Repairing Threadbare Jeans

Hi guys! Today I want to share with you an inspiring repair technique that really is SO satisfying. You will feel like a cosmetic surgeon of garments 🙂 I did this repair on my husband’s jeans and he was amazed 🙂


And of course, repair is totally in sync with slow fashion ideals. Repair is one of the most sustainable things you can do; extending the life of garments is so important!

Read on for how I did it. 🙂

For this repair I used a darning stitch on my domestic machine. This machine was my grandmother’s. I barely use the alternative stitches, but this one is perfect for blending into denim.

Here’s an example of what the stitch looks like! It goes back and forth in a multi-step zig zag. I set the length of the stitch to very short, and the width to wide (like the one in the middle of the image).

In the picture below you can see how it blends really nicely into the denim fabric.

Below are some before pics: you can see there are threadbare patches on each quadrant of the area!

Ok so here’s how I did it 🙂

  • For this repair I placed a patch underneath the holes and threadbare areas. No need for a visible patch!

For the patch underneath, use a plain-weave light to mid weight cotton. This doesn’t add too much bulk underneath. You don’t need to finish the edges, this adds bulk, could be uncomfortable, and isn’t necessary.

Work with the jeans in 4 quadrants if there are multiple holes or threadbare areas. By that I mean, don’t try to make a massive patch that goes across the whole area. The seams have shaping in them so it will be a mess if you don’t work in quadrants!

Cut a piece for each quadrant to cover the threadbare or holey area. Make sure it’s big enough not only to cover the hole, but reaches all the way to the seams to maximise the strength of the repair.

  • Match the thread as best you can to blend in. This can be tricky with all the variation the fades create. I like to put multiple threads on top and blur my eyes to see which one melts away into the colour of the jeans 🙂
The thread wasn’t a perfect match but it blended in well enough. I would recommend going on the grey side if you can’t get a perfect match.
  • Pin the patch in place underneath. Now the stitching begins! (Actually I lie. You should test the stitching first to make sure you’re happy with the tension etc.)


  • Go back and forth across the area using the stitch as pictured. Use the texture of the denim as a guide for your stitching! This can be kind of tricky and a pain since the shape of the area is very curvy and uncooperative. Be patient and don’t let it boss you around. If you struggle with the pins, try safety pins or temporary hand stitching to keep it all in place.


  • At the end, reinforce the inseam and crotch seam with a straight stitch from the right side. This will secure the patch internally here. I stitched right next to the top-stitching and you can’t really see it at all on the outside.


  • Trim the patch away close to the stitching. Be careful, you don’t want to make any new holes after all that work! Haha!!


Here’s some nice befores and afters!

I took this one when I’d done one side, but not the other:

Let me know if you have any questions! And please share any repairs you make with this technique. When I showed it to my husband he was like, What?? How is this possible?? …The highest form of praise 🙂

6 thoughts on “Repairing Threadbare Jeans”

  1. Wow, very cool technique. It looks amazing, I’m not surprised your husband was so impressed!

    I actually did something similar many years ago on my mother’s sewing machine, before I learnt to sew properly. Alas, I did not know about the trick of putting a patch underneath. So the repair looked great, and I was very pleased…. for about a week, because then I got a big rip right where I had sewn! Haha. I think that was pre-internet.

    By the way, do you have any hints for how to hem skinny jeans? I particularly want to know how to measure my own jeans, and how to turn up the hems properly. There are lots of methods online, but I’d be really interested to hear what you recommend!

    1. Oh no, the fact that it ripped apart!! Well I’ll have to update if that happens on this one haha! Hmm, as for hemming skinny jeans? I can’t think of any great tips off the top of my head. I usually just do a double turned hem and try to match what the original hem looked like!

  2. Love the before and after pics – the repair looks really good. I’m just wondering what you would recommend when you have a machine that does only straight stitch and one-step zig-zag (old Singer machine). Would I struggle to get my stitches to blend in so well? I suppose I could just try it to see?

    1. You could still do a pretty good job with a regular zig zag, just make the stitch quite small. A small straight stitch would work too, you would just have to manually zig zag back and forth a bit. A good tip for pants is to test your stitching on the fly shield, that way you can see how it works on the actual fabric, but you don’t have to unpick anything!

    1. Ahh, yes I did see this article… weren’t the pictures just amazing?? I loved seeing the awesome repair work she did! 😀 Thanks for re-linking, I’m going to go have another look too!

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