No-Sew Scalloped Shorts DIY



Happy Black Friday! This is the perfect DIY to inexpensively satisfy your personal shopping urges if you’ve been spending your cash on Christmas gifts for others. I found a wooly pair of tweed shorts for $3 at the thrift store and was inspired to turn them into a funky-fall/winter look.

Here’s what you need for the project:

  • Long high-waisted shorts (easily thrifted!)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric pen (or Sharpie, as I used)
  • Tape measure
  • Fray Check


Step One:

Trim the length of the shorts. I did this a couple of times, trying them on after each time to see how the length felt on me. Be sure to save some room for the scallops- they will shorten the length a bit.


Step Two:

Measure the width of the leg. I wanted 3 1/2 scallops across the leg, so I divided this length by 3.5 and found a circular object around the house that matched this diameter. It just so happened that a candle lid worked perfectly! You can always fudge the diameter a little, but if you are going to do this, I suggest using a washable fabric marker rather than a Sharpie for the next step.


Step Three:

Trace the circular object across the width of the fronts and backs of each leg. A fabric pen would probably be better for this step, but I had confidence, and more importantly, I did not have a fabric pen. :)


Step Four:

Use super sharp fabric scissors to carefully cut on the inside of where you drew the semi-circles. I definitely suggest cutting the fronts and the backs separately to avoid any tragic mistakes.


Step Five:

Add a light coat of fray check to the edge of the shorts. When it dries, trim any slightly uneven spots or frays that are hanging out.

That’s it! Super easy, right? The great thing about this project is that it utilizes old shorts that you can easily find for about 2-4 dollars at the thrift store. So if you mess up, you’re not out a significant amount of money. Paired with tights, this particular pair of wool shorts is perfect for the colder months, but I think I’ll try larger scallops on some lightweight shorts next summer.


33 Responses

  1. holy cow this is great. And seems so easy! I will have to find wool shorts immediately……

  2. Chaucee says:

    Thanks for posting this! I’m definitely going to give it a try.

  3. Kara says:

    Oh man, I love this Mandi!

  4. Phara says:

    Brilliant idea!

  5. omg, you’re my hero!! best diy EVER!!!

  6. Becky says:

    What a great idea! Also, I love the shoes…where are they from?

  7. Cherie Faye says:

    You make it look so easy! I think I’ll give it a try, wish me luck!

  8. Mandi says:

    Becky, I got the shoes in 2008 (?) from Dillards. They are Rampage shoes, just regular ol’ T-straps. :)

  9. Awesome job. They look great!!

  10. Jenni says:

    What a great idea! It looks so easy, too, even for impatient people who cant’ sew (like me!) I think I have those same shoes, too. :D

  11. Erin says:

    You do know how to rock scalloped wool shorts!

  12. Lauren says:

    Awwww, I wish I saw this before today! I was op-shopping with a friend and she picked up a pair of shorts that would have been perfect to do this to. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll find another pair.

  13. Lynn says:

    thank a you for this terrifico idea! i’m so gonna try this on a lame/plain skirt that’s been hanging for so long. you always are so inspiring!

  14. jess says:

    cool idea! i will def have to try this out for the winter season and then again for some spring looks,
    thanks for sharing :))
    happy holidazze
    jess s//

  15. kathy says:

    These look great- i’m going to give it a go too! x

  16. jessica says:

    that is the coolest idea ever! Im off to find a suitable pair of shorts to try this with!Thanks!

  17. sPam says:

    I’ve been looking for a pair of scalloped hem pants and I didn’t know I could magically find em in my own closet! This is super. Thanks! :D

  18. cb says:

    found your diy from a beautiful mess , so so awesome! a great new way to look at thrifted shorts as there are always tons!!! thanks for sharing your brilliance!

  19. Krissy says:

    Hi, I’m also here from A Beautiful Mess blog and I LOVE this project…so cute! Before I read your instructions, I was thinking “How did she get the scallops so perfect and even?”. Aha…trace a circular object! Brilliant! Will definitely be trying this over the holidays!

  20. Miki says:

    I’ve also seen this on Elsie’s blog; what a cool idea! I don’t know how to sew so this is an original way to pimp a pair of pants for such a non-skillful person like me. Thanks for sharing! :) Cool blog, too!

  21. chelsea says:

    this is so incredibly awesome and I have a pair of light green wool pants that I cut intending to hem. think I’ll do this instead!!! thanks!!

  22. kiley says:

    this is fabulous! i am so trying it this weekend…i’ve been lusting for scalloped shorts-why didn’t i think of this?!!?!

  23. Ruby Murray says:

    Thank you so much for this great tutorial, I’ll be trying it soon for sure and I also linked to it on my refashion blog here

  24. Shriya says:

    I tried this yesterday and it worked wonderfully!
    here’s my outcome-
    thank you for the tutorial :)

  25. renee says:

    I Loooooooooooooove this, I made some with jeans, got black stockings,want to wear this with an over sized mans white shirt,should i wearblack heels, or white flats?

  26. Felicia says:

    This post completely made my day! I’ll be heading to the thrift store int near future!
    I also have a pair of shorts just like this that I’ve been meaning to sew. I am now rethinking that…haha

  27. islabell says:

    i love this tutorial. Such a wonderful idea. I had no idea that fray check stuff even existed

  28. zhing says:

    so cute! :) i’ve been battling with sewing scallops all summer who knew that fraycheck was the answer! :)

  29. Emily says:

    This has totally reminded me to do this! My housemate did it and it looked really good :) take a look at my photo blog: and a fashion blog i’m also part of:

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