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Life Lessons You Learn From Making Jorts

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Measure like five or six times, cut once.

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Photo: Yusuke Nishizawa

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Happy summer! As soon as you’ve unstuck your sweaty butt from whatever chair is unfortunate enough to be nestled beneath it, it’s time to indulge in that most summer-y of activities: making your own jean shorts.

Making jorts is delightful and fulfilling and also exasperating and disheartening, like so many activities on this spinning blue marble. Luckily, doing so leaves you with a plethora (a really small plethora) of knowledge, which you can apply to other aspects of your daily life. Happy jorts-ing!

Always do your prep work.

I know, this is America, birthplace of jazz and improv classes, but really it’s so worth it to do just a tiny bit of research beforehand: Figure out what kind of jeans you’ll need to get the jorts of your dreams, measure on your body, and then measure again because numbers are hard. And while you might want to place your faith in blind luck, sometimes it’s best to allow your brain to overrule your gut.

Don’t let your impulses lead you astray.

Says Emma Alpern, copy editor and generally wise human, “I feel the same way about cutting shorts as I do about cutting bangs. I always end up doing it way too quickly when I'm in a certain impulsive mood. It usually happens when it's suddenly 90 degrees out and I need shorts immediately. My only advice is to start out long (same as bangs) and to fight the urge to cut them while you're wearing them, which will result in weird angles.” Listen, live, laugh, love.

Leave room for error.

You’re better off cutting well below the point where you’d actually like your jorts to hit, because, as in all things, it’s always easier to cut more than to undo an overly enthusiastic job.

But also, learn to live with your mistakes.

Wanted dad jorts and wound up with Daisy Dukes? Don’t sweat it for too long — there will always be more chances, even if it feels like a disaster right now. And hey, maybe you’ll discover an entirely different outfit combo, or know someone else who’d rock them.

Don’t make it too complicated.

Look, we all want fringe and bleach patterns and bedazzled pockets (okay, maybe “all” is a strong word), but applying such fripperies to otherwise perfect jorts is the quickest way to make them not very perfect at all. You’re bound to drop the bleach pen right in the middle of the crotch or burn a hole in the hem with your glue gun. Just keep things simple! Occam’s razor is the only DIY tool you ever truly need.

Only you know what really works for your body / brain / self.

So everyone* appears to be wearing ultra high-waisted, ultra high-cut shorts that you worry would make you look like a denim sausage? Or maybe the trends favor low-slung lil’ numbers that will never jive with your vast collection of summer crop tops? WHO CARES, FRICK A HATER, CUT YOUR JORTS AND LIVE YOUR LIFE HOWSOEVER YOU PLEASE.