I’m going to be honest: I’m not the most creative person. The first post that I wrote about sewing was inspired by a conveniently timed rip in a pillow. I gulped when I realized that Home Eccers are interested in learning more mending techniques. As a childless housewife whose husband spends his days behind a desk, I simply don’t have much mending to do beyond a fallen hem or dropped button. (Lest you think I don’t have the repair skills to tackle tougher projects, I feel compelled to mention that my husband spent his undergraduate years doing manual labor, while I spent those years mending the constantly torn clothes that resulted.)
All of that to say: I got to the point where I was actively considering buying torn trousers at a thrift store. Not excited by the idea of spending money on torn clothes, I decided to do one more look through my long forgotten drawer of blue jeans—and it was there that I found the answer to my problem.
While I haven’t worn trousers in the past couple of years, I used to wear jeans every day. Since I only loved a few of my pairs of jeans, those few pairs got more than a little torn up, and I chose not to do anything about the holes. (Give me a break. They were stylish then!) Given the fact that ratty jeans are most decidedly not stylish, I wouldn’t wear them out of the house if you paid me. So, I figured now would be the perfect time to teach you how to mend a hole in a pair of jeans.
Before we get started, I have a couple of warnings. First, the instructions are written based on the assumption that you’ve read the Home Ec 101 post How to Repair an Unraveled Seam, so if you haven’t, read it before you continue. Second, this technique is best used on smaller holes. In my experience, it doesn’t work as well on large knee holes and, unfortunately, it is not a miracle cure. Your jeans are torn and will never look new again. I’m sorry. 🙁 It’s just one of those facts of life. Don’t worry, though! Once you see the results, your old favorite jeans may just become your new favorite jeans.
Home Eccers, thread your needles, and let’s get mendin’!
What You’ll Need:
- one pair of holey jeans
- one pair of jeans you don’t mind cutting up (or a half yard of denim)
- pinking shears (not optional)
- sewing scissors
- straight pins
- a fine tipped, large eyed needle
- thread, matching or contrasting
Step 1: Measure the hole that needs to be patched, plus an inch on each side. Use your pinking shears to cut an appropriately sized patch out of your scrap jeans. Be sure to save the scrap jeans for future repairs! Lay the patch over the hole to double check the size.
Step 2: Take the jeans you’re mending, turn them inside out, then lay them flat on a large, flat surface (may I recommend a clean floor?) Place the patch wrong side up over the hole on the jeans. Making sure neither the jeans nor patch are wrinkled, carefully place pins around the edges of the patch. Make sure you don’t poke your pin through both layers of the jeans! Being careful not to poke your fingers with the pins, turn the jeans right side out.
Step 3: To make your thread strong enough to patch jeans, measure out an arm’s length of thread four times over. Carefully line up all four ends of the threads and lick them before twisting the end of the threads together to make something like embroidery floss. Thread and knot your needle as you learned in steps 4, 5, and 6 the last sewing post. Once you’re done, you should have “thread” that’s eight strands thick. If you can’t manage to get all four threads into the eye of your needle, you can use three or two strands of thread, but please don’t use just one!
Step 4: As we did in step 7 of our last project, start your stitching from the wrong side of the jeans to hide the knot. Be sure to keep your stitches about a half an inch away from the tear to allow for future unraveling. If you’re not a handy freehand sewer, feel free to use a regular ol’ piece of chalk (or a pencil) to draw a guideline around the hole. Don’t worry, it will easily wash out.
Straight stitch around the hole (on top of your guideline, if you’re using one). If, during your sewing, you find that the fabric between your stitches looks puckered or bunched, gently pull on the fabric to loosen the stitches. Be sure to check for puckering often; the sooner you fix it, the easier it will be.
When you get to the end do not reinforce your work as we did in step 9 of the seam repair; the dashed stitches look a lot nicer, in my opinion, and the “reinforced” thread makes one pass strong enough. Turn your jeans inside out and knot your thread. Remove the pins and put them away before you continue. (Pins hurt when you step on them. Ask how I know!)
Step 5: Use your pinking shears to cut the excess off the patch. Leave about a third of an inch to allow for any future fraying (though there shouldn’t be much, if any, thanks to the awesomeness that is pinking shears).
Turn the jeans right side out and admire your work. The hole shouldn’t fray beyond the stitching, and the contrasting thread gets a surprising number of compliments (and questions about where you found those unique jeans). The repair may be obvious, but it will hold up until you decide to replace your jeans—and who knows? That may not be until your jeans have turned into one big patch!
Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor. You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.