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Denim in Distress

Ameka Ameka

I don’t know if ya’ll saw the cuteness that was Paige Hemmis on the Home & Family show last week? She was rocking my DIY distressed denim overalls like a #girlboss!

Denim is back in a mega way … I mean, did it ever go out? I am loving the double denim trend (adorable) except when it was Britney & JT … that was a swing and a miss. Denim shorts, denim vests, denim jackets and of course the denim overalls have made a triumphant return.

If you have held on to those much loved denim overalls “just in-case” since the early 90s or maybe even long before I was a glimmer in my mothers eye,┬áit’s time to bust em’ out like Busta Rhymes. You can turn those old favs into new favs with a little #DIYstyle love.

denim distress

You will need

  • Overalls (or any old denim that you want to distress)
  • chalk
  • sandpaper
  • fabric scissors
  • tweezers
  • spray paint
  • painters tape
  • paint brush or songs for touch ups
  • Flower ribbon
  • fabric glue


  1. Try your overalls on and mark in chalk where you would like your distressed sections to be. I like the distressed areas to look as if it were where the fabric would naturally wear and tear overtime, but you can go as crazy as you like.
  2. Take off your overalls, throw on some sweats and get crafting! Lay your overalls across a generous sized flat surface that is easy to work on. I used our craft table!
  3. Using sand paper, rub back and forth across the areas that you have marked in chalk. You can be as vigorous or as light with your sanding as you like. I was heavier handed on the areas I wanted to have more worn and used look and lighter in other areas.
  4. With a pair of fabric scissors you will then need to make cuts where appropriate (between those chalk lines) to start distressing your denim. It’s all up to you how “distressed” you get. For my project the knees and thigh sections were where I wanted to make my denim look super worn and distressed. I made several cuts between my chalk marked areas, 2-3 inches wide and 1/2 and inch apart from one another. For example over the knee I had several cuts.
  5. You will notice that in the cuts of your denim you have both blue and white thread. The blue thread will be vertical and the white horizontal. With each cut in the fabric take your tweezers and carefully remove the blue threads. This will leave the underlay of white thread exposed which gives that distressed and worn out look. The more blue threads you pull the more distressed it looks so tweeze away until you have reached your desired result!
  6. Repeat this step for each section you wish to distress.
  7. Once finished distressing your denim take the painters tape and tape off around the outside of the distressed areas. Turn your overalls inside out and repeat this step.
  8. Using pink spray paint (or whatever colour you would like to feature) hold the spray can 15 inches away and spray the distressed areas of your denim and allow the paint to dry.
  9. Turn your overalls back the right way and assess you colour that has come through on the distressed parts of your denim overalls. If you feel like you would like the colour to be a little less spastic and more intense take your point brush or sponge and paint very carefully by hand the areas you would like to add a little more colour.
  10. Allow denim to dry and remove painters tape from both the inside and out.
  11. The last step is to add any embellishments to you overalls. I chose some cute white floral ribbon with pink centres – they helped to tie in paige’s signature boho look.
  12. Take your ribbon and measure how long you need it. Stretch from the start of your strap to the back and repeat on the other side. Fix your ribbon into place using fabric glue.
  13. Voila! You are complete … cute … new … fun & unique denim to you. It’s personalised and because it’s your design and creativity no one else will have the exact same pair which I love!
  14. Finally, throw them on with your favourite tee or tank and get to work!

These overalls also make for a cute summer coverup if your on summer vaccay over your swimsuit, or they make for the perfect festival outfit with some cute boots, braids, dip dyed hair and a boho hat! The best thing is because you created them, they are totally unique to you and your style and you won’t have to worry about someone turning up with a case of “who wore it better”.

I hope you enjoyed my Style Makeover! Share your DIY style makeovers with us on Instagram and twitter and make sure you tag @paigehemmis @amekajane and hashtag #DIYstyle

Ameka Jane


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