Along with hems and waistline alterations, fixing torn jeans is one of the most common repairments on jeans that we make on a daily basis.
Unlike other alterations, though (where you can choose between a couple of techniques and steps to follow), torn places on jeans come in many shapes and forms.
Therefore, they require a more creative approach.
In this post,
I am going to show you 5 different ways to fix torn jeans by yourself that I often use in my work.
How to fix torn jeans by darning
I consider this to be the classical approach toward patching jeans - and I mean by darning around the torn area. To do it, you need to make many little forward and backward stitches over a patch that you place under the torn area.
Here are the steps to follow.
Breack the outer leg side seam (image 1)
I am going to be working on a pair that originally had patches at the knees.
The fabric was really stretchy, which I don't recommend for patches and especially for patches on the knees as there is some intensive stretching at that area.
I am going to replace the patches with denim fabric ones.
In order to be able to sew,
I need to break the side seam of the leg so that I can feed the leg into the machine. You should unpick the side without the topstitching, which is usually at the outer leg (image 2).
I want to break enough of the seam so that I can work with ease (image 3).
If the jeans are ripped in a place where you can easily sew, you don't need to break any seams. You can skip this step.
Fix the patches to the jeans
I have prepared those patches from some denim scraps. Clean the raw edges of the patches to prevent unraveling.
I used to serge all around the patch, but lately, I like to use pinking shears to save some time and work threading the serger.
Both will do the job, as well as some other overcasting seam on your sewing machine.
Then, I am going to pin the patches to see how they look on the jeans (image 4).
I am going to sew them on the inside of the legs with the face of the patches down (image 5).
Go all around the patches to ensure that they are properly attached to the jeans.
Darning the patches
Turn the jeans outside in so that you are going to sew on the face side (image 6). Make some forward and backward stitches at the edge all around the rip. This is not only going to fasten the patch but also compensate for the worn off fabric around the rip (image 7).
I thought I would show this fix with the regular foot so that everyone can replicate it.
If you happen to have a darning foot, you might prefer to use that one as it ensures the free motion over the loose threads around the rip. This way you can skip adjusting the foot over the threads and make it a bit easier on yourself.
the regular foot will do the job as well.
Redo the side seams
I am going to restore the side seams that I had to break in order to be able to insert the jeans into the machine (image 8). And I am done with this project.
You can see the darned patches at the first picture at the top.
Here is the video I made while darning the jeans:
How to fix torn jeans without sewing
My personal favorite way to patch jeans does not include sewing. For this example, I am going to use fabric glue.
I like it that much because it saves me a lot of time and produces results that are as good as (if not better) than the ones when sewing.
Plus, when you glue the patches, you don’t need to open the side seams around the ripped area so that you can sew.
you do need to make sure that the glue you are using is one of good quality and strong enough to provide lasting results.
Pick the right fabric glue
Fabric glue can be very useful for different projects. I use it a lot when I make costumes and dolls for my daughters, as well as when I patch jeans.
Using a good fabric glue is essential for best results. There are a lot of different trademarks and types of glue on the market.
Right now I use those two on the pictures below. The first has no color and the second one is white but stronger.
I prefer the clear one for more delicate fabrics. If I use the glue for jeans, the fabric is thick enough, so I don’t have to worry about the possibility of glue going through it.
If this happens (on more delicate fabrics) it is going to be visible on the face of the fabric and ruin the whole project you are on.
I get those brands of glue in our local sewing shop. I use this particular brand of fabric glue because it is really strong and patches never come off, they last for years. Most probably there are plenty to choose from where you live. If you are looking for recommendations, I've used this one with good results as well.
You should test your glue on small pieces of fabric before you use it on a garment. This can help you choose a glue for all your projects in the future.
Let’s continue with
The steps to patch jeans with fabric glue
Prepare the patches
First, you need a piece of denim fabric for the patches. Find a piece of jeans fabric that looks similar to the pair you have. This is in case you want to make the patch less visible. There is an option to put a piece of fabric with contrasting color or even another type of fabric like lace or linen. This is up to your design and taste. A patch that stretches won’t be a good choice so go for a non-stretch fabric.
Cut the patch so that it covers the hole as well as some of the worn off fabric around it (image 1). The glue can easily go through the thinner worn fabric, so make sure to leave enough space around the rip. I don’t measure, I just eyeball it. If you prefer, you can measure prior to cutting the patches.
Then, clean the edges of the patch so it won’t unravel. In this example, I used my serger for that purpose (image 2). If you don’t have one, you can use a zig zag stitch as well or the pinking shears like the ones I use in the video below.
Glue the patches to the jeans
Once I have the patches, I need to glue them to the inside of the jeans.
