Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mending Holes in Blue Jeans

When you find that perfect pair that fits just right, don't you wear them until they are threadbare & have a hole or two? I have been thinking that I should try patching a few pairs of my favorite jeans, but I don't personally like the iron-on patch look for adults (or older teens).  It's ok for little girls, since there are some really fun decorative patches that can be added to the denim.

However, I found this awesome tutorial on patching holes in denim jeans.  Ragged, holey jeans are sold in high-end department stores, so here's a great way to duplicate the look for next to nothing and repair your favorite jeans in the process. Abercrombie & Fitch sells "destroyed" jeans for $90-100 a pair.  Here's an example from their website. These shorts retail for $50 a pair.

Abercrombie & Fitch Destroyed Denim Shorts

Why not make your own knock-off from the pair you love so much you just don't want to give them up?  If the legs are beyond repair, you can may your own version of "destroyed" shorts, and save yourself $50 in the process.  You're also helping to save the environment and learning/practicing a great skill at the same time.

So, I decided to head to my machine and see if it really was as easy as Suzannah makes it look in her tutorial. It was! Here we go.

To patch your jeans, you will need:

1. A sewing machine

2. A pair of jeans with a hole torn in them, or just starting to wear thin in a few places.

3. Thread.
I used a blue that was close to the color of my denim, but a neutral tan for the bobbin. When the bobbin ran out, I replaced it with the same blue. Either way, you can't tell. If you want the patched holes to show more, and have more of the "destroyed" look, you'll probably want to use white thread.  You could purchase some denim-colored thread if you want it to match exactly. I just used what I had.

4. A piece of soft iron-on interfacing or a scrap piece of denim. 
You can cut your denim scrap from another pair of jeans that is too small or beyond repair.  You could also use an iron-on denim patch, but it won't be as soft, so you probably want to use the interfacing or soft denim if you are patching the crotch area.

Directions for mending blue jeans:
Cut a piece of soft interfacing that is slightly larger than the hole in your jeans. Iron it on to the inside of the jeans. Head to your sewing machine and on the outside of the jeans, start stitching back and forth -- like a zillion times. You can use a tight zig-zag stitch or you can use a straight stitch. Both worked. I kept my hand on the backstitch knob and just went back and forth over and over until the hole was filled in. That's it! It honestly took less than 10 minutes to repair one hole.

For more detailed instructions, click on the Essential Blue Jean Mending Method from Adventures in Dressmaking.  

Example #1-  Holes by back two pockets of my son's shorts:


Ironed-on piece of soft interfacing on the inside of the jeans.

Another view of the ironed-on interfacing

After: Outside of the back of the shorts after they have been repaired (blue bobbin thread)

Another view of the back

Example #2: Hole next to the bottom pocket
Before: Small hole starting next to the pocket

The inside of the pocket showing the taupe bobbin thread and the interfacing
After: the outside of the pocket (with blue thread & taupe bobbin thread)

It was really easy to patch these jeans! Her tutorial will show you some other examples of ones that she has repaired. The hardest part was when the hole overlapped with a belt loop or pocket corner, since the fabric was much more bulky.  Go slowly when you hit sections like this. I broke two needles because I was a speed demon. What can I say?

Seriously, this is an easy project, and I believe that a beginner sewer could do it. You can't really mess it up too much, and even if you do, they were jeans with a hole in them that you were going to throw out. So, now I am off to scavenge through my drawers for more beloved jeans that need a bit of tender loving care. Happy sewing!


  1. I have a friend on Facebook who posted "it's a little late...but I wish my Mek's didn't rip in the crotch, grrr!" Mek's are about $120 a pair, and apparently they rip quite easily in the crotch, because several of her friends also posted that it had happened to them. This method would definitely work to repair them, if it's too late to take them back.

  2. Glad you liked my tutorial!
    I may put some pics of your great mending in my "You Tried It" section!

  3. How did I miss this?? AWESOME. Since my kids go thru at least one knee per week!!!

  4. Kewl! I was wondering what could I do with some old pairs of jeans I have here lying around. Thanks so much, Natalie!


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