Repairing ripped or torn jeans

If your denim pants are punctured or torn, you don’t necessarily have to throw them out: you can fix them yourself, using one of the methods explained here.

how to hand sew jeans

Here are 5 ways to fix ripped or torn jeans, by hand or with a sewing machine.

Zoom on the different methods to repair torn or ripped jeans

There are several methods available to you to repair ripped or torn jeans, depending on the effect you want:

  • With a badge, to sew on the outside. It is the easiest and fastest method, but also the most visible.
  • With a fabric yoke, to be sewn on the outside. It is an easy and fast method, again more visible. It is ideal if you want to repair and customize jeans at the same time.
  • With a fabric or denim yoke, to be sewn inside the pants: with this method, the hole or tear will still be visible, but it will not stretch, and the skin will be covered.
  • By redoing the weft of the jeans: it is a method that requires a little more manipulation, but it is very effective because it is solid and almost invisible.
  • With a zigzag stitch, for long but not very wide tears.

Note: the sooner you do it – when the jeans are not yet completely torn – the stronger the repair and the less visible it will be.

Solution 1: Repair ripped or torn jeans with a patch

Here’s how to fix jeans with a patch. It is the easiest and most common method. There are two types of badges: sewing and gluing.

  • Get a badge you like. It must be large enough to completely cover the tear, and go at least 1 cm beyond the edges of the hole.

Note: you will be able to find badges of shapes, sizes, and colors very varied in haberdashery, and in certain large surfaces. There are fancies that are woven, leather, denim, fabric inserts …

  • With a pair of scissors, cut the threads that protrude from the tear to make it sharper, then iron it to flatten it.

Case 1: Sew a patch by hand

The badges being very thick and rigid, it is preferable to sew them by hand to have a discreet seam.

  • Pin the patch on the hole, taking care to completely cover it, and that no thread of the tear protrudes.
  • Thread a needle with a thread the same color as the edge of your badge and tie a knot at the end of the thread.
  • Sew the patch to the jeans:
    1. Run your hand inside the jeans, and bring out the needle through the badge, all against the border.
    2. Plant the needle in the jeans, a few millimeters lower and against the edge of the badge.
    3. Bring out the needle opposite, on the other side of the border, in the badge.
    4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you go around the crest.
    5. Once the patch is fully sewn, plant the needle in the jeans one last time and, on the inside, make a solid knot with the thread and the knot from the start.

Case 2: Iron-on a badge

Some badges are iron-on: the reverse is coated with glue, which melts when heated and adheres to the fabric on which the badge is applied.

  • Pin the patch on the hole, taking care to completely cover it, and that no thread of the tear protrudes.
  • Turn on your iron and set it to maximum heat.
  • Iron the badge, pressing hard on it and passing it several times.

Tip: be careful not to use plastic-headed pins when ironing.

  • When the badge seems well glued, let it cool for a few minutes so that the glue fixes.
  • Once the badge has cooled, gently pull the edges: if they come off, iron the badge again, until it no longer comes off.

Tip: iron without adding steam, it prevents the glue from setting properly.

  • If you stick the patch on parts of the jeans that are in high demand, such as the knees, you can also sew the patch, once glued, as explained above in order to have a very solid repair.

Case 3: Glue a sewing patch with textile glue

  • Make sure the edges of the tear are as sharp as possible: wash the jeans, and cut the excess threads.
  • Put the badge on the tear, and, with a pencil or a felt-tip pen, trace the contours.
  • Remove the patch, and apply fabric glue all around the hole and the tear, up to a few millimeters from the edges of the yoke.

Tip: use glue for fabric in tubes or pots, but not in a spray can: it is not made to resist washing.

  • Place your jeans on a flat surface.
  • Protect the inside of the jeans, where the tear is, with a plastic bag or any other waterproof material, to prevent the glue from depositing elsewhere.
  • Place the patch on the tear and press hard to distribute the glue.
  • Place a heavy, flat object, such as a directory or large book, on the badge.
  • Let dry: consult the instructions for your textile glue to find out its drying time.
  • Once the glue has dried, remove the book and the plastic bag.
  • Scrape off any adhesive residue.
  • With an iron set to maximum heat, iron several times on the badge, pressing hard.

Tip: iron without adding steam, it prevents the glue from setting properly.

  • Let the badge cool.
  • If you wish, you can sew the patch as explained above, in order to strengthen the repair.

