Denim Jeans – Invisible Mending (Almost)

Following on from my experiments in patching here and EcoThrifty’s slow fashion challenge, I decided to tackle the 3 pairs of jeans with holes in the knees.  I knew I’d saved them for something 😉

I’m really pleased with the results and this is how I did it.

Tiny tiny stitches. As if made by mice.

I’d looked at a couple of different online tutorials and even bought the embroidery foot attachment to do it by sewing machine.  Then in a fit of enthusiasm (I can’t remember why) I decided to do it by hand.  This was a much slower process but gave much better results.

You will need:

Patching needs a patch.

Patching needs a patch.

Spare denim for patch

Thread in a similar coloured thread to the denim

Sharp needle

Small embroidery hoop


Choose your weapons!

Choose your weapons!

1. Pin the denim patch on the inside of the trousers with the right side of the patch facing the wrong side of the hole. You should be able to see the right side of the patching material through the hole.

2. Then stretch the denim over an embroidery hoop to keep the fabric taught and even throughout the mend.

You can just about see just under a half of the patch has been stitched on the left of the photo.

3. Sew vertical lines of small running stitches up and down the patch, securing it to the original denim with lots of small little stitches.  For material this thick running stitch works fine.  Just don’t pull the stitches so tight the material buckles. If you look very closely in the above photo you’ll just about be able to see my rows of stitching on the left hand side of the patch.

4. Once you have covered the whole of the patch with lines of closely spaced running stitch turn the jeans right side out.  Use more hand stitching to blend the edges of the hole and any bits of frayed fabric until it is hard to discern where the edges of the patch are.

If you don’t have any spare denim to make a patch then you could consider sewing up one of the back pockets of your jeans and cutting a patch out of the fabric in the back layer of the pocket which won’t be seen.

When I showed the jeans to Josh he couldn’t see the patch at all at first.  Success!

This mend took a lot of time and effort.  But it was worth it, partly because I got a real buzz out of doing such a great job (no false modesty here!)  Secondly because it is one of the small steps I’m taking against throw-away fashion.  If we mend our clothes they will last longer, then means we can afford to buy fair trade, organic cotton and more expensive clothes which will in turn last longer.  Not everyone can afford to buy more expensive clothes and every choice you make for yourself and your family is personal so this isn’t about judging anyone’s choices but my own.

But I can’t buy clothes which I know are made by people who don’t get paid a fair wage and have to work in dangerous conditions, use cotton grown using farming practices which are unsustainable.



8 thoughts on “Denim Jeans – Invisible Mending (Almost)

  1. KathrynH

    I’m very impressed with your darning – mine is a lot messier! I totally agree about the buzz you get from mending something yourself, rather than throwing it away and being forced to buy something new.

  2. Becky A Post author

    Hi Kathryn

    Thanks for the comment and the compliment. The only reason it looks so neat is because it took hours and hours. I only hope it hold up, if I have to redo it in a week or too then I’ll feel pretty cheated 😉

  3. smallftprints

    This is a great idea!! I’ve mended jeans before but I’m afraid that I just sewed the two pieces together. It didn’t really look good. I never thought of using a patch to patch. 🙂 Thanks so much!

    1. Becky A Post author

      Thank you so much. I was reading a bunch of different blogs on mending and this was a mash up of tips from all of them (I can’t even remember what they all were to credit them… sorry!) it just came to me that if I did this by hand I could probably blend in the patch almost as if I were embroidering it!

  4. Pingback: Mending, Mending, Mending | Westwick Dreaming

  5. sarvivox

    Hi, I’ve looked at a lot of patching tutorials and this one looks the most truly invisible. Two questions, if you have a moment — did you trim away the frayed threads from the original hole in the jeans, or just stitch over them to help it all blend in? Also, how did this hold up over time? I have found a really fantastic thread from Gutermann called jeans thread which is a sort of heathered, variegated color ranging from indigo to light blue, blends in really nicely with many shades of jeans. Thank you!

    1. Becky A Post author

      Hi Sarvivox – It held up really well – still going strong even now. I didn’t trim the frayed edges I stitched over the top of them to blend it all in.

      It isn’t totally invisible but only the person wearing them or the person who mended them will likely notice. I love the idea of the jeans thread. I could definitely do with some of that! Cheers


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