DenimFilter: Help me patch my trendy jeans.
October 7, 2008 11:03 AM   Subscribe

DenimFilter: Help me patch the hole over the knee in my trendy designer jeans.

So while shopping at my favorite retailer for jeans (Jimmy'Z), the only pair I liked had one of those frayed holes over the right knee. The "fray-zone" has now become a hole with an additional 2 inches or so of a tear to the side, making this about a 4 inch-wide hole when flattened.

What's the best way to go about patching this up before I have a new pair of cut-off shorts? I was thinking of something involving a denim patch on the inside of the jeans, so that the frayed part still shows a little bit. I had some old jeans/cordory that I could salvage for this project.

I'm a dude, that could probably discretely get access to sewing machines in the fashion dept. on campus-- but I wouldn't want to brag about it much and want to know what I'm doing if I try to DIY this one.
posted by nayten to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, I would bring it to a tailor or make your jeans super designery and patch it with gaffers tape.
posted by spec80 at 11:17 AM on October 7, 2008

I would try some fusible interfacing on the inside to see if you can prevent and more ripping. Since you iron on the interfacing, there would be no stitching to show through on the front of the jeans. This may not work that well depending on how often you wear/wash the jeans. If you want a more sturdy fix, you could just whip stitch the corners of the tears to prevent them from getting bigger.

If you want to do the denim patch on the inside, just cut a piece slightly larger than the tear/hole, pin it in place and zigzig stitch along the edge and then stitch some through the patch to reinforce. All the stitching will be visible on the front of the jeans though.
posted by sulaine at 11:20 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Good question...I've ran into the same problem with several pair of jeans made by Buckle. They're made to have multiple frayed/distressed areas, some of which eventually become full-fledged holes.

I took one such pair to a seamstress, who told me it would be somewhere around $50 to fix all the holes, as it would have to be done by hand and is rather time-consuming to match the color and make the stitching not stand out. I wasn't happy with that option, nor did I want to use a generic patch, so I left it at that. I love the fit and style of this particular jean, and ended up buying some replacement pairs. Unfortunately, Buckle recently discontinued the line, so now I'm out of luck.

@sulaine's interfacing idea sounds promising to prevent further holes. I'll have to look into that.
posted by iamisaid at 11:33 AM on October 7, 2008

For other readers of this thread (maybe not the OP), you can send your jeans to Denim Therapy for seamless repair. Estimated cost is $7 per inch.
posted by junkbox at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would just buy a fun iron-on patch. Actually, I would iron, and also sew on a fun patch. I don't know if this really works for guys... maybe a cool skull or a flag of some sort. I'm remembering the pink elephant patch I had when I was a kid.
Oh, the interfacing idea is great, especially since you would be ironing anyway. That way you could reinforce the hole from the front and back.

Upon review of my own answer; if you are going to both iron and sew, please don't use the school's (or anyone else's) sewing machine, unless you plan to replace the needle. I meant I would just hand sew a couple stitches around the edge or in the corners. Sometimes the adhesive will wear off, especially if you wash and dry your jeans regularly.
posted by purpletangerine at 12:30 PM on October 7, 2008

Iron-on interfacing isn't very strong. It would probably tear, or at least stretch to the breaking point, pretty fast in a high-stress area like the knees.

I've seen iron-on patches made of denim, intended for fixing jeans. I've never used them so I don't know how well they work, but you could try ironing one of these to the inside of the hole. You can find them at fabric stores; they're rectangles about the size of your hand with rounded corners.

Be sure the fusible adhesive over the actual hole doesn't touch your iron, the ironing board, or another part of the jeans. You'll have a big mess and/or jeans glued together. (Put some tissue paper between the exposed adhesive and the iron/board/other surface. After the patch cools, tear off as much paper as possible and the rest will come off in the laundry.)
posted by Quietgal at 12:58 PM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: I actually worked at Buckle doing alterations during the "we sell jeans with holes in them!" phase that iamisaid mentions, and had quite a few customers who liked the look of the frayed holes but didn't want their skin to show through. What I did was basically sulaine's second suggestion: a patch of denim behind the hole, pin it in place, and machine-stitch all around the hole. A straight stitch, in a small stitch length, in a thread color close to the denim color will be less visible than a zigzag, and only marginally less strong. Stitch about 1/8-1/4 away from the edge of the hole, and depending on the tear, the frayed edges may even cover up your stitches somewhat.

I strongly un-recommend an iron-on adhesive or interfacing. All of my attempts to repair jeans with any kind of fusible have been highly disappointing and short-lived.

I even had a few customers ask me to use a contrasting fabric for the patch on the inside. That may or may not be a look you want to consider.
posted by doift at 1:08 PM on October 7, 2008

When I was a kid, my mom would fix our jeans by ironing on those denim patches Quietgal mentions. They never worked very well. Inevitably, you ended up with a stiff patch around the hole in the shape of the patch, and it looked and felt pretty bad. By the time they got worn in like the rest of the jeans, the patches would be falling off. Sewing on a patch of denim (or another fabric) around the edges of the hole is probably a better idea.
posted by MadamM at 1:45 PM on October 7, 2008

I've done what doift suggests in the past, with great results. Color-matching the thread will be important.
posted by weezetr at 1:49 PM on October 7, 2008

The other option (instead of trying to invisibly repair it) is to accept that you're going to be able to see the alteration, so just go nuts. I once repaired a jean-hole with tartan patch that had 'PATCH' embroidered onto it, stitched on with red cotton. I loved it (especially because I didn't have to fiddle around trying to keep it discreet) and they looked fine. Depends what you want though, I guess.
posted by twirlypen at 3:53 PM on October 7, 2008

I always use an iron-on denim patch, cut just a bit bigger than the tear, ironed on the *inside* of the jean so you can't really see it from the outside, and then stitched around the edges so it doesn't fall off later.
posted by GardenGal at 7:00 PM on October 7, 2008

Ugh! Another vote for NO, for the iron on patch. If it were a little tear on the thigh, then sure. But not a knee hole.
Holes can be tricky... Hmm do you have a pic??
Because sure, you just patch the hole - but the idea is to permanently fix it. Pay attention to what you anchor your patch to. A strong seam on weak fabric will just rip. If it's ripping in a line it's a good idea to loop a few stitches through the area to take the tension out of that point.

There! Duh. I guess that's the theory behind it,
- To make sure anything that's not up to code is by-passed so that it's no longer structural or lode baring in any way.

(If you're interested I could take some pics of some creative knee patchings I've done to give you some ideas? It would also illustrate what I'm on about just in case it sounds good... but you're not sure exactly what I mean.)

Damn, I didn't think of that.
- Can you get to it to sew it? ...or do you have to open the leg to get it flat? (I' been there!) In which case, being jeans, you will probably need a fashion student but definitely the use of their industrial machine!
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 10:46 AM on October 8, 2008

When I get holes in my jeans I take them to my tailor who patches them with a piece of closely matched denim. He leaves all the strings and rips on the jeans, and if necessary sews them down onto the new patch. It basically looks like the same rip, but with denim behind it instead of skin. Its very cool. If you are in or around Houston message me and I'll give you this guys name and number. I can also post pictures if you'd like.
posted by junipero at 7:49 PM on October 14, 2008

« Older Needing hip hop love songs   |   Fun activities at a community fair? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.