Making Do: Patching Holey Knees

by Kelsey Norwood

in Making Do,Sewing,Tutorials

how to patch or fix a hole in jeans 2

We go through jeans in this house about like we go through toilet paper.

It’s not my favorite task, but I don’t mind patching them up. I save all Boyd’s holey jeans (he has almost as many as the little boys do) for patches.

how to patch or fix a hole in jeans

To patch your very own toddler’s jeans, cut a patch large enough to cover the hole and then some. The fabric around the hole is ALWAYS wearing thin, so be generous.

how to fix a hole in kids jeans

Working with one patch at a time, fold it in half…

how to fix jeans

…and then in half again. Pin one edge closed.

repair jeans

Grab a small circular something and trace a curved edge on the corner with no folds. There should only be one…

how to patch a hole in jeans

Round that corner so the patch is a nice rectangle with rounded edges and pin into place on the jeans.

sewing holes in jeans

The sewing is the tricky part…You can get to the patch through the waist or the leg opening. I’m not sure if one is easier than the other. Try both ways and see what you think…

Set your machine to do a zigzag stitch – I do the widest my machine will allow with a very short stitch length so it’s like a satin stitch.

Pick a place to start, and go for it!

The hardest part is moving everything you don’t want to sew out of the way. Check and double check and triple check the whole time you’re sewing to make sure you don’t have any extra fabric caught under the patch.

Sometimes you have to stop and start over in another place if you get too twisted up.

Be patient. Take a break if you need to. But you can do it.

how to mend jeans

They’re not too bad on the eyes…and these patches will extend the life of these jeans by at least another two weeks!

Happy patching!


1 Michelle February 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Have you seen my latest blog post? That’s exactly what I need to do with several dozen (okay, maybe not that many but it sure seems like it) pairs of holey jeans in my house… I’m actually going to try putting some patches on the inside of the pant leg, since my daughter kind of likes the frayed look! Crazy kid. Maybe I should put one on the front *and* one on the back! Ha!

2 Kelsey February 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Ooh, I like the patch on the inside idea! Let me know how it works out…

3 Sue D February 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm

This has always been a problem in our house and the iron on patches always seem to peel off after awhile. I will have to try the zig zag stitch and making my own patches.

4 Dawna February 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

My mom used to patch our pants and make the patches in fun shapes…flowers, butterflies etc. For the boys she did something like bugs, dinos and whatever else she could think of. I love that you patch them up and wear them out…not just throw them out because of a hole :)

5 Sharon February 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I’m embarrassed to say that I have never patched the knees of a pair of pants–and with two boys, we had plenty of holey knees over the years!

We don’t just throw out the jeans, though. My mother- and sister-in-law use them to make denim patchwork quilts. Those are the warmest (and heaviest!) quilts.

6 Nancy July 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I am a seamstress/quilter and interestingly enough I patch jeans professionally at The Buckle, a high end denim retailer. Our jeans retail upward to 220.00. These jeans come with holes. I always patch on the inside two ways. When using a machine I open the outside leg seam for better access to the distresses area. Then I do a heavy elongated zig-zag (I use a straight stich and go forward and reverse making a series of “W’s” in either contrasting or blending thread. If a guest wants a discreet patch, I still open up the side seam but I hadstitch two “circles” aroung the holes. One very close to the opening the other several inches around it. I take tiney invisible stitches on top then move them over an eighth of an inch from the back. Using light or dark grey and tiny stitches on top makes the stitches invisible. Time consuming, but the results are amazing. Oh and don’t forget to re-sew the side seam! I love to hand sew so I don’t mind. Good luck! And nice blog!

7 invisible mending November 22, 2011 at 3:31 am

Invisible mending technique is better than patch for denim jeans.Thanks for sharing these pictures.

8 Denise December 12, 2013 at 9:10 am

Patches made out of those Cricuit monsters would be really cute to cover the holes in the jeans.

9 Ashley February 26, 2014 at 8:03 am

This is a great idea and, you are right, it will last about two weeks. If I can make just one recommendation that will help it last longer, do not use a satin stitch. It makes a perfect perforation line to rip again, kind of like the perforations they use on coupon pages to make them really easy to tear out. I like to use a triple zigzag (3 stitches to the left then 3 to the right) and close, but not too close, together and I also almost always patch on the inside.

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