jeans with holes in them

Today I am going to attempt to show you my method for patching tears and holes in jeans. In my business I do A LOT of jean patching. We live in an area with lots of farmers, construction workers, agriculturally based factory workers, etc. Most jobs around here are a business casual style of fashion. Not a lot of super high fashion going on in our neck of the woods. We also have a mend and make do attitude for the most part. At any rate jeans get worn, torn, and repaired whenever possible. After all, they are only going to get dirty and grimy anyway.

Since I do a great deal of patching and mending of all shapes, sizes, and colors I prefer to make my own patches from old jeans in various colors. To make my patches I use a product called Steam-A-Seam.

Steam-A-Seam

Steam-A-Seam (affiliate link at end of post)

I LOVE this product and I will tell you why. First, it is a double stick fusible web that you can use with a steam iron. Second, prior to ironing your patch down you can position it the way you want it and it will stay in place until you iron it. Although it sticks well on it’s own it doesn’t necessarily stand up to laundering on it’s own. I prefer to sew my patches down in addition to ironing them on. This brings me to the third reason I love this product. Sewing through it does not in any way shape or form ever gum up my sewing machine needle like other similar products do.

I have a collection of old jeans that are beyond repair or were given to me to use as patching material.  I use this resource to make my own patches. For example, for this post I am using a pair of my husband’s jeans that I have patched twice already (the rule is I will patch them twice and then they are out of commission) Although the front of the jeans aren’t particularly useful, the back side usually is in great shape. This is the part I usually use to make one big patch from which I cut from to make all the other patches.

Jean leg of a previously patched pair of jeans.

Front of old jeans are not completely useful.

Back side of jean leg not worn or torn.

Back side of jean legs are usually great patching material.

To make the patch I simply following the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the Steam-A-Seam. I should note that when you apply the Steam-A-Seam to pay attention to the whether you are applying it to the right side or the wrong side of the fabric. I say this because most of the time I apply it to the right side of the fabric and place the patch underneath the tear or hole rather than on top. If any portion of the patch is going to show through you will want the right side showing. On the other hand if you choose to put your patches on top then you will need to apply the Steam-A-Seam to the wrong side of fabric patch.

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Apply Steam-A-Seam to the right side of the denim.

Then I cut the patch to the size I want. I try to make it as small as possible with some extra around the whole area of the tear or hole.

Make patch big enough to cover the torn area plus a little beyond.

To stitch down my patches I like to use the argyle stitch shown in the picture below.

Argyle Stitch

On my particular machine I have to use the stretch stitch setting to get this stitch.

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Stretch stitch setting for using the argyle stitch on Kenmore sewing machine.

You will want to use a denim needle preferably size 16 and a thread color that is super close to the color of your denim. (see affiliate links at end of post) For most denim, even darker denims, I can get away with Coat’s & Clark Surelock – Steel Blue. It is just the right color of blue and gray for using on denim.

Coats and Clark Surelock Steel Blue

Coats and Clark Surelock Steel Blue

You will also want to loosen up the pressure on your machine foot so the thicker fabrics will move through the machine better.

Loosen the pressure of your machine foot to stitch through the heavier layers of denim easier.

Loosen the pressure of your machine foot to stitch through the heavier layers of denim easier.

I always apply my patches with my steam iron to inside of the garment by turning the garment wrong side out.

Jeans with patches ironed on the inside.

Iron on patches to the inside of the jeans.

After the patches are ironed on turn the jeans right side out. For stitching I usually stitch around the outer edges of the patch I have ironed on which you can usually feel with your fingers. I do this so the outer edges of the patch are secure. It adds to the stability of the patch and prevents a bunch of fraying and curling after the garment is laundered. It also relieves the tension put on the original tear or hole.

Stitch on the right side of the garment at the outer edges of the ironed on patch.

Stitch on the right side of the garment at the outer edges of the ironed on patch.

Next I continue stitching around the edges of the actual tear or hole. This part actually fixes the hole or tear itself. I follow this up with stitching up the center of the tear to catch any loose threads or edges, leaving a nice flat finished look. When it is a hole I do NOT try to stitch up the center, I just make sure the edges of the hole are stitched down flat.

Stitching around the edges of the hole or tear.

Stitching around the edges of the hole or tear.

Follow the edges of the tear or hole.

Follow the edges of the tear or hole.

Stitching on the seam to catch the edge of the tear or hole.

Stitching on the seam to catch the edge of the tear or hole. This is where a looser sewing foot pressure comes in handy.

Stitching down the center of the tear when the tear is not completely ripped open.

Stitching down the center of the tear when the tear is not completely ripped open.

More stitching down the center of the tear.

More stitching down the center of the tear.

Completed stitching of patched jeans.

Completed stitching.

Most of my customers who are wanting patches are not that fussy and I want to keep my fees reasonable. In fact many times I use up the odd bobbins that have no spools left to match them instead of winding a bobbin of the steel blue, especially when patching jeans for my own family. This helps keep my bobbins empty and available.

Patching the holes or tears of the pocket corners and belt loops is pretty similar. I have a basket of little scraps with Steam-A-Seam scraps already applied to them.

Scraps already prepared for small patches.

Scraps already prepared for small patches.

The only difference in the stitching is that I am able to go forward and reverse with my stitching over such a small area. I usually go back and forth enough to cover the whole patch. I still stitch from the right side and the looser pressure on the machine foot will be very important.

Patching a tear at the pocket corner.

Patching a tear at the pocket corner going forward.

Completed stitching of pocket corner on the right side.

Completed stitching of pocket corner on the right side.

Completed stitching of pocket corner from the wrong side.

Completed stitching of pocket corner from the wrong side.

When the jeans are all patched up and ready they should look pretty good and ready to be worn for a while longer. I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Happy Patching,

Nancy

Products Used In This Tutorial (affiliate links)