Solution 2: Repair ripped or ripped jeans with a fabric yoke on the outside

If you don’t have a patch, or want to use a fabric you like to fix ripped or torn jeans, here’s how:

  • With a pair of scissors, cut the threads that protrude from the tear to make it sharper, then iron it to flatten it.
  • Cut in a non-elastic fabric of your choice a rectangle or square large enough to completely cover the hole or tear, and which goes beyond the edges of the tear by at least 2 cm.
  • Cut a second rectangle of identical size either in the iron-on lining or in a non-elastic fabric of your choice. The color of this fabric has little importance because it will be on the inside of the jeans.
  • Put your jeans inside out.
  • Apply the iron-on lining, or the fabric lining, to the tear.
  • For the fusible lining:
    • Turn on the iron and set it to the highest heat.
    • Iron the iron-on lining with strong pressure, until the lining adheres completely to the jeans.
    • Iron without steam, this prevents the glue from setting properly.
  • For a classic fabric lining:
    • If you want to sew the yoke by hand, overcast or hem the edges of the rectangle.
    • Pin the lining to the jeans.
  • Make a few stitches by hand, or with a sewing machine with a straight stitch, on the contours of the hole or tear, to fix it to the lining.

Sew the yoke by hand

  • Put the jeans on the right side.
  • Overcast or fold inward the edges of your yoke.
  • Pin the yoke on the right side of the jeans, taking care to position it in front of the inner lining.
  • Thread a needle with a thread the same color as your yoke and tie a knot at the end of the thread.
  • Sew the yoke:
    1. Run your hand inside the jeans, and bring out the needle in the fabric of the yoke, a few millimeters from the edge.
    2. Plant the needle in the jeans, a few millimeters lower and against the edge of the yoke.
    3. Bring out the needle opposite, in the yoke, a few millimeters from the edge.
    4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all around the yoke.
    5. Once the yoke is fully sewn, plant the needle in the jeans one last time and, on the inside, make a solid knot with the thread and the knot from the start.

Sew the yoke in the sewing machine

  • Put the jeans on the right side.
  • Pin the yoke on the right side of the jeans, taking care to position it in front of the inner lining.
  • Put a special jean needle on your sewing machine.
  • Thread the machine with a color thread matching your yoke.
  • Set the sewing machine on a wide (minimum 3 mm) zigzag stitch and very tight.

Tip: If your machine has a stitch called “appliqué stitch”, use this stitch to sew the yoke.

With this method, there is no need to overcast or fold the edges of your yoke, as they will be completely covered by the zigzag stitch or the appliqué point, which prevents the fabric from fraying.

  • Sew all around the yoke, making sure that the zigzag stitch or appliqué stitch completely covers the edge of the fabric.
  • Finish the seam with a few stitches in the start stitches: thus, it is not necessary to make a stop or start stitches or at the end of the seam.
  • Cut the threads flush and iron your seam.

Depending on the location of the tear, for example on the knee, it may be difficult to access this part with the sewing machine. In this case, unstitch the seam on the side of the pants leg for about twenty centimeters so that you can sew the yoke. Once the yoke is sewn, sew the side with a straight stitch, a special jean needle and a thread of the same color as that used for the original seam.

Solution 3: Repair ripped or torn jeans with a fabric yoke on the inside

Use this method if you want to prevent the hole or the tear from spreading, covering the skin discovered by the hole while keeping the tear effect for aesthetic reasons.

  • With a pair of scissors, cut the threads that protrude from the tear to make it sharper, then iron it to flatten it.
  • Cut in a non-elastic fabric of your choice, or in a piece of jeans, a rectangle or a square large enough to completely cover the hole or tear, and which goes beyond the edges of the tear by at least 2 cm.
  • Overcast or hem the edges of the yoke.
  • Put your jeans on the wrong side, and pin the yoke against the tear: the place of the yoke (the part that will be visible from the outside) against the back of the jeans.
  • Put a special jean needle on your sewing machine.
  • Thread the machine with a color thread similar to that of your jeans.

Note: you can find in the haberdashery special jeans threads: very solid, these threads are dyed unevenly in different shades of blue, in order to reproduce the effect of jeans.

  • Set the sewing machine to a straight stitch.
  • Sew the yoke to the jeans, sewing a few millimeters from the edges of the yoke.
  • Start and finish sewing with a few stitches.

