On its last leg: How to mend holes in kids’ jeans

By Rebecca Long Pyper

Just when it seems safe to throw out the trashed jeans of winter and fill the kids’ drawers with shorts, it happens: another snowy spring day in Idaho. If you’re trying to get just a little more mileage out of the holey jeans your kids have worn (out) this school year, you’re not alone. Pocatello Sewing School owner Hanna Geshelin shares her professional tips for patching holes in knees — whether you sew or not:

No-sew method:

1.     First, you’ll need an iron-on denim patch; look for these at the fabric or craft store.

2.     Trim the rip. Don’t cut away more fabric than is needed, but get rid of the fraying portion.

3.     Cut a patch about one inch larger than the hole on all sides. Round the corners with scissors.

4.     Center the patch over the hole, shiny (or glue) side down.

5.     Put a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up), wax paper or parchment paper between your iron and the patch; this prevents any glue from getting on your iron and ruining it. But don’t use plastic wrap because you’ll end up with a big mess on your hands.

6.     Follow the instructions on the patch package; it’ll tell you what iron temp to use, whether or not to use steam and how long to hold the iron over the patch. Do not slide the iron around — just hold it firmly in place for the length of time specified.

7.     Allow the patch to cool before wearing jeans.

Sewing method:

1.     Trim the tear. Again, only cut away the fraying portion.

2.     For this patch, cut a piece of denim from a throwaway pair of pants or other sturdy, woven cotton. Cut a patch one-half to three-quarters of an inch larger than the hole on all sides. Round the corners with scissors.

3.     Before adding a stitch, make sure you’ll only be going through the front layer of fabric — you don’t want to sew the pant leg shut.

4.     Sew a straight stitch around the hole, staying near the outside edge of the patch. This is important because if the fabric surrounding the hole is also worn, the stitches won’t hold. You can always trim the patch to within a quarter inch of the stitching after you’re done. Using a larger patch and trimming excess is faster and smarter than using a too-small patch and maybe having it not cover adequately. Also, choose good, newer thread as older spools can become weak.

5.     Use your machine to zigzag the patch to the edge of the hole using a long and wide stitch.

6.     Take note: Smaller jeans are tough to mend on the sewing machine because the leg diameter is so small they’re tough to manipulate under the machine’s needle. Consider hand stitching for such cases.

Holes elsewhere in pants can be patched the same way, and pants can sometimes be mended several times; you’ll know they’re ready for the dumpster when the fabric won’t hold the stitches.

If the seat is fine and the legs are in rough shape, you can always make shorts by cutting off the fabric above the holes, then folding the legs under and hemming — a tidier look than cutoffs with frayed edges.

 Summer is the perfect time to sign up for sewing classes, and Pocatello Sewing School offers a bunch of one- and two-day camps that begin the second week in June. Camps will cover tie-dyeing, making clothes for dolls, hand sewing and more. Discounts are available for families with more than one child attending camps, and some scholarship money is available. Prices begin at $35, and no experience or tools are necessary. For a complete calendar of camps, email info@pocatellosewingschool.com or call 240-6807. The school is also on Facebook — www.facebook.com/pocatellosewingschool.

 

 

 Instead of hiding the patch, celebrate it! For these pants, Geshelin used a Vogue Fabrics idea. Instead of patching the hole with matching fabric, she turned it into a monster’s mouth, with jagged teeth sewn on top and embroidered eyes and lips around the hole. When Junior walks, the monster’s mouth moves.

Instead of hiding the patch, celebrate it! For these pants, Geshelin used a Vogue Fabrics idea. Instead of patching the hole with matching fabric, she turned it into a monster’s mouth, with jagged teeth sewn on top and embroidered eyes and lips around the hole. When Junior walks, the monster’s mouth moves.

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