Denim repairs

Apparently not much sewing done in the past couple of weeks. I guess I’d rather stay under the kotatsu than stand in front of my sewing machine feeling cold. I managed to finish a small mending project though.

Sometime ago I posted about repairing the pocket lining on my husband’d jeans. The jeans had since started showing holes on the crotch area. I could have made a new pair for my husband, but it seems that once you start fixing something, it become more difficult to just throw it away. So I googled ‘denim repairs’ and stared at the images in my screen.

Something about a piece of clothing that got repaired, patched, and darned over and over again stroke a chord in my heart. I think it is very beautiful and full of love. When something is broken, you try repairing it instead of just throwing it away. It is love. And it applies to a lot of things, not just denim repairs.

With my newfound philosophy, I went about repairing my husband’s jeans crotch. The holes are still quite small, but they would go bigger in no time. I ironed a couple of thin interfacing patch behind the holes. You can see the zigzagged raw edges on the inside. I didn’t have a serger three years ago and used zigzag stitch to finish all my raw edges.

Mending jeans Mending jeans

Mending jeans

Darning the holes was quite simple. I used three step zigzag stitch on my sewing machine with wider width and short length, in this case 5 in width and 0.5 in length. Then I simply went over the holes back and forth until they closed up. I also did the same to the other side of the crotch as the thread on this area had weakened.

The back and forth stitches creates a new layer of ‘fabric’ that cover the holes. I think the result is quite good! The color of the thread could have been matched better next time, but it’s not bad for my first denim repair job.

Next, I went to the back pocket area. My husband keeps his train card pocket in his right back pocket and the friction has created several holes there.

Obviously I can’t use my sewing machine to fix these holes, unless I unpicked the stitches, fixed the holes, and attached the pocket back. Actually I had disassembled the whole front pockets and assembled them back when I fixed the pocket lining, but this time I wanted to use other techniques.

Mending jeans

I found some images of traditional mending where the holes are patched by hand. So I cut some denim patches and attached them to the back of the holes using several running stitches. I kinda like the finished result, although next time I might use thicker thread for it.

Mending jeans

I really enjoyed making these repairs that I planned to keep darning and patching these jeans until they become too ragged to be worn anymore. One might think that I was so unselfish for doing all of these, but I know that it was all for my own amusement!

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  • Lisa

    I really like the way you repaired the pockets on those jeans! Looks awesome! I have to give a quick warning though. I have tried repairing a number of crotch holes on jeans and it has come back to bite me afterwards. By darning the hole, it will not rip again in that spot but now the stress is transferred over a few inches. My jeans ripped from crotch to knee when I was at the movies and the same thing happened to my sister’s repaired jeans at the bar. I worked as a seamstress in college and had a number of customers complain of the same issue. As much as I love saving a pair of jeans, I just get rid of crotch hole jeans now! 🙂

    • Thank you for the warning! Actually that really makes sense, the fabric must have been weakened already and the holes will keep appearing. I hope the jeans woudn’t get ripped while my husband is wearing them 😛

      • Soph

        Hi There, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile but never commented until now. I work in wardrobe for Musicals so fixing clothes is what i do every day. Your darning looks really lovely but next time try less stitching and it will last a lot longer! (that’s what causes extra stress) Patch behind your holes with the same fabric if possible (a lighter piece of denim if you don’t want to add too much bulk) then stitch around the edge of that piece in a zig zag to hold the edges flat (you can stitch it through the original seam line if its near the edge) then using straight stitch sew back and forth over the span of the hole and again in the opposite direction to create a grid. This doesn’t look as neat but the new patch will take the stress off the worn fabric, it’s how i’ve always mended costume for long term use.

        • Thank you so much for the helpful insight!
          I will try the technique for the next hole on his jeans 🙂

  • These are excellent repair jobs! I think they give the jeans a lot of character. Also, it’s so hard to throw away jeans, since it’s so hard to find ones that fit just right! I like this a lot.

  • Michelle

    What a great repair job.

  • I’m glad you shared how you did this. I saw your photos on Instagram and I thought your repairs looked great! I think it’s great to mend old favourites and keep them going a little longer.

  • I love the look of visible repairs, especially on jeans! I’m waiting to find a pair of jeans I love/keep long enough to repair – I think my most recent home-sewn pair will be a winner.

  • saro

    This is a good way to look at mending. I will try to reframe my mind about it. I really liked how you put it. Another thing that I did not know is about the kotatsu! We (Afghans) have the same thing, except it’s called sandalees.

    • I did not know about sandalees either! It’s very interesting how different cultures share similar things 🙂

  • juebejue

    love the way you repaired the pocket. oh man, i never thought i would be excited about mending things but now i wish i have a ripped pair of jeans!

  • I didn’t realize I could have an emotional feeling when it came to repairing blue jeans. Thank you for sharing these really great techniques, and thank you for mentioning how loving it can be to repair our items, rather than replacing them!

  • Jen l

    I enjoy mending denim, but haven’t done it in awhile. If I get a chance to do it again I have thought about using sashiko as a mending technique. There’s something fascinating about garments that have been extensively repaired like old Japanese work clothing. Maybe it’s called something like boromono? I like the way your pocket repair turned out, kind like a reversed appliqué. I may have to try that too!

    • I’m fascinated by boro too! There is a museum here with Boro as permanent exhibition and I’m planning to go there in the near future.

  • Ahhhh, thanks for sharing! My husband’s pockets always wear through where he carries his wallet but I’ve not been sure how to fix them. Thank you!

  • Oh, thank you for posting about this! I have a pile of jeans with similar holes that I’ve had no idea how to go about repairing. Considering that they are all otherwise in great condition, it doesn’t make sense to throw them out. Now I have a good sense for how to fix them!

  • sallieforrer

    Gorgeous repairs! My husbands jeans have just worn through at the pockets and I’ve been referencing your last post on pocket repairs to see about mending them. I might have to take them in for some surgery one of these days…

  • Rose Pearce

    The back pocket repairs look like beautiful islands.

    • I think so too! And it looks like there will be more islands popping up on that jeans 😛