First, I am going to turn the jeans inside out. I like to put plastic bags inside the legs to prevent glue from going through and sticking to the back (image 3). This doesn’t usually happen, because jeans are thick enough, but I like to be extra cautious especially on clients’ jeans.
I am going to position the patches where I am about to glue them. Then, I am going to start applying the glue.
First, I am going to put some glue around the hole itself (image 4). Make sure to go around the fabric that has gone worn off as well, so the glue sticks to the strong fabric around it. Then, put some glue on the face side of the patch, but not too close to the edge so it doesn’t spill out when you press the patch to the jeans (image 5).
Be careful to position the patch well and press nicely with your hands (image 6). I like to leave the jeans for 24 hours like this so that the glue sticks nicely to both layers of fabric.
Then, turn the jeans inside out and you are ready. This turned out to be a durable and lasting solution to the problem that is also pretty cheap. And last but not least, saves a lot of time and effort.
In the video, I am going to follow the same steps and glue some patches under the holes.
Here I have other two pairs of jeans: one used to have that worn off effect, which transformed into actual holes and the other got ripped at the knees.
Fix torn jeans at the knees
Here I have another pair that is ripped at the knees (image 1). What I am going to do here is to replace the fabric in the knee area. I want to get rid not only of the hole but of the faded color area around it as well.
In my experience, this way to fix the knees works very well on leggings and other knit pants as well.
Here is how to do it yourself on jeans.
Remove the torn fabric
Mark with a couple of pins the area that you want to replace (image 2). I do that on the leg with the bigger torn. Then, mirror the marks on the other leg. The easiest way to do it without measuring is to fold the jeans in half, align them nicely and put the pins at the same place as on the other leg (image 4 and 5).
Pick a fabric piece that looks well next to the main fabric (image 3). You may aim for the same color or go for a different color for a nice contrasting effect.
Next, I draw the lines where I am going to cut. Draw the first line perpendicular to the side seams over the marking pin (image 6). Measure the distance between the line and the second pin (image 7), apply the same distance on the sides of the leg and draw the second line (image 8).
Again, to avoid more measuring, fold the jeans in half front sides together. Tap with hands until the lines left by the chalk get marked on the other leg (image 9). They should be exactly over the pins on the other side. You might need to reinforce the lines a bit.
Now turn the jeans inside out and break the side seams at both sides of the legs (image 10). Go a couple of inches above the lines so that it is easier to sew later. On one side you are going to have only joining seams and on the other jeans usually go with one, two or even three lines of topstitching. Mine has two, so I need to break both of them in order to separate the front leg from the back completely (image 11).
Then I cut a bit in from the lines to leave ⅜ of an inch or 1 cm for seam allowance (image 12).
Prepare the patches
I use the pieces I’ve just removed as a pattern for the new ones and cut two facing each other (image 13). Now I need to attach them. I pin the patch to the upper part of the leg face sides together (image 14). I make the joining seam.
Then I repeat the same steps on the bottom. I put both details facing each other and make the joining seam. I sew on the wrong side exactly as I did at the top. Here is how it looks like with the patches attached (image 15).
I am topstitching over the joining seams so that the seams look better and they are more durable as well. Make the topstitch over the patch (image 16). Here is how it looks like by now (image 17).
Redo the side seams
Now, I need to restore the side seams. I make sure to make the top stitches on the inner leg first (image 18) because they are going to be impossible to make if we close the leg on the other side first. In my case, the top stitch and the joining seam are the same, so I fold the fabric of front and back leg together and make the seam.
The second line of topstitching here is much easier to make. Here is how it looks by now (image 19). The only thing left to do is to close the outer leg seam and serge or zigzag the edge as it used to be (image 20).
You can see the mended jeans in the third picture on the top.
Perhaps, this is not the perfect example because black is hard to work with and match colors with all the shades of black available. I believe you can get better results than the ones I achieved here by following these steps.
Here is the video I made while mending those jeans:
How to fix ripped jeans with an applique
Another thing I wanted to show is that you can cover up the tear with an applique. You can use one you’ve made yourself or buy it in a sewing shop. Appliqued jeans are also a trend now, so this is a fix you might want to consider.
Here I have this tear on a really nasty place to cover (image 1). I am going to break the side seam and sew the applique over the ripped area (image 2).
Often I would darn the torn place under and then sew the applique. In this case, the tear is at a place that is not being intensively stretched, so I am choosing to sew the applique over at the corners, without darning the torn fabric underneath (image 3).
The way you apply it is by sewing all around the edges of the applique (image 4).
There are also some fusible appliques on the market which you can put on by heating with an iron and skip sewing.
Here is an example of those as well.