Mending blue jeans


Does your husband (or maybe you!) have trouble letting go of clothes?  My husband works in a metal building, as a welder – which is hot.  I frequently have to repair his pants, which are blue jeans.  He only has about 10 to 15 pairs, but if I suggest that maybe it’s time to let one go – “Oh, but those are my favorite!”.  Really?


These pants are probably 50% patch and 50% original pants.  Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I’ve repaired this particular pair of pants more times than I wanted to.  Sigh.  The things we do for those we love!

I’m going to try a different type of patch.  I usually use pieces of discarded jeans to make the patch.  This lasts for a little while, but if it’s in the “crotch” area, it doesn’t seem to last long enough!  I’ve decided to use a stretchier material, i.e. a cut up old t-shirt, in this area.  I will still use old jeans for areas like the knees.  My pictures will be of the patch in the knee area.


I’ll be using my Singer Heavy Duty machine for this repair because it has a little more “oomph”.  You can use most any sewing machine to do this, I did before I got this one.  Since I sew on heavier materials frequently, this was a good investment for me.  If you use a basic sewing machine, please remember:

~ When you get to seams or bulkier sections, do not go fast!  This will break your needle!  I would use the hand wheel on the side so you can feel if there is too much resistance.  You may have to hand sew these portions if your machine cannot handle it. ~

That being said, these are the other items I use when repairing jeans:

  • Gutermann jean thread – I like this because the thread blends in with the jeans.  They have other colors to choose from, but I use Col. 5397 washed denim.
  • Schmetz jean and denim machine needles –  It is very important to use a needle designed for jeans or heavy weight material.  You will not go very far with a standard needle before it breaks/bends.  This could damage your machine or you!  Please invest in the right needle!
  • Old t-shirt/jeans/cotton material – I use old t-shirts and jeans for patching my husbands work pants.  He doesn’t care how it looks, he just wants the hole covered.  If you are patching something you would like to wear in public, you can use a printed cotton fabric.

jeanneedles jeanthread tshirtjeans

On to the repairs of this sad, sad pair of jeans!

patchsizeFirst, I lay the mending material next to the hole that needs to be repaired to get an idea of how big it needs to be.  I usually allow for at least an 1″ overlay.  This may seem like overkill, but this helps ensure I cover the hole and all the stitching catches it.  The excess can be trimmed away later.

Pin patch to pants!  Use more than you think you need to help keep it in place while sewing.  I put the patch under the hole versus of on top of the hole.  It really just depends on the look you are going for.  If you want it on the outside, I recommend turning the jeans inside out so you can see where the actual hole is.  Then you can make sure it’s covered!

Ok, this part may be a little tough, depending on where your patch is.  Pant legs are tubes, which can make it difficult to maneuver to where you need to be.  Most machines have a removable sewing bed.  It’s part of the base of the machine and usually just slides off.  Remove this to gain greater maneuverability.  If you’re not sure where this is on your machine, look in the machines manual.

removingbase       baseremoved

Make sure the pants are unbuttoned and unzipped.  Now, slide the pants under the presser foot top end first, or where the belt loops are.  Be careful to go through between belt loops to avoid getting hung up on the presser foot.  This will allow you to “bunch” excess fabric into the throat area of the machine.insertingpants
Be patient while moving the pants around!

When you get ready to turn, make sure the needle is in the down position.  Then lift the presser foot and rotate pants.

You will have to push pant parts from the front to the back through the throat of the machine as you go around the hole.  Don’t pull or push too much or you might break the needle.

Check underneath with your hands to be sure you’re not catching another part of the jeans.

This may be frustrating, but don’t give up!  You can do this!bunchedup

pullingupthreadNow, lower the presser foot and use the hand crank to pull the bobbin thread to the surface of the jeans.  This will help prevent the little “bird’s nest” that can happen at the start of sewing.  Align the edge of the presser foot with the edge of the hole for spacing.  I used a straight stitch to go around all the edges, removing pins as I sew.  Usually, I go around the edge a second time, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the first stitch line.  Then, I zigzag over the frayed edges.  This gives it more stability and hopefully keeps it off my sewing table!

NOTE:  This is not necessary if you are doing a more decorative patch.  Going around once with the straight stitch should be sufficient for regular wear pants.  You can use the zigzag or other stitches for a more decorative look.


Turn pants inside out and trim excess.  I use pinking shears to help with fraying.

trim   repairedhole

Done!  Now I only have about 4-5 more to do for this one pair of pants!  Sigh.  I think it’s time for a coffee break!

See ya’ll next time!

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