Picture of Patching Knee of Jeans
If you really love a pair of jeans and you don't want to get rid of them when they get a hole in the knee, or you don't want to spend more money on clothes for a crazy little boy after he tears up his jeans, here's how to fix them.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You will need a sewing machine, thread that is close in color to the denim, scrap denim*, scissors, pins, and an iron.

*Alternative fabrics that work for patching jeans include most bottom weight fabrics such as twill and poplin.  Poplin is especially good for patching stretch denim.  Do not use light weight cottons such as broadcloth and calico.  They are not strong enough and will tear in a short amount of time.

Step 2: Make the Patch

Picture of Make the Patch
Cut out your patch from the scrap denim.  The patch should extend at least 1" beyond the edge of the hole or worn area.  Rounding the corners of the patch reduces tension points so the jeans are less likely to tear along the edge of the patch over time.

Step 3: Iron

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Turn jeans inside out.  Using your iron on a medium high setting, press the area of the hole so there are no wrinkles or puckers.

Step 4: Overcast

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Using the zig zag setting on your sewing machine, overcast stitch around the edge of the patch to hold it in place and prevent fraying.  Remove pins.  Then, turn right side out.

Step 5: Zig Zag

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Zig zag stitch around the hole, then fill hole stitching the same direction the exposed white threads are going.  Continue zig zag stitching in a spiral pattern around the hole until the patch area is secured.

Step 6: Finished

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Now you're done!
neferset8 months ago

I discovered jeans colored thread and have found that it's perfect for patching like this. I use a shorter zig zag stitch and basically make an embroidered patch directly on the garment (with a denim patch on the inside, of course--I originally learned to do this with interfacing, but after a while you get a mess). On some jeans, the patches are nearly invisible. Like you, I never cut the remaining threads, preferring to make them part of the patch for strength and color variation.

mal774 years ago
This is exactly what i was looking for...but how do you get the jeans onto your sewing machine and still maneuver? My son is 4 and his jeans are pretty little.
Verdant Toes (author)  mal773 years ago
I am able to remove a portion of the sewing machine arm so that it is more narrow and I scrunch up the rest of the jeans around it if I have to. As long as everything is pinned down well you don't have to worry about too much shifting. If the jeans are super small you can open up a side seam to gain access and then re-sew it when you're done. The jeans patched in these photos are size 5T.