There's nothing like hearing your favorite jeans go "rrrrriiiiiippppp" to elicit a foul-mouthed tirade that would make Sarah Silverman blanch. The crumbling economy only makes things more painful -- it's not like you're getting a new pair of Citizens anytime soon. On the bright side, there is something you can do to salvage your shredded duds -- and no, that doesn't mean pulling a move from your grandma's Depression-era playbook and stitching a glaringly obvious patch over the hole. We're here to rescue your denim, not stick the sartorial equivalent of a Band-Aid on it. The tricks below will help you get some extra style mileage.

Keep Trashing
Take a minute and re-frame the situation. That tear through your knee isn't a tragedy, it's the first step toward your very own pair of (free!) super-trendy trashed jeans. Here's how to finish the job: Grab some sandpaper, and rub it across the knees and thighs. Then, grab a knife to continue the ripping. Make a slit, then rub against the edges with your knife until you see white strings going in the opposite direction. Throw them in the washing machine with a little bleach to further age them and fray the cuts. Hello, Spring '09 Balmain.

Click here for four more ways to bring your battered denim back to life.


Cut. It. Out.
So, you bent down and your kneecap busted right through your cherished Siwy jeans. Bummer. Now go get the scissors. As demonstrated by designer Alexander Wang and street-smart muses like Erin Wasson and Alice Dellal, frayed cut-off denim shorts are the pinnacle of cool right now. To get the look, cut the jeans about two inches below booty level, so they're short but not pornographic. Next, throw them in the laundry basket; washing and drying tend to bring out a natural fray. Pull at the frayed ends to get your desired effect, or (carefully!) use scissors or a knife to loosen the edges. Pull them on (with or without black tights), throw on a cami or tee, toss on a black blazer, and you'll be the picture of downtown hip.

Roll with It
If frayed cut-offs are too edgy for your taste, refashion your jeans into rolled-up denim shorts that hit the knee (think Baby in "Dirty Dancing"). Cut the jeans just below the kneecap, pull them on, and fold them over until you get the length you want. Even if a holey knee is your problem, some cleverly rolled-up denim will hide the flaw.

Skirt the Issue

Are your now-baggy jeans having a gender-identity crisis? Let that inner RuPaul out by turning them into a skirt. To get the job done, cut the legs according to your desired skirt length, turn them inside out, and use a seam ripper to take out the seams along the crotch and inseams. Turn the jeans right-side-out again, and work your seam ripper down the outside inseams. Use scissors to cut the front seam up to the zipper. Fold the fabric in place, being sure to smooth out any wrinkles or puckering, and pin it down. All that's left to do is hit the sewing machine, so you can add your new seams.

Seek Professional Help

If you really, really can't bear to part with your ripped jeans and don't want to cut them up, take them to a "denim doctor." Denim Therapy, based in Cincinnati, offers reweaving and other fix-it services for the price of $7/inch. The company color-matches its cotton fibers so that the jeans look as good as new, and without that obvious patchwork effect.