Friday, 23 September 2016

How to Repair a Large Rip with a Sewing Machine

What do you do when your son presents you with a pair of shorts that have a huge rip? Said son felt the tear was too large to mend. Even if I could fix it, he thought the repair would cause the shorts to be tighter than they already were.

Leave it with me, I said. I couldn't make the rip any worse, and the shorts weren't wearable as they were - so, nothing to lose.


Even though the rip was 9" in length, the fabric around it was showing no signs of wear. I think the shorts were simply too tight, and tore when he bent over.


First thing was to find a suitable fabric to use as a patch behind the tear. I chose a sturdy cotton duck - not quite the right colour, but it will only be seen on the inside.

  • Cut a scrap of sturdy fabric, larger than the hole. Mine was cut to 1¼" x 12".

  • Pin the scrap of fabric to the inside of the jeans. You might find it easier to pin from the inside, but I pinned from the outside.

  • Move any nearby pockets out of the way. A Clover clip works well.


  • Tack (baste - my pink thread) the scrap of fabric in place. Use large hand stitches.
  • Keep the tacking stitches well away from the rip.
  • Remove pins.
  • Find a suitable coloured thread


  • Set sewing machine to a larger than normal stitch. Mine was set to 2.8.
  • Starting from the outside and working in, sew rows of stitching around the hole, VERY close together and in a rectangular pattern.


  • Remove tacking (pink) stitches...

... and you are done.



This is a very durable way of mending a large rip in a pair of pants. The stitching is visible, but it's not going to rip again in the same spot in a hurry. 

The camo pattern on the fabric lends itself to this type of repair. Without the pattern, the darning would be more visible. My aim was to try and make the repair end up looking like one of the seams. If my thread colour had been more of an olive colour, the same as the seams, I would have been more successful. Still, I don't think I did too badly.

On a pair of jeans, a repair such as this gives a distressed look, especially when done in a light coloured thread. You could even use a contrasting thread colour and make a feature of the repair.

Mr TMW suggested I rip the other side of the shorts, to make them symmetrical. Good idea, but I declined.

How to repair a large rip in a pair of pants. It's easy to mend the rip, much better than throwing the out. Tutorial by Threading My Way

What do you do when faced with a rip as large as this?

... Pam




25 comments:

  1. I would have done the same thing! One other tip, using some fusible web between the layers works well too.

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    1. I also have done the fusible web for my husband jeans. It has lasted for years.

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    2. Good to know it lasts a long time, Linda.

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  2. That worked great! I have never repaired rips before, so I will definitely give this a shot next time my son needs a repair. Thanks!

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  3. When your child asks, you jump to it.

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  4. Great job and nice technique. I would have tried to repair them as well. When you have clothes that you like to wear, they are worth the repair time always.

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  5. Great repair Pam! I've had to repair large rips and tears in my kids clothes that they just wouldn't part with or stop wearing! But now - they're happy for me to cut things up and make something new out of favourite clothes that get torn or worn!!

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  6. I just repaired a pair of my son's jeans that were torn like this. Although I used a different stitch (looks like a broken zigzag stitch) I ended up with a similar result! Thanks for the tip!

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  7. Great work! It seems as though I've been doing a lot of patching lately. I've used extra fabric to back a hole, but not for a long tear. Will definitely give this one a try when I have the opportunity. With two guys in the family who have trouble parting with their favorite clothing, that shouldn't be too far off.

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  8. Great repair job!
    When my son was in high school (about 20 years ago!) I carefully repaired all the tears and wear areas on his jeans, he was SO disappointed because they had finally gotten holey enough that he was in fashion!!! Hahaha!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila. Fixing your son's jeans when he wanted them worn and torn... that's hilarious!!!

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  9. I usually repair jeans rips the very same way, using scraps from similar color jeans. I sometimes use a zigzag stitch too.

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  10. Perfect timing! Just yesterday my husband asked me to repair his jeans. Normally I jump to it and wing it! Lol! However his rip is horizontal near his zipper. I will give this a try. Thanks for the tip! ��

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    1. Glad to be able to help, Beanie. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. My goodness, you'd never even know the rip was there! You are so clever, I really need to do this to some of my kids favourite clothes and Farmer Nick is forever catching pants on barbed wire on the farm!

    Thank you for sharing a great tutorial on #Trash2Treasure

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  12. Favourite clothes are always worth repairing! Neat job! They look great. #Trash2Treasure

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  13. I think it's a good idea....I might even do the other side so they "match" if I had the time!!
    jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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  14. Amazing repair! Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece with us at the To grandma's house we go link party! You were featured today!

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  15. Great job -- my sons usually bring me those large rips (in their favorite pants or shorts) after they have started fraying and don't close neatly. I try and find scrap fabric that doesn't "stand out" and sew it exactly as you did your patch with lots of machine stitching, but letting the fabric show -- it also gives them more room in the area that was too tight or didn't fit right to begin with. Great tutorial!!

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  16. My grandson preferred a more decorative repair. He chose fabric from my extensive stash (including my precious batiks). And I used a method like yours, but the underlying fabric shows. I reinforced around the tear. He even wanted the frayed fibers to remain. Designer jeans without the cost. The jeans were that soft way they get when older. He loved them.

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    1. My gardening jeans are sewn with the patch underneath showing, just like your grandson's. I'm not sure if I'm game to do the same with jeans I wear out. Great on jeans for young people, though.

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  17. My repair days were back in the 1970's. My son was so hard on his jeans that he wore holes in the knees within days of purchase. I used denim material and made patches on the outside. I wrote sayings like "Kiss me" "you doll" "football" etc. on each. Soon my daughter wanted patches although her jeans were not torn. I put them on the legs or the seat. It wasn't long before the neighborhood kids wanted patches too.

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    1. My son was like that with his pants and his shoes, too. Pity I couldn't darn the shoes, like the pants. I love how you wrote sayings when patching the jeans. No wonder your daughter and the other kids wanted them, too.

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