How can I prevent crotch wear and tear?
February 26, 2009 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I seem to always wear out the crotch in my jeans. I just noticed another hole in my brand-new (as of 12/31) pair of jeans from the Gap. What can I do about this, other than having them repaired?

First off: my thighs touch and I bicycle to work every day so I suspect this has something to do with it. I'm not fat, so losing weight isn't an option. This has been going on for ever.

I know about Denim Therapy from a number of other threads. However, my jeans are pretty utilitarian -- mostly from the Gap, some from H&M. I'd really rather not spend a huge amount of money on repairing these, as the jeans are pretty inexpensive to begin with. Does anybody have any good ways to either prevent this from happening in the first place or mend the jeans on the cheap? I have a basic knowledge of sewing, but little gear.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Gap jeans have started to suck the last few years. I have some denim from them from the late 90's that are still going strong, but anything I've got in the last ~3 years has been toast in like 6 months (note: I don't even bike). H&M is likewise not exactly known for quality. Levis seems ok and in the general price range.

On another note, you can pretty easily mend jeans by sewing denim of the same general color int the crotch. If both sides have holes, you are better off with two pieces sewed together to form the shape that will overlay well through the holes, then doing a lot of shallow stitching (sorry, not a professional sewer, but the kind that just goes through the surface) around the edges. If you don't really care about the stitching, just use any denim safe sewing machine.
posted by shownomercy at 12:37 PM on February 26, 2009

Ahem... This may not apply to you at all, but I finally realized that I wore a similar sounding hole in the crotch of my jeans from, umm, perhaps too frequent scratching. Sounds like this isn't your issue, but there it is...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 12:44 PM on February 26, 2009

I haven't tried the Gap, but I have returned jeans to other stores after they've worn out way too quickly. They usually give me a new pair of jeans that were the same price. Other than that I've given up on having nice things and get $10-$15 jeans at Walmart expecting to replace them in 6 months.
posted by valadil at 12:45 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have this exact same problem. I've had good luck with repairing by patching with a piece of denim and sewing back and forth across the hole with a sewing machine, it has to be really strong, and no one is looking at your crotch anyway. touching up the edges with fabric glue also helps, but it feels a little stiff and yucky. Even the best repair won't last that long though- the places where the thread pierces the fabric stress it a lot and it will eventually pull and fray.

FYI, i just spashed out on some lucky brand jeans (on sale!) and they are MUCH better fitting in that area, and just better quality in general. i tend to be a major cheapskate about clothes, but i was sick of having to repair/replace gap jeans every few months. i think better quality jeans are cost effective long term.

if you're not sure what will fit your particular body type, try true jeans for recommendations.
posted by genmonster at 12:48 PM on February 26, 2009

I'm a guy who has never bought jeans from the Gap, but I wore out a ton of jean crotches riding my bike to work and on errands. Look at where your bike saddle is worn and compare that over a few days to how you ride.

I started just buying a new pair of cheap jeans every two or three months, but then I dropped back to just wearing jeans with a little hole in them. When it got really bad I tossed/donated them. If your work attire situation is amenable, wear cheaper jeans or wear nicer ones longer.
posted by Science! at 1:05 PM on February 26, 2009

I have this problem with some jeans, usually those that aren't to generous with their accommodations for The Boys.

Try Diesel. They're expensive, but I don't get an inevitable scrotal porthole in them as I do with Banana Republic or Polo/RRL.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:31 PM on February 26, 2009

Got the same problem. I mostly wear pants that are probably a little too big for me, so that might have something to do with it, but I am not sure.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I at least triple the lifespan of my denim with Speedsew, amazing stuff, krazy glue for your pants, I cannot recommend it highly enough, I am Vince Offer for Speedsew, lol!
posted by Cosine at 1:38 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seriously, the pants I am wearing right this instant have about 10 Speedsew patches in them.
posted by Cosine at 1:39 PM on February 26, 2009

this happens to my pants too. I found that putting white glue where I usually end up with holes has done away with the problem entirely. it's not so comfortable for the first couple of days, but it works. I used to need new pants every six months and I've been wearing the pants I've got now for a year with no sign of that wear and tear. I have a hole starting in the knee. in the knee! I've never had a hole in the knee before.
posted by object-a at 1:51 PM on February 26, 2009

My husband and I both have this problem with any pair of pants, no matter how pricey (neither of us bike- it's solely because both of us have thighs that meet and abrade the fabric. In our cases, losing ten pounds would alleviate the problem.) I'm an experienced seamstress, and have tried all manner of patching and repair methods, but have never been satisfied with the look or the feel. The main problem is that you can always feel the patch, and it usually feels scratchy and/or lumpy. I just suck it up and buy new cheap jeans, and try to use it as motivation to lose weight.

It's worth trying some of the methods recommended above, though; you may not be as picky as I am. Genmonster's method is good. Patches that are just ironed on, with no sewing, don't last.
posted by doift at 2:16 PM on February 26, 2009

Buy a different bike seat, or adjust the angle of your existing one so that there is less rubbing.

I bike to work every day too, and I've found that changes in the seat makes a big difference to how quickly and where the denim wears though. I haven't tried this yet, but you might also like to experiment with wrapping the front of the seat in teflon tape or something else to reduce wear during rubbing if you think rubbing is unavoidable, but is happening in areas other than where you put your weight.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:41 PM on February 26, 2009

It has nothing to do with bikes and everything to do with shitty manufacturing.

For the record, Levis are now exactly as bad. Sadly I have no idea who, if anyone, makes jeans that don't suck anymore.
posted by genghis at 2:45 PM on February 26, 2009

I went through 3 or 4 pairs of Gap jeans in a year or so with this same problem (and I'm not even a cyclist) before I gave up and tried something else, so it might just be a problem with Gap's jeans. (That's how I'm going to justify not really answering your question.)

I get Lucky Brand jeans from Costco for about $35 a pair. My first pair are only just now starting to show wear in the area (after a year and a half).
posted by natabat at 3:01 PM on February 26, 2009

I kill trousers pretty regularly by wearing them out at the crotch. My thighs touch, and, despite being in good shape and perfect weight for my size it still happens. Jeans I can live with - suit trousers kill me. If you find a solution please let me know!
posted by prentiz at 3:50 PM on February 26, 2009

As almost everyone has mentioned, it's the jeans. Gap make jeans that fall apart quickly. Patching them doesn't fix the problem for very long.

Try Calvin Klein jeans or Esprit jeans.
posted by kirstk at 5:55 PM on February 26, 2009

Maybe your jeans are too tight or too loose? I always noticed crotch holes always appeared much quicker on loose jean than on tight ones.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:39 PM on February 26, 2009

As others have said, it's the cloth. May I suggest that you try to get as much life as possible life out of your cloth by altering your washing procedure?

Here's my rules for washing denim:

1) Wash only when you absolutely have to. I wash my jeans maybe once a month in the summer and stretch it out longer in the winter, maybe once every four months. This may sound gross, but I let my pants hang up between washings so they can air out, it keeps them reasonable for public occasions. A cold water soak (no detergent or agitation) can do wonders also.

2) When I must wash, I wash them inside-out cold water in Woolite Dark Colors detergent on gentle. Some argue that you shouldn't put them on spin, I'm not quite that hard core.

3) Never, ever put them in the dryer. Let them air dry.

I can keep a pair of Levi's going for 2 years using this procedure, and my APC's still look brand new.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:31 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

How about buying a pair of bicycle shorts/pants and changing into your jeans once you get to work.
posted by deborah at 4:47 PM on March 4, 2009

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