Jeans last so long that after a while they start to feel like they have their own personalities, don’t they? You almost certainly have a favorite pair of jeans for yard work, a favorite pair of stretch jeans for wearing to Target, and maybe even a favorite pair of jeans for wearing with heels out on the town! Jeans do last a long time, but you can keep your favorites in good shape even longer by learning how to fix a hole in jeans with a few simple tools.
The best way to fix a small hole in jeans is to sew it by hand with a straight or darning stitch. Other almost invisible ways to fix a hole in jeans include using a sewing machine, fabric glue, or an iron-on denim patch. For a more decorative repair, try using embroidery thread to repair the hole or adding a Sashiko embroidery pattern to cover the ripped area.
In this article, you will learn eleven simple methods for fixing a hole in jeans. You will find out if iron-on patches work and how to sew through denim. Finally, you will discover the best method to use for rips in difficult places on your jeans.
- Is it Worth it to Patch Jeans With Holes?
- How to Fix Hole in Jeans: 11 Methods
- How to Fix Holes in Jeans Crotch
- How to Patch Jeans Knee
- How to Fix Holes in Jeans Inner Thigh
- Can You Iron a Patch Inside Jeans?
- What is the Quickest Way to Fix Ripped Jeans?
- Can Tailors Fix Holes in Jeans?
- What is the Best Way to Patch Jeans?
Is it Worth it to Patch Jeans With Holes?
In most cases, it is worth it to patch a hole in jeans because it extends the lifespan of a useful garment and allows you to keep wearing the pants for years to come. This is especially true if you buy expensive, good-quality jeans meant to last a long time.
In many cases, you can repair a small hole in an unobtrusive manner that makes the garment more or less as good as new. Or you can choose to embrace the imperfection and decorate the hole as part of the repair.
Either way, fixing your jeans instead of discarding them is an environmentally-friendly choice. Even if you buy jeans from a company that practices sustainable manufacturing and tries not to use an excessive amount of water, the fact is that growing cotton takes a lot from the planet. This means that the longer you wear the jeans before you go out and buy a new pair, the better!
If your seven-year-old tears out the knees in his jeans, you may decide that fixing the tear is more trouble than it’s worth, as children outgrow pants so rapidly. In this case, perhaps you can save the ripped pants to use as patches in future pairs of jeans!
The other instance in which it gets trickier to repair jeans is if you have cheap stretch jeans, like skinny jeans you bought at that random mall kiosk. The thin denim full of elastic fibers may not respond as well to sewing or even hold onto an iron-on patch.
What causes holes in jeans? The most common factors are friction and stress. This is why jeans often wear away or rip in the crotch area or at the knees. These high-stress points bend and flex constantly as you move. Plus, the thigh and crotch area sees a lot of friction throughout the day as you walk, sit, or stand.
Sometimes small holes in your jeans can come from acid-based matter as well. This can come from something as innocuous as some types of foods or something obvious and dangerous, like battery acid. If your clothes came into contact with chlorine bleach, that could weaken the fabric and eventually cause holes.
The good news is that no matter what caused the hole, you can almost always repair the damage using one of these simple methods!
How to Fix Hole in Jeans: 11 Methods
The most popular way to fix a hole in jeans is to sew it by hand, using methods such as a straight stitch, a darning stitch, or several embroidery techniques. In some cases, you can use a sewing machine to attach a patch instead. You can even use fabric glue or an iron-on patch if you do not want to bother with sewing!
1. By Hand
If you have a needle and thread somewhere in your home, you can easily master the straight-stitch method of repairing a hole in jeans by hand. (If you don’t own a needle and thread, don’t worry! You can find small sewing kits in most grocery checkout lanes or at any Dollar Store).
This is the best method for fixing small, clean tears in jeans. It is less effective if you have a big hole where the denim fabric has frayed away over time. In that instance, you’ll want to apply a patch to cover the large gap, as you will see in the following methods.
- Start by carefully snipping away any raggedy threads hanging off the straight tear. Tiny embroidery scissors work best for this so that you do not accidentally make the hole larger.
- This step is optional, but it adds a lot of additional stability to the torn section. Cut out a small piece of fusible interfacing half an inch longer and wider than the rip in your jeans. Use an iron to fuse the interfacing to the inside of the denim, right behind the tear.