Depending on the location of the tear, for example on the knee, it may be difficult to access this part with the sewing machine. In this case, unstitch the seam on the side of the pants leg for about twenty centimeters so that you can sew the yoke. Once the yoke is sewn, sew the side with a straight stitch, a special jean needle and a thread of the same color as that used for the original seam.

  • Put your jeans on the right side.
  • Now sew the contours of the tear, stitching a few millimeters from the edges of the tear.
  • Start and end your sewing with a few stitches.
  • Cut the threads flush and iron the seam.

If your tear has a lot of visible threads but still attached to the fabric, thread a needle with a thread of the color of the jeans and flatten these threads with a few stitches by hand, to prevent them from tearing more.

You can also sew the yoke by hand, but the seam will be less solid. However, this allows embroidery stitches to be applied for a decorative effect.

Solution 4: repair ripped or ripped jeans by redoing the weft of the fabric

Remaking the weft of the fabric to repair ripped or torn jeans are the most effective method because the repair is very solid and less visible. For that :

  • With a pair of scissors, cut the threads that protrude from the tear to make it sharper, then iron it to flatten it.
  • Cut in old jeans that you no longer wear a rectangle or a square of jeans large enough to completely cover the hole or tear, and which goes beyond the edges of the tear by at least 2 cm.
  • Put your jeans on the wrong side, and pin the end of the jeans on the tear.
  • Put a special jean needle on your sewing machine.
  • Thread the machine with the closest color possible to your jeans.

Note: you can find in the haberdashery special jeans thread: this thread is very solid, and it is dyed unevenly, so as to reproduce the effect of the weaving of jeans, and is therefore particularly suitable for this type of repair.

  • Set the sewing machine to a straight stitch.
  • Put the jeans on the right side, so you can see the tear.
  • Start sewing from one edge of the tear.
  • Start with a few stitches, then sew from bottom to top, then from top to bottom, always vertically.
  • Do not cut the thread every time you get to the top/bottom of the tear, but use the return button on the sewing machine.

If you do not have a round trip function on your sewing machine, stop sewing arriving at the bottom/top, turn the handwheel to plant the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot then rotate the fabric around the needle to sew in the correct direction.

  • Sew along with the entire height and width of the tear, extending a few millimeters over all the contours.
  • Once you have covered the entire surface of the tear, cut the threads flush and iron the seam lines well, on the right side, and on the back of the jeans.

Depending on the location of the tear, for example on the knee, it may be difficult to access this part with the sewing machine. In this case, unstitch the seam on the side of the pants leg for about twenty centimeters so that you can sew the yoke. Once the yoke is sewn, sew the side with a straight stitch, a special jean needle and a thread of the same color as that used for the original seam.

You can, if you wish, do this by hand. However, the seam will be less solid.

Solution 5: fix a tear on jeans with a zigzag stitch

This method is suitable for tears in the length, but which are not very wide. Here’s how to fix jeans with a zigzag stitch:

  • With a pair of scissors, cut the threads that protrude from the tear to make it sharper, then iron it to flatten it.
  • Cut out, in a non-elastic fabric of a color close to your jeans, or in jeans that you no longer wear, a rectangle large enough to completely cover the hole or the tear, and which goes beyond the edges of the tear at least 2 cm.
  • Put your jeans on the wrong side, and pin this rectangle on the tear.
  • Put a special jean needle on your sewing machine.
  • Thread the machine with the closest color possible to your jeans.

Note: you can find in the haberdashery special jeans thread: this thread is very solid, and it is dyed unevenly, so as to reproduce the effect of the weaving of jeans, and is therefore particularly suitable for this type of repair.

  • Set the sewing machine on a classic zigzag stitch.
  • Put the jeans on the right side, to see the tear while you sew.
  • Sew in a zigzag stitch on the tear, and always along the length of the tear.
  • Start and end with a few breakpoints.
  • The seam must start a little before the tear and stop a little further, to prevent it from spreading.
  • Sew as many zigzag lines as necessary to completely cover the tear.
  • Do not cut the thread every time you get to the start or end of the tear, but use the return button on the sewing machine.

Tip: if you do not have a round trip function on your sewing machine, stop sewing arriving at the bottom/top, turn the handwheel to plant the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot then do rotate the fabric around the needle to be able to sew in the correct direction.

  • While sewing, do not try to close the tear by bringing the edges together: this can create folds on the jeans.
  • Once the tear is covered, cut the threads short and iron the seam, right side, and wrong side.
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