Repairing a Tear in Jeans

It’s the perfect time to fix those ripped knees and tighten those loose buttons, whether you are spring cleaning or self-quarantining. It’s not as hard as it seems to fix your clothes, and it requires few skills and can be very satisfying. Clothing repairs is a simple technique.

Needles, thread, scissors, and straight pins are all you need.

Supplies and setup: You can use this simple patch on ripped knees or other denim rips. Patches are made from discarded scraps of denim or canvas. Cutting an old pair of jeans or a canvas tote bag (the fabric need not be too stretchy) will suffice (the jeans need to be irreparable). The denim and thread color you choose for the patch should closely match that of the jeans. This is helpful if you are repairing the crotch or inner thigh. When sewing through stiff denim, it is helpful to use a thimble to protect your fingers from punctures. Make one out of duct tape if you don’t have one.

Make sure to follow these steps to repair any kind of tears in your jeans.

  1. Your patch material should be 1.5″ bigger all around than the hole. Your jeans should have the right side of the patch material facing out through the hole. If any threads are frayed, cut them to make a nice, neat edge around your hole, and pin the patch in place with straight pins. Alternatively, sewing on a few loose, long stitches at the corners can help hold your patch in place (known as tacking). Once you’ve finished patching, you’ll need to remove the threads.
  2. Practice stitching on an old dish towel or scrap piece of cloth before you get started. Running stitches are an easy way to create this sashiko-inspired patch by pushing the needle up and down, up and down through the fabric. Watch the basics on YouTube if you have any trouble. About 1/4 inch should be spaced between your stitches. In order to achieve perfect lines and stitching, create an outline first with a white fabric pencil.
  3. It’s time to stitch! Begin stitching at the far end of the patch. Pass the needle up and down while weaving up and down the back of the fabric. Bunching up your needle on the fabric allows you to make multiple stitches simultaneously. Do not sew jeans together or to pockets! Keep all bits of fabric separated and do not sew jeans together!
  4. Sew a new line across the patch in the opposite direction at the end of every row, turning the corner on the backside of the fabric. Then repeat, maintaining the same distance between each row. Pull back apart any piece of fabric that is puckering or gathering so that it lays flat. Stitch right across the hole when you reach it.
  5. Finish by sewing your patch to the back of the garment, tying a knot in the thread, and cutting the end of the thread. You can then wash and wear your garment.