DIY: Jean Shorts with Lace Appliqué

Jean shorts with appliqué

I wear cutoff jean shorts often during the summer. I wanted to change things up a bit by adding some lace to a pair. In this DIY post, I’ll show you how to decorate a pair of jean shorts with lace appliqué.

Hoarder that I am, I had a pair of old white curtains with lace appliqué that I was storing for a future project. They weren’t in good enough shape to hang on the windows, but I loved the appliqué and wanted to use it for something.

There are a lot of ways that you can decorate jean shorts with lace. You can put it around the bottom of frayed edges, trim the pockets or add a strip of lace running down the sides. The appliqué on my curtains was made up of large shapes that wouldn’t work as trim around the bottom edges. I decided to sew pieces of the appliqué to the shorts.


To decorate jean shorts with lace appliqué you’ll need these supplies:

  • A pair of jean shorts
    I used some cuffed jeans from Old Navy (similar). I sized up to get a loose fit.
  • Lace
    I cut the appliqué from an old curtain that looks like this vintage Battenburg Lace Curtain on Etsy.
    You can probably find some lace or similar curtains at a thrift shop or flea market. You can also find lots of appliqué on Etsy.
  • Thread that matches the shade of your lace
  • Needle and pins

Tips: I’d recommend using a durable lace that will hold up on a pair of shorts. Wash your shorts, so that they don’t bleed into the lace. Wash the lace to ensure that any shrinkage happens before you sew it onto your shorts.

Decorating your shorts

Now let’s add the appliqué to the shorts.

These shorts have rolled cuffs.

Original jean shorts with rolled cuffs

Unroll the cuffs.

Jean shorts with cuff unrolled

The jeans will look like this before you add the lace.

Jean shorts before adding lace

If needed, cut the sections of appliqué that you want to add. I cut two sets of matching pieces.

Pin the smaller matching pieces to the back pockets. Then sew the appliqué along the edges of the lace. Tack down the center sections of the lace.

Adding lace to jean shorts back pocket

Add the larger pieces of appliqué to the bottom sides of the shorts.

Add more lace to jean shorts

Be careful to tack the appliqué throughout the inside section, so that it is less apt to stick out from the denim.

Here is a shot of the shorts from the front. (Pay no attention to the pale legs. Instead, admire the gorgeous rhododendron behind me.)

Jean shorts with appliqué front view

Here’s a closeup of the appliqué.

Jean shorts with appliqué close up

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