Introduction: Mend Denim Holes

About: Experimental Crafter, Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking Personality Type

My beefy thighs are the ultimate denim weapon; they can destroy a pair of jeans within a few months. I can't bring myself to toss jeans that look great everywhere else other than the inner thighs and so I have tried different methods of mending with only moderate success over the years.

In this Instuctable, I'm going to attempt to improve on my previous attempts and I am going to use a woven iron-on fusible interfacing and then cover the area with rows of parallel stitching.

(Corduroy pants are completely off the table for me due to the fire hazard generated from all the friction.)

Step 1: Examining the Damage

In the first photo, I show a pair of jeans that are just starting to show wear. The top photo show what it looks like in regular light, the bottom back-lit from a light table. With the light on, the wear and thinning become obvious. The first pair is not quite ready for repair yet, but I am keeping an eye on it.

The second photo shows a pair that I had previously tried to repair and reinforce using zigzag stitches. The reinforcement prevented holes where the stitches were, but over time, all around the area it became thin and ultimately ripped (Or I just didn't extend my stitches far enough). It is especially obvious in the lower back lit photo.

You don't need a light table, just hold up the area in question with a light/sun behind it. It is a good thing to do so that you mend the whole area that has been compromised, not just what is initially obvious.

Step 2: Another Sad Mending Attempt

In this previous attempt, I sought to mend the holes by adding patches of denim. I really hated this because I made the patches way to big and the stitching around the edge was much more visible as I was walking around. It was also very bulky.

What I learned is that a thin backing material would be better than thick denim. Also, it looks weird and is super obvious when I stitched around the edge of the patches. I think crisscrossing stitch lines that feather out at the edges would look better.

Step 3: Matterial

Interfacing: I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to use, and as the fabric store had all interfacing on sale for 40% off, I spent $3.53 and got 1/4 of a yard of 4 different kinds to play with. That should be able to mend at least 8 pairs of jeans. I went with a black woven Shape-Flex by Pellon. It is iron on.

Thead: I pulled out all my tread and found 2 that seemed the closest in color. I thought mixing 2 colors might make it look more natural.

Step 4: Cut the Interfacing

I turned the jeans inside out and then I just eyeballed the interfacing and cut it into a rectangle.

Step 5: Iron

I followed the package directions and ironed on the interfacing.

Package Directions: "Cover with thin damp press cloth. With Iron at Wool/Steam setting, press firmly for 10-15 seconds. Repeat, lifting and slightly overlapping iron until all interfacing is fused. Steam press on right side. Let fabric cool, then check bond."

Step 6: Flip Right Side Out

Per the directions, I flipped the jeans right side out and then steam pressed.

Step 7: Remove Sewing Base

I remove part of the sewing platform to make it easier to get the pant legs under the presser foot.

Step 8: Sew!

I just stitched back and forth trying to keep my lines in the same direction as the weave of the fabric.

At first I was silly and did the whole needle down, lift up the pressure foot and rotate the whole fabric to go back and forth. Eventually I got out the manual and figured out how to sew in reverse. It then went sooo much faster. If there was a really bad spot, I would try and get a few more tight passes back and forth over the area than the big passes in general.

Step 9: Inside

It is easier to see what I did from here.

I made a bunch of semi-parallel passes in the dark thread color going with the weave of the fabric, and then I repeated the passes but this time perpendicular to the first set.

I then changed to the lighter blue tread and made passes diagonal to the darker thread. I mostly concentrated on the middle to cover up some of the dark zigzag stitches from the previous mend job.

Step 10: Ta-da!

It is not perfect (first photo), but it looks better than the before (second photo), and now I can probably get a few more months use out of them.

I don't really like the diagonal lighter stitches. If I was to do it over again, I might do some of them, but do it first, before the darker blue so that the top layer of stitches is parallel with the weave of the denim. I suspect it would draw less attention to the mending by blending in better.