Oh Bother, I've Got a Hole in My Jeans




About: I'm an artist, environmentalist, animal lover, gardener, recycling nut, a high school teacher, crafter, Mom, Christian and widow who reads a lot in between figuring out how to do things.

I know it isn't stylish to patch your jeans. For some, the holes are what make them fashionable! But I'm really "old school" (in other words OLD) and the holes will annoy me. Especially those pesky knee holes.

This instructable will show how to patch a knee hole so that it doesn't immediately rip again.

Working Jeans:
The jeans that I'm patching are "working" jeans-- they're the ones I put on to get messy in the yard, painting something or I know I'm going to get dirty working hard. They're not stylish- in fact they're probably "mommy jeans" because...they're OLD!

They're also really comfy and soft (because they're...OLD!)

So having a hole in the knee doesnt work for me- it snags, gets my knee dirty and makes life uncomfortable.

I'm also fixing a hole next to the pocket on the rear because while I'm patching, I might as well do it too!

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Step 1: Flex the Hole

Put the pants on a curved surface, like your lap and slightly flex the hole and  pin it carefully. You don't want to sew the hole up exactly the same size but give it a little flexing room because your knee bends and you need extra room for bending. Places where you don't bend you don't need to do this.

With your chosen material for your patch, make sure you have extra fabric all the way around.

For the "butt" hole (couldn't resist the pun!) pin on the inside, turn it right side out and re-pin with the pins on the outside where you can see them. I'll sew next to a pocket on the outside as I want to see where I'm sewing.

You'll have to decide if you want the patch to show or not, or maybe just peek out a little.

Step 2: Sewing the Patch

If you don't have a removable arm on your sewing machine, you might end sewing this by hand because you need to be able to sew all the way around. This is the hardest part: scrunching up the fabric on the machine to get to the knee. Just take your time, wiggling it on. I usually start from the waist and work down the leg, pulling the fabric over the machine arm until I'm at a corner closest to one of the longest side of my patch.

Leave the pins while sewing until the presser foot is just barely on the pin, then take them out. I'm using these big quilting pins because they're easy to see and long. I try not to sew over the pins because they're bigger than normal and will break a needle.

Use a zigzag stitch that is fairly wide. Sew all the way around at least twice. If it is too hard to sew all the way around, do it in two L shape parts. I also discovered that sometimes it is easier to use the reverse button and sew backwards rather than trying to turn the pants around. It can be pretty tight especially around that third side.

Put your arm/hand inside periodically so you can feel what is going on inside. Since the fabric is really scrunched up, it is easy to accidentally snag it and sew it shut. And then you'll have to not only rip out stitches, but get it scrunched up on your machine, AGAIN!

Depending on whether you sewed the patch on the outside or the inside of the pants, you may be able to skip this next part.

Step 3: Sewing Next to the Hole

Turn the pants right side out and clip the threads from the hole. I clip the threads because I find the threads snag on things and I end up ripping a new hole. Then zig zag around the hole again this time close to the edges of the hole, catching some of the frayed edges.

Step 4: New Patch and a Good Flex!

I've put the jeans on to show you how they now flex with the patch-- ready to go out and kneel on the ground and play in the dirt!!

Step 5: Final Thoughts

I learned to mend from my mother and grandmother. My grandfather was a farmer and mending the rips and tears on his work clothes was a necessity. You didn't want to spend money on new working clothes if you didn't absolutely have to replace them. And of course, the "broken in" clothes are the most comfortable, which helps the work go faster.

I'm submitting this simple instructable for those who like to fix things, rather than throwing away. I know it isn't a flashy and even really dazzling kind of thing to do, butt rather practical and thrifty. But I hope someone can use this knowledge for their problem, even if the problem is just a silly little hole in your comfy jeans.

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    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I've been looking for a way to fix all my ripped jeans, and this is just what I needed. I wander if its possible to do this right above the rear pocket too, might be hard to get around the pockets? Any advice on fixing crotch ripped jeans? Thanks for all the info in this post!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You can take the pocket off, patch, and then put the pocket back on if the pocket interferes with patching (I've done this when the rip was too close to the pocket and the presser foot wasn't able to engage because of the different levels).

    The crotch, oh yes a problem area. I can't help though without knowing specifically the problem as there could be so many problems!! Send me a picture and I'll help. Definitely done the crotch fix- whether it is worn fabric from friction (thighs rubbing together) or just the split from too many aerobics.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i like it im 14 years old and i work i have holes in my jeans and i have to patch them all the thim i leand to sew from my grandma and how to make quilts ect and i have to pactch most of my holes in my jeans

    4 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    yea i put in air condictions and heat pups and the works i do it with mr grandpa tho but i get paid and its hard work