Why'd I lend clothing to a man named Rip Torn?
November 27, 2009 7:03 PM   Subscribe

I have several pairs of blue jeans which have ripped in the posterior section by the left pocket after about a year's worth of wear. Here's the damage: Pants #1 and Pants #2. My hackish, non-seamstress attempts at mending these rips utilized a needle and thread, repeating the stitch across the rip multiple times, but this repair tends to fall apart in the wash after a wearing or two. The jeans are otherwise in fantastic shape. I recall as a little kid deploying iron-on patches on the inside of ripped pants, but this didn't work so well and eventually came loose. Does anyone have strategies to get these rips effectively mended? I have a Jo-Ann Fabrics store on my corner where I can purchase supplies.
posted by porn in the woods to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is the reason I keep scraps of nice soft leather from old purses etc. Leather patches are hard wearing, look good on jeans, and only require a blanket stitch around the edge to stay on. Check out a local thrift store for leather old purses, jackets, etc for your leather stash.
posted by Kerasia at 7:07 PM on November 27, 2009

Best answer: A denim patch reinforced with stitches should hold well, unless these are very tight-fitting jeans. This strategy worked well for me, but I often employed it well before the hole grew to this point.
posted by biggity at 7:08 PM on November 27, 2009

Best answer: I buy the iron on patches, attach them underneath then stitch along the rip over top, stitching through both the jeans and the patch (here you can get cheap iron on mender in the supermarket but good quality interfacing from a fabric store would work better). You need to stitch it good and tight with close together, possibly overlapping stitches and definitely going beyond the edges of the rip. Make sure you tie it off really well at both ends, I bet that's what's giving in the wash now. Close together zigzag on a sewing machine works particularly well. The mender underneath holds it closed and gives extra material for the stitches to grip on to, while the stitching helps hold the patch on. Rounding the edges of the iron on patch also helps stop it lifting since it's the edges that go first.

If you do decide to patch over it some other way (and I agree that leather would wear very well) then stitch the rip shut first. It appears that this is an area under a lot of stress for whatever reason (probably something freakish about the way the pants are cut) so put as much reinforcing in there as possible to take the strain.
posted by shelleycat at 7:20 PM on November 27, 2009

Best answer: Mr. Shoes does this all the time. I take a piece of denim off of a donor pair of pants (he does this so often I actually saved a pair of jeans that were beyond repair, you could buy a little denim at Jo-Ann's.) and cut it an inch larger than the hole all around. If the hole is half an inch wide and 3 inches long, I cut a piece two and a half inches by five. I pin the patch in place with safety pins to keep it in place and use a backstitch in a blue thread that bends into the material of the pants. Draw a line a half inch around the hole and backstitch right on this line. Backstitching is very sturdy, and Mr. Shoes has never torn through a patch done this way. A thick, sharp needle is your friend, I recommend heavy duty thread, and if you need a thimble you can tape a penny to your finger.

If you google Backstitch you will find lots of diagrams and illustrations, as well as some videos. It is really easy once you get the hang of it.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:30 PM on November 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

I forgot to say that you can get a water soluble pen or tailor's chalk at the fabric store to use to draw your line.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:32 PM on November 27, 2009

Response by poster: These look like really solid tactics. I'm a novice at sewing but will check out backstitching. Thanks for the tips; these otherwise-solid pants have sat in the closet for over a year and I'd love to put them back in rotation.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:34 PM on November 27, 2009

If you decide not to sew them yourself there is a place called Denim Therapy that can fix just about anything and they are fairly reasonable in price.
posted by fshgrl at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2009

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