Today I’ll give you some tips on patching jeans. As a mom of 5 active boys, we wear holes in lots of pairs of jeans. My boys are constantly on the floor playing with legos and cars, or outside sliding into home plate or digging in the dirt. Even their higher quality/more expensive jeans take a beating. It’s also nice to save a few pairs to pass down to my next in line.
Patching Jeans | How to Patch a Hole in Jeans
Today I’m going to show you how to patch a hole in jeans, to strengthen the knee area and give them a longer life.
Getting Started with Patching Jeans | Choose the Materials
Start with a pair of old jeans to make your patch. Or you can buy a denim patch at the fabric store most of the patches are ironed on but an old pair of jeans works excellently!
Usually, when my kids outgrow their jeans if they still have usable fabric, I will cut off the legs and save them for future patches. (Or a denim quilt that has been on my to do list for decades.)
Cutting the Patch & Prep Work
I like to cut my patch the width of the pant leg. And the height plus at least 1/2” above and below the hole I’m patching.
After you cut your patch you will need to seam rip the side seam of your jeans a few inches above and a few inches below your hole so you can get it in your sewing machine.
Usually, the inseam of the jeans will be a flat, felled seam. These are a pain to unpick and time-consuming to put back together, so unpick the outer leg seam.
I like to have rectangle patches, but you can use any shape you want as long as it covers the hole sufficiently. Holes tend to make themselves bigger very quickly so we want to prevent that from happening as much as we can.
Denim will also fray, so before I apply my patch I like to finish the edges. You can do this several ways. You can use your serger to overlock the edges. You can trim the edges of your patch with pink shears. Or you can zigzag around the edges of the patch. Any of these methods will help control the fraying you will get on the inside of your pant leg from the patch.
Attaching the Patch
You can attach the patch in a few ways. If the hole is small enough, I like to add wonder to the entire patch!
Cut a strip of double-sided interfacing slightly smaller than the patch size and fuse the interfacing to the patch according to the instructions that come with the interfacing.
I like to use the right side of the fabric patch to fuse to the wrong side of the leg. This way, if you see any of the patches through the hole, it looks more like the right side of the jeans showing through instead of the wrong. But this is a personal preference.
Then pull the paper backing off the interfacing and fuse the patch to the inner leg. The interfacing strengthens the patch.
Sometimes if I’m out of interfacing or if the hole I am patching is too big, I will use a glue stick to glue the patch around the hole. Apply the glue to the inside of the pant leg around the outline of the hole. The glue will help keep it in place until it is sewn. You could also use fusible hem tape. I would use the same technique as I did with the fusible interfacing but add the strips around the hole inside the pant leg and fuse.
You want to take care when using fusible interfacing that the hole isn’t very big. We don’t want the adhesive coming through the hole and fusing the patch onto your ironing board.
If the hole is larger make your patch have the fusible interfacing around the edges but not in the middle where the actual hole is. That way it will only fuse the patch to the leg fabric and not the hole. You may also consider cutting the frayed thread off in the middle of the hole. This is just personal preference. You can leave it if you like the look.
Put in the machine and stitch down the patch. I like to stitch 1/8” from the edge.
For this tutorial, I used a darker thread to make it easier to see in the pictures. You would probably want to use a lighter-colored thread that blends better with the fabric.
Straight stitch along the bottom of the patch, then turn your leg right side out.
This is what it will look like from the outside. Two straight lines are perpendicular to the pant leg.
Depending on how big the hole is, at this point, I like to go back and zig-zag around the hole. I do this step with the right side of the fabric up so I can see exactly where the hole is.
Turn the leg inside out again and get ready to sew up the leg seam allowance. (This is the seam you originally ripped to get into the leg.)
Press your seam allowance open. I use a sleeve board to make it easier to press.
And there you go! One leg patch down. Sometimes I decide to do the second leg while I’m at it. Because inevitably, it will have a hole in it sooner than later.
To do the second leg I repeat the process. Measure up from the bottom hem to determine where your patch should be fused on.
I just don’t zigzag around the hole because there isn’t one yet. if found if I reinforce the second leg while I’m patching holes they end up lasting until the child outgrows the jeans.
I also find it more efficient to patch as many pairs as I can while I’m at it. Assembly style. Do all the seam ripping, then all the fusing, then all the stitching.
And there you have it. Jeans patched and ready for rough and tumble play.
Other Articles on Jeans & Patching
We want to thank Whitney for this great article on patching jeans. Here are a few other articles you might find interesting:
I would have zig zagged the edges of the patch that were not being included in the seam allowance as, if the hole frayed, the edges would, too.