Patch Denim With Fabric Glue

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The most common use for fabric glue is patching holes and rips in textiles. It saturates between the fibers and leaves behind a tacky film without soaking all the way through. Like rubber cement, you want to coat both bonding surfaces with adhesive before they are mated.

To demonstrate this principle, I am fixing my bud's pants that had an unfortunate tear in the rear after getting snagged on something sharp. He tried to fix it once with stitches, but because the denim frays so easily, the stitches tore out. Perfect reason to glue in a patch!

For any patch you will need:

Turn the garment inside out and slide a piece of cardboard behind the tear. If you are working with delicate materials that are prone to moving around, use some masking tape to hold the rigid backer in place.

Using tailor's chalk to outline the areas where glue needs to be applied is a good non-permanent way to make marks on fabrics.

Use a brush to coat the surface areas that are going to be mated. I like using a fan brush with these globby glues because it kind of has the same feel a giant cotton swab may have, but doesn't leave behind any fibers.

Mate the patch with the torn fabric and allow to cure for the time stated on the back of the glue bottle. There are lots of options for fabric glue, so make sure that both your patch and your glue can flex and bend like the material you are patching.

If you need to smooth out your glue lines, use a burnishing tool or another piece of square cardboard. Excess adhesive may cause bunching in the repair.

That concludes this demo on fabric adhesives! For an even deeper dive into working with fabric glues, check out the Fabric Glue lesson in my Glue Class.

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    7 Discussions

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    jdougherty2

    1 year ago

    Since denim frays so easily, would it be a good idea to fray check the edges of the patch before applying?

    Also, would trimming away loose threads from the tear prior to patching be recommended?

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    pmshah

    1 year ago

    Just one question. Does the repaired area turn still like the ironed on patches?

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    JohnW51

    1 year ago

    I patch tears in garments with iron-on patches, but I've never found any large enough to cover a tear as large as the one shown here. Thanks for posting this. Now I have a solution for longer tears, or if I run out of iron-on patches and can't find more since most of the fabric shops in my area have closed.

    2 replies
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    audreyobscuraJohnW51

    Reply 1 year ago

    I've had rats luck when it comes to iron patches, perhaps my iron isn't hot enough? or heavy enough? I feel like the patch always lifts from the fabric I tried to press it to. Is there a specific brand you use?

    Working in shops and labs all the time leads to a lot of clothes mending and I'm always looking for new tips :D

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    JohnW51audreyobscura

    Reply 1 year ago

    Do you pre-heat the fabric before applying the patch? That is a must from my experience. The brand I have is Singer. Patches are only 2" x 3". I bought them at Walmart a long time ago. The garments I've patched recently have only been washed a couple times since the patches were applied. So, I don't yet know if laundering will cause them to fail (since they are so old). When I first bought them, they lasted very well. At least until I finally discarded the patched garments.

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    AzureOzma

    1 year ago

    Well, I thought I was still on the shoe page.

    I have actually mended clothing just this way. Saved a lot of jeans!

    Thanks again.

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    AzureOzma

    1 year ago

    I love these! Makes me want to go to the local dollar store and get a pair of cheapies to play with! I have used colored markers, ribbon for laces and had fun matching clothing with shoes. You just opened a whole new way to play - thanks!!

    Thanks for a short and concise instructable. I'll try to remember to add pictures when I get them done.