Learn how to fix ripped jeans – no sewing machine required with these visible mending techniques that will add character to the holes in your jeans
Hey y’all, this month I’m going to focus on sustainable sewing, including things like mending existing clothing. Today I’m sharing how to fix ripped jeans with visible mending and patches. Denim fabric is very sturdy, but if you wear your jeans hard you’re bound to get rips.
Ever since I shared the image above on Instagram, I’ve been getting requests to show how to do the hand sewing patches I added to these jeans. The machine sewn patches are covered in this post, and if you have holes in the crotch or inner thighs of your jeans I highly recommend that method to mend them. Today I’m going to share how to sew the Sashiko style patches.
When you use contrasting colored thread and embroidered designs to repair holes in your jeans, you add character and your jeans become one of a kind.
I’ve got a video below that you can watch to see how I stitched on these patches, which you can also watch on YouTube here if it won’t load below or you prefer.
How to Sew a Decorative Patch
The first step to add a denim patch to a pair of jeans is to cut the patch. You can either purchase denim yardage, or recycle denim from something else to make your patch. I’ve saved a few pairs of my kids’ outgrown jeans and I use them as scrap denim to cut patches. With sharp fabric scissors, cut the patch slightly larger than the tear you want to repair.
You can place a denim patch either inside or on top of a hole to repair it, depending on the final look you want. On this pair of jeans, I have one darker patch sewn on top of the jeans, and other patches that are underneath the tears. I will often use Stitch Witchery, fabric glue or similar to hold the patch in place while I complete the embroidery design. In a pinch you can even use a child’s water based glue stick to hold your patch; Elmer’s glue will wash out. But this might make your needle kind of gummy while you’re working.
I demonstrate the plus signs, Xs and the geometric design in the video above. All of these are done with combinations of a straight stitch. This means you can easily run your needle for several stitches one way, then the other, to create the designs. Just make your stitches dense enough that you catch the fraying threads over the entire hole.
To clarify the geometric stitching pattern I show in the video, I made the diagram below. To start, you sew horizontal lines, two the same and the third alternating the gaps/stitches. This is shown with blue/black stitches on the left. Then you repeat the same pattern with vertical stitches, shown in red/green in the middle. The parallel lines of vertical and horizontal stitches combined make the third image.
Thread for Mending
I used perle cotton thread for my visible mending. You can also use sashiko thread, or a few strands of hand embroidery thread.
While I did all my stitching in white, you can choose another thread color for more fun. Let your jeans express your creativity!
So mend your jeans – wear them longer, and enjoy the character of jeans mended in layers over years.