Updated on January 10, 2022 by Sarina Tariq
Holes on Jeans are made every day. Some are deliberately made, some accidentally, some are rubbed off on them, some develop with simply what bothers us all, Age! I did not even ask my husband how he got this hole in his jeans in this exact place – he will give some reply which will be too much for my innocent ears, I know.
Well, I got a perfectly torn jeans just right for a repair job. So, no questions asked.
Most of the fixing of holes in jeans involves sewing a patch that will cover the hole. A patch is an extra piece of fabric attached on another fabric – this piece of fabric should be large enough to cover the hole – it can be matching the base fabric to blend in or a contrasting one which will stand out.
The patch can be applied from the face of the garment or from under the hole. A decorative patch is applied from the face and all other patches from the back. You should finish the edges of the patch fabric pieces – if it is made of cotton /woven fabric. Other wise the edges will fray. But if you are patching with denim fabric itself you can leave the edges as they are as denim would not fray as much. You can however cut the patch fabric with rounded corners to make them stronger.
Use thread the same color as the jeans for optimal and invisible looks. Some recommend to use navy blue/matching blue color on the top and grey on the back. But if that is not possible use white for denim with white base and dark grey with dark denim. Keep a strand of the thread on top of the jeans and see if it blends in – if it does that is the one you can use.
Anyone can do these jean repairs but if I do it the way I do most things, sloppily and carelessly, that jeans is as good as not repaired. Fixing holes in jeans for the finicky perfectionist people of the world (my husband is one, aarrgh!!) involves careful planning, diligent work and patience.
Fixing holes in jeans – the best methods
1 Patching from under and machine sewing
This is by far my most favorite method – you simply cannot go wrong with it.
Find a woven fabric which is of roughly the same weight as the denim of your jeans or find a denim scrap in the same color. Try to find a fabric in the same color as your jeans.
Tidy up your jeans hole. You can cut out the projecting thread from the hole. They do not help by being there as you repair the hole.
Another option is to turn under the torn edges to the back – this way those threads would not be visible.
Turn your jeans inside out.
Keep the patch you have cut up face down on the hole.
Fix it there. You have many options – You can just baste stitch it there – – just do running stitches loosely to attach the patch – do it around the periphery of the patch- these stitches will later be taken out. Or You can use a fusible to fix it there – a fusible is a thin webbing which can be used to glue two fabrics together when heated with an iron or you can use the glue stick to adhere the patch.
Turn the jeans right side out. You will be stitching from the face of the jeans.
Thread your sewing machine with a thread that closely resembles the color of the jean.
Keep the jeans under your sewing machine – use your free arm to conveniently move the jeans as you stitch. You can use the straight stitch or the zig-zag stitch.
For me straight stitch works and makes stitches that look like the weave of the denim fabric. You have to make straight stitches all over the patch and the joining edge.
I have more than one bend needles as a result of me pulling the denim too enthusiastically. Pull you must, but a little patience will prevent those damaged needles. You can use the reverse lever to go back and forth or just pull the fabric to move the stitches. I recommend the reverse lever, after the fate of my needles.
Make those stitches in the direction the original fabric is woven. Remember denim has a twill type of fabric weave – made diagonally. And that the patch should not rip apart, ever again – be thorough in your stitching.
It is slightly visible, not the invisible mending I hoped for – but because of the distressed look of the jeans it does not look conspicuous- a far cry from the useless jeans it was earlier. In fact, for once my husband was impressed by my sewing “skills”.
2. Hand sewing straight tear
If you have a straight cut tear in your jeans, hand sewing is the easiest method of fixing the tear.
Use interfacing or fabric mending tape under the tear. Keep them under the tear and fix it there with heat.
Use the overcast stitch over the torn edges carefully, with a thread the same color as the jeans.
After everything is patched up nicely, cut off the excess fabric of the patch from the back of the jeans. This is good only for straight cuts. If fabric is lost, this is difficult to do. Patching is the best method then.
3. Attach store bought patches
You get denim colored patches in stores – they have an adhesive in the back of them. You simply need to keep them on top of the hole and iron over it.
You can cut the patch in the shape you want for a fun covering of the hole.