- Next, cut a length of thread that matches your jeans. Tie a knot at the long end of the thread, and thread the other end through the eye of the needle.
- Insert the needle into the jeans from the back of the tear, starting about ¼ of an inch from the edge of the rip. Pull the thread through until the knot snags on the inside of the fabric, holding it in place.
- Use a blanket stitch or overcast stitch to seal the torn edges of the hole together. To make a blanket stitch, put the needle down in the fabric edge across the hole, just a few millimeters to the right. Next, poke the thread back up from underneath on the side of the hole where yous tarted, but just a few millimeters to the right from the first stitch. This will form a loop that holds the torn edges of the hole together.
- Continue this looping stitch, keeping each thread close to the previous stitch until you reach the end of the tear.
- Push the needle through to the inside of the fabric and tie off a knot to keep it secure.
2. With a Sewing Machine
The easiest way to fix a small hole in your jeans on a sewing machine is to use a zigzag stitch. This method works well on small holes or very straight tears. Of course, you have to own a sewing machine to use this technique, but it does offer one of the quickest ways to fix your jeans!
Before you get started, make sure your sewing machine has a free arm, meaning that you can remove part of the body in front of the needle plate. The part of the machine just below the needle will rest an inch or so off the surface of the table, allowing you to sew on a round item like a jean’s pant leg.
- Set up your machine with upper and lower thread that matches your jeans. If possible, use a heavy-duty needle like a 100/16 for sewing denim.
- Turn on your machine and set it to a zig-zag stitch.
- Insert the torn denim so that the tear aligns with the needle facing you. You want the zig-zag stitch to run down the length of the tear, sealing the torn edges together.
- Sew slowly down the length of the tear.
- When you finish, clip the threads but leave a long tail. Insert the thread left on the front of the jeans into a hand sewing needle. Use the needle to pull the tail of thread through to the inside of the jeans, and then tie it off.
If you have more sewing experience, you can also make a sturdy repair using a buttonhole stitch and a buttonhole presser foot on most sewing machines. Simply center the buttonhole foot over the small hole or tear!
3. With Embroidery
One of the most fun and quirky ways to fix a hole in your jeans is to use hand-sewn embroidery!
All you need is some embroidery floss, which is a kind of soft multi-ply thread lighter than yarn but thicker than sewing thread. If you want to use a premade pattern, you may also want a fabric marker to sketch the design onto the denim before you begin.
You can use embroidery thread to stitch any kind of pattern or image you want, but check out these simple ideas to get you started:
- For a super-simple embroidery fix, sew the edges of the hole together with a few small stitches and then set blocks of satin stitches over the hole. You can put all the stitches in one direction or set alternating vertical and horizontal blocks to create a chessboard effect.
- For another satin stitch repair, draw the outline of a heart around the edges of the hole. Then use a satin stitch, working from the outline you drew to the center of the heart, to fill it in with a colorful thread.
- Finally, you can always freehand embroidery flowers or other shapes over and around the hole!
4. With Patch and Embroidery
If you like the idea of turning a hole in your jeans into a fashion statement, try using a colorful cotton patch and matching embroidery threads. This method works great for big, gaping holes. For example, if you ripped out the knee in your jeans, this method can provide a quirky, colorful repair!
- Start by selecting colorful, patterned cotton. Quilting cotton works well for this purpose because it has a heavier weight and will hold up better. You will also want embroidery floss that matches the patterned cotton.
- Cut out a piece of the cotton about half an inch bigger than the hole on all sides.
- Place the swatch inside the jeans so that the color pattern looks out through the hole. Use sharp sewing pins to hold it in place around the edges of the hole.
- Tie a knot on the long end of your embroidery floss and draw the needle through the denim from the back till the knot sticks firmly against the back of the patch.
- You can stitch designs as simple as Xs made from two crossed stitches or sew vines and flowers around the edge of the patch.
- Once you finish your pattern, bring the needle back to the inside of the denim to tie off the thread.
5. With Sashiko Embroidery
Another creative way to patch a hole using embroidery floss is to try the simple repeating patterns of Sashiko embroidery. This embroidery style originates in Japan and provides both decoration and reinforcement to strengthen the fabric.
You can buy special sashiko thread or just use regular cotton embroidery floss if you have that readily available.
