa! I am a mama to an energetic preschooler and newborn, a wife to my amazing husband Dan, and I work full-time as a meeting planner. I started this blog because, after having my first little guy, I quickly learned that exhaustion and baby brain causes you to forget some of the amazing (sometimes horrible and sometimes wonderful) details related to the first several months of raising a baby. Realizing that we would probably have more kids in the future, I wanted to document everything, so we would remember what worked the first time around, and hopefully help other first time mamas along the way!

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