It is not a very permanent solution as the adhesive may wear off after a few washes. But for a quick solution this one is good. You can stitch it for better adherence.
How to apply the Iron-On patches to mend the hole
Keep the patch face up over the hole so that the patch is overlapping atleast 1/4 inch all around the hole – if not use a bigger patch. Iron over this -use the correct heat for denim and use some pressure to fix it properly. If you have to stitch, use zig zag stitches over the edges as you would stitch an applique.
4. Make embroidery stitches over the hole
Mark around the hole with chalk or disappearing ink pen.
Start making stitches in the sequence given in the picture above A-H. Repeat similar stitches across the hole I-P. Do these stitches till you fill the hole.
Use a thick thread or the whole 6 thread of your embroidery skein.
Make stitches to the inside in this sequence.
This is the stitch which will form inside.
5. Attach decorative clothing patches
A decorative clothing patch is usually painted or embroidered with bright colored designs. If the hole is in a place where you can affix such patches (some places may not be suitable for decorative patches, you must know) do so. They are really fun and make a statement. Here are posts on making clothing patches and attaching patches to fabric.
6. Do embroidery after patching from the back
This involves making hand embroidery stitches over the patching .
Keep the patch fabric on the back of the hole and instead of doing any other stitches you can do embroidery stitches over the patch.
These stitches will attach the patch as well as make a decorative element on your jeans.
More details on embroidering on jeans can be found in this post – jeans embroidery here. Here is a Pinterest board with a lot of images with these kind of embroidery done on the holes to make them unrecognizable.
7. Sashiko Stitches on patches
Sashiko embroidery is an age old technique – the way it is done on navy blue fabric with white embroidery makes it a lot similar to what you can do on denim. Here is how to do it. Take a fabric piece that you want to patch on the jeans. It need not be of the same color as the jeans. If it is well and good. People use all kinds of interesting fabrics.
The fabric should cover the hole with some extra inches to spare on all sides.
Keep your fabric piece on top of the hole. Fix it there temporarily with a paper glue stick. (so that it does not shift as you stitch)
Take a long needle meant for embroidery (it should not be too thin as it has to go through denim) and thread it with atleast 4 strands of white embroidery thread (or sashiko thread if you have it). Make running stitches parallel to the edges of the fabric.
Make the stitches in columns very close to each other. Ensure that the stitching lines are parallel to each other.This is how it will look.
8. Make darning stitches to cover the hole
Instead of using another fabric, you can use weaving technique to cover the hole.
Use thread in the same colour as the jeans ( or a different colour for a contrasting effect).
Make straight stitches over the hole vertically.
Then weave through these in “under over under” sequence. You can fully cover the hole with this weaving technique. Ideally you should do the darning from the back. I have done from the front. Both are good, with different effects.
9. Patch with decorative fabrics
Use lace or net or a contrasting colored fabric to patch the hole from the back.
Lace is an all-time favorite for this – the peekaboo effect of the lace from behind the denim hole is a nice way to mend the hole. If you have an interesting print or embroidered fabric you can use that.
10. Cut away the portion and attach another fabric altogether
For the un-salvageable denim this maybe the only way – say a cat mauled the jeans and tore it to shreds – you have no option other than to cut away and keep another fabric and stitch it there. You may have to put your seam ripper to use here – loosen the seam stitching of the jeans to properly do the work. If you do it perfectly it can even be a statement jeans.
Denim is forgiving, which makes the mending of jeans hole a repair work which is easier than any I know. But having no hole is better than getting the hole and struggling to repair it.
There are ways that you can prevent these holes from happening in the first place. You can first of all not wear too tight jeans – they strain the cloth and may create holes, especially if you have the body structure. Using correct laundry techniques will also lessen the chances of holes and tears. The rough and tumble inside a washing machine with too many clothes stuffed inside is enough to strain the toughest of fabrics-denim sure is one. But why strain it?
If your job involves the denim coming into contact with hard things on a continuous basis do preventive measures like adding a patch inside to strengthen the area to make sure that holes are not made there. For eg., If you have a purse with a metal thingy rubbing against your work jeans pocket every day – do reinforce the area to prevent a hole that will develop eventually there.
More on mending tears in clothes here.