Thursday 28 April 2016

Darning Large Holes in Jeans

What do you do with a pair of jeans that has a rather large hole? Refashioning or repurposing springs immediately to mind - salvage the unholy parts, and make them into something else. But that's not the only option. No matter how big the hole, it is possible to prolong the life of jeans by repairing them.

How to mend a large hole in a pair of jeans. Tutorial by Threading My Way

I recently discovered a rather large hole in a pair of my gardening jeans. Who knows how long I had been walking around with them like this! I wasn't prepared to relegate any of my everyday jeans to be worn in the garden, so fixing the hole was my only option.

As they're only worn in the garden, I wasn't too fussed about what the end result would look like. All I needed was the hole fixed up. There are several ways to repair jeans, but I chose to darn this pair by hand. Here's how I did it.

  • Cut a scrap of sturdy fabric, larger than the hole. I used denim from a pair of jeans I'd previously cut into.
  • Turn the jeans inside out.
  • Pin the scrap of fabric to the inside of the jeans.

  • Turn jeans right side out.
  • Tack (baste) the scrap of fabric in place. Use large hand stitches.
  • Remove pins.

  • Choose a large, strong needle. Miss Sews-it-all has an informative post on needles for hand sewing.
  • Thread needle with strong, double thread. 

  • Cut off any excess fraying. You could cut off the long, loose threads, but I chose to leave them.

  • Choose whether to sew the long or the short side first. I chose the long side, but looking at the photo now, I'm wondering if the short side might have been a better option.
  • Sew lines of stitching in the direction you chose, going up and down the length of the hole.
  • Change directions and sew lines across and back.
Make the stitching as small as possible. The thick fabric and the largish needle will limit the size of the stitches.

Go up and down, and across and back, as many times as is required to both darn the hole and to get the look you are after.

  • Turn jeans inside out.
  • Trim excess fabric around the darning.

As these are gardening jeans, stained with dirt and paint, I didn't worry too much about the finished look. They're functional again and that's all I care about.

However, while writing this post, I started thinking about whether I'd wear darned jeans as good jeans. 

There was a stage when ripped jeans became fashionable. Is this still the case? People were paying big money to wear designer jeans that came with ready made rips and tears. 

If jeans with 4" rips are trendy, perhaps I would be able to get away with darned jeans. I'd have to put more thought into the colour of the patch as well as the thread colour, however.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, there's more than one way to mend holes in jeans. Here's a few links you may find helpful...
What do you do with your jeans once they've seen better days?

... Pam

If you think others would benefit from reading this post, feel free to share on social media.


  1. Wow. I never knew how to do this! I have tossed out jeans because the holes were big or in inconvenient areas. This looks really nice.

  2. How hard is it to hand stitch through a couple of layers of denim - you must have used a fairly sturdy needle? With jeans being so heavy duty and with such thick seams, there are certainly areas that are nigh on impossible to get to by machine - it never even occurred to me to think about stitching them by hand, lol. I need to think outside of the box more often :D

  3. Great idea. I just have a jean with little holes. I amended once and will do the same mending as you do. Jeans with mending or stitching is icing on the cake. I would love the upcycling too.

    1. I've just done another one with small holes, too, Terrie.

  4. I love how your mending turned out, and it's not too obvious either. Thanks for sharing my mending tutorial :)

  5. Definitely a subject that doesn't get much air time - haha - pun intended for the place your hole occupies.
    Back in the day, I was taught to darn.
    My husband once asked me if I would darn his tube socks. Now, tube socks and all other men's socks cost at least half of what women's socks do. You can easily imagine my answer.
    (btw, I will only darn wool socks).

  6. Great job fixing those jeans up to make a few more rounds in the garden, Pam! Your stitches are very neat.I can't use a hand sewing needle as agressively as I once could for sewing through thick layers of fabric like denim. I use pieces of iron-on patches cut to the shape of the hole and iron to the wrong side and then I wrestle the jeans under my sewing machine to darn around the hole and back and forth over the patch. My husband is a master at tearing holes in the rear of his jeans(lol). I have been thinking about doing a post about that!

  7. I always patched holes in the knees of the kids jeans when they were growing up - similar to your method but on the machine.
    I would probably not have thought to repair a rip in this area, I'd assume it would be too difficult, I consider myself informed and educated on this lovely spring Saturday morning! Thank you.

  8. This is a good way to patch up. I have filled smaller holes though.

    1. Thanks, Vasudha. The smaller the hole, the easier it is.

  9. Great fix!! I hate throwing away a pair of jeans! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that features your tutorial: --Anne

  10. I've been patching holes on a pair of the son-in-law's jeans putting the patch on the inside, but I was fortunate to be able to use the sewing machine. He wears those jeans with the wide legs making that chore easier. It got me to thinking, however, about what I might do if the legs were too narrow for the machine. My thought was that I would have to take the seam out. What does it say about me that I never thought of hand sewing? Weird for someone who hand quilts large items! One thing I did with the recent patching was to put some stick glue on the edges to hold the patch in place for sewing. That worked out great especially on the patch I cut in an odd shape to fit the hole more exactly. I shall have to put up a post of my patching with a link to this one. Mine was fast, but yours is prettier!

  11. with a 12 year old daughter I can safely say ripped jeans are back in fahion. I can't quite get my head around buying new clothes with holes. However I do like to mend favourites. I'm pretty hopeless with a sewing machine but I can do a spot of darning. I may have to do this to my daughters jeans when the designer rips get too big! Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure

  12. I've had a few pairs of jeans and trousers I've patched or darned and I'm always happy to carry on wearing them - except with holes on the bum! I wouldn't mind at all out in the garden either but I've had a couple of pairs of trousers I've liked which I've chopped up once they've had holes in those more delicate places! It's hard to make a positive feature of a patch there and also hard to darn it without it being at least slightly visible. Would you wear these if they were a 'good' pair and you were wearing them out and about? I'm not normally in the slightest bit self conscious about what I'm wearing/how I look so perhaps I'm being unnaturally particular here!


Thanks for stopping by! I love reading your comments and try to reply to all of them via email. If you don't receive an email reply from me, check back here.