- Use a denim patch that matches your jeans. You can order denim patches online, cut up an old pair of jeans, or go to a thrift store to buy used jeans in a shade that matches.
- Set the patch behind the hole so that the nice side of the denim on the patch shows up through the hole. Use sewing pins to hold the patch in place.
- Thread a needle with your embroidery floss and tie a knot at the long end.
- Turn your jeans inside out to give you better access to the back of the patch.
- Push the needle into the path, going through the patch and out through the denim of the jeans as well.
- Then sew a running a stitch down one edge of the patch. This means sewing closely spaced straight stitches in a long line.
- Sew parallel lines of the running stitches, keeping each line about ¼ of an inch from the previous line. Sew lines of running stitches across the patch until you reach the opposite side from where you started.
Sewing lines of neatly spaced running stitches is the easiest method to get you started. You can find many other Sashiko stitches in repeating patterns to try if you like this idea!
6. With Darning
The most traditional way to fix a hole in clothing is to use a darning stitch. This does leave a visible repair but provides a sturdy fix that will hold up for a long time. This method works best for small holes and tears not located right next to a seam in the garment.
- Thread your needle with a thread that matches your jeans. Tie a knot at the long end.
- Start from inside the jeans and pull the needle and thread all the way through.
- Next, sew rows of vertical threads over the hole. Bring your needle down from the top of the denim on the opposite side of the hole. Pull it all the way through, then come back up right next to that point. Now bring the needle back to the original side of the hole, once again leaving a strand of thread across the hole.
- Once you have covered the hole with closely spaced vertical thread, bring your needle up on the side of the hole. Carefully weave the needle in an over-under pattern through the vertical threads. When you reach the far side, slide the thread all the way through. Take a stitch on that side of the hole, then come back up right next to that point.
- Keep weaving the needle back and forth through the vertical threads until you have essentially created a new piece of cloth inside the hole!
7. Without Sewing
If you want a super quick fix for the hole in your jeans, go to a craft store and buy a small tube of fabric glue. This handy stuff will firmly adhere two pieces of fabric together.
You can use it to stick a denim patch to the inside of your jeans, filling in the hole! Just draw a line of fabric glue around the inside edge of the hole, and smooth on the patch.
Of course, this quick and easy method does not provide the best or most permanent solution. But in a pinch, it will work just fine!
Another easy way to fix a hole or tear in your jeans is to use heat to apply an iron-on patch. You can find iron-on denim in pretty much every shade imaginable online. You can also find basic colors at most craft or sewing stores.
- To apply an iron-on patch, simply cut out two swatches slightly larger than the hole.
- Turn the jeans inside out and place one patch sticky side down onto the inside of the hole.
- Set your iron on the patch and leave it there for however long the denim patch packaging instructs, usually at least thirty seconds.
- Let the jeans cool slightly and then turn them right side out.
- Place the second patch on top of the hole on the outside of the jeans.
- Repeat the ironing process to seal the second patch in place.
- Now you have a patch sandwich around the hole, securely repairing it!
Using a denim patch does provide a good temporary solution. However, patches tend to curl up at the edges over time and even fall off after going through the wash.
9. With Lace
If you want a whimsical and decorative repair to the hole in your jeans, try adding a piece of lace instead of a patch to fill in the hole!
You can use lace off an old dress, bits of old tablecloths or curtains, or even a section from a crocheted doily. Then use a sewing machine or hand stitching to sew the edges of the lace to the inside of the denim.
10. With Fun Socks
The most fun way to repair a hole in your jeans is to use a piece cut out of a novelty sock. Do you have old socks patterns with Disney characters, dragons, or Baby Yodas? Simply cut out a section of the sock and stitch it to the reverse side of the denim so that the dragon or Baby Yoda looks like it is peeking out through the hole!
This fun technique may not provide the most durable repair, but it will surely bring new life to an old pair of jeans. Kids will also love this quirky way to add a favorite TV character or superhero into their clothing.
11. With Sustainable Sewing
If you want to save money and do your part for the environment, you can make a point of using thrifted or recycled denim to patch the holes in your jeans. Of course, you have already taken a step in the right direction by trying to make your jeans last longer instead of throwing them out and buying new ones! But you can do even better by using old clothing to make patches in your jeans.
This way, you aren’t buying ready-made iron-on denim patches. Instead, you can thoughtfully recycle the pair of jeans that got so stretched out that no one can wear them or the tiny toddler jeans that your baby spilled blueberries onto last year.
The other reason recycling or thrifting old jeans for your patches is so great is to keep the unwearable jeans out of a landfill. Any time you can find a way to reuse your clothing in two or even three different ways, you can make a difference!
How to Fix Holes in Jeans Crotch
One of the most common places for jeans to wear out and tear is at the crotch. These sections see a lot of friction every time you wear the jeans.
These suggestions will help you find the best way to fix holes in the crotch of your jeans.
- For any hole not right next to a seam in the jeans, use a denim patch. For the sturdiest results, sew it in by hand or with a sewing machine. This provides a lot of reinforcement to the denim and will help prevent further tearing.
- If you have a hole located next to a seam in the crotch, try the hand-stitching method described earlier in this article to neatly seal the torn edges back together. Then reinforce this by adding a piece of fusible interfacing to the inside of the jeans.
- If you find that your jeans often wear thin or tear in this area, you might want to try applying denim patches on the inside of the crotch area when you first buy the jeans. This will reinforce the strained section of denim and give it a longer life.
How to Patch Jeans Knee
Two of the best ways to patch jeans at the knee are to sew in a patch or use a reinforced embroidery method such as Sashiko embroidery over a patch at the knee. Patching the knee provides durability and reinforcement to help this frequently stressed part of the pant leg remain stable.
Of course, if you would rather make a fashion statement than make your jeans super sturdy, you may want to try one of the fun patching ideas described earlier in this article. Using a lace insert or cutting out a fun character from a novelty sock can make your jeans look fun and quirky!
For small holes at the knee, you can also use methods such as darning or sewing the hole shut by hand. But most jeans holes tend to get big enough that they require some manner of patching.
How to Fix Holes in Jeans Inner Thigh
The best way to fix holes in the jeans’ inner thigh areas is to use an unobtrusive stitching method that does not draw attention to the repair.
The awkward thing about a hole in the upper thigh is that it doesn’t tend to look decorative; it just looks accidental, So your best solution is usually to try to mend the hole as invisible as possible. Try using the sew by hand method for small holes or a sewing machine for straight tears.
You can also use tiny denim patches hand stitched into place, which has the benefit of reinforcing the possibly strained denim around the hole.
Can You Iron a Patch Inside Jeans?
Yes, you can easily iron a patch inside jeans by turning the jeans inside out! If you do this, though, you will need to add a second patch on the outside of the jeans, sandwiching the original jeans between the two iron-on patches. Otherwise, the patch you put on the inside would have sticky bits showing through the hole in your jeans.
If you do not like the idea of a stiff double-patch, simply apply the iron-on only on the outside of the jeans. This method does not last as long but may feel more comfortable.
What is the Quickest Way to Fix Ripped Jeans?
The quickest way to fix ripped jeans is to use an iron-on patch. You can make this kind of repair almost anywhere–even if you’re traveling, you can pop into a Walmart or a sewing store to buy a denim patch and then use an iron, hair straightener, or curling iron to set the patch onto your jeans!
For a small tear, using a hand sewing method can also work pretty quickly. This is another easy on-the-go solution, as all you need is a needle and thread.
For along, straight hole, using a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine also provides a quick fix.
Can Tailors Fix Holes in Jeans?
Tailors can fix some holes in jeans professionally that does not leave evidence of the damage.
You can also take ripped jeans to a dry cleaner in some cases. A dry cleaner or tailor has the advantage of a big pool of resources and can often exactly match patches and threads to invisibly repair jeans. The downside is that you may find these repairs quite costly, even reaching as high as $120 in some cases!
This just shows that learning a simple skill like repairing a hole in your clothes can save you a lot of money in the long run.
What is the Best Way to Patch Jeans?
The sturdiest way to repair a hole in your jeans is to sew a patch to the inside of the denim, covering the hole and reinforcing the remaining denim around the hole. This method does take some time and patience, though.
The best quick solution for a hole in your jeans is to use iron-on denim patches to sandwich the torn denim between two heat-activated adhesive layers.
If you prefer a decorative repair, the best way to repair jeans is to use either a creative insert like lace or embroidery thread. You can embroider freehand flowers, satin-stitch blocks, or even simple straight stitches to bring a colorful touch to the repair.