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How do I patch a hole in a pair of jeans?

I've had a pair of Levi Jeans for a couple years and they've finally started to fall apart. I've somehow managed to rip a giant hole in the back above both pockets, and I can't really wear them anymore because of it.

How should I go about repairing them?

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You should probably specify what model of jeans you have Dave, so we can have an accurate device. ;)

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It would be interesting to know whether the Levi's warranty covers this, so please let us know.

You could certainly try the iron on or sewing route. The iron-on patch starts to curl away from the fabric after a few washings anyway, so it's best to sew around the edge of the patch no matter which method you choose. How are your sewing skills? Do you have access to a machine? Let me know if you would like instructions for repair by hand or machine.

Having said all that, it might be that the fabric is wearing out and new holes will soon appear regardless of the repair. The denim that jeans are made of today is just not as strong as in the old days. Those old "dungarees" were stiff and tough to break in, but the fabric lasted forever. Now jeans fabric is pre-stressed to make them soft, so they are actually already somewhat worn out before we buy them. Then we put them over and over again in an "agitator" washing machine, stressing the fabric even more. (Front-loading machines are easier on clothes and use less detergent and water).

What to do now? Well, you can save them so you'll have some denim to patch future pairs with, cut them up for some heavy-duty cleaning cloths, or put them in one of those clothing donation collection boxes that you see sometimes in parking lots. The jeans may not be wearable anymore, but if you donate them they eventually make their way to a company that will shred them for use as all sorts of stuffing and insulation. Even worn-out fabric is valuable to them and is never wasted.

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If they're at all wearable, donate your clothes to a homeless shelter, and not a recycler or Goodwill. I've got nothing against either of the organizations, but I'd rather see my old clothes go to people who can't afford to buy clothes, instead of them being sold for money.

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Levi Jeans come with a Full Warranty, so you may not even have to fix the jeans yourself. However, you can get a denim patch that you can sew over the hole or get a patch the you can iron on over the hole. In my experience, the ironing method is easier, but the sewing method lasts longer. You could do both to insure a long fix.

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Woah, totally didn't know about the warranty, that's cool. I usually just sew my stuff.

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Good Ol' Duct Tape! Tape it from the inside to avoid painful hair removal!

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I like this one...maybe tape 'em inside and out for that hi-tech look...

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Someone here is surely going to want to SEW the repair, so I'll address it. I say wear them till they are too big or ugly. If you have a machine, you need to take a razor blade or seam ripper and remove the belt loop if the rip is underneath it. Since the rip is above BOTH pockets, I assume it is not along the back seam. So look for the "zigZag" stitch vvvv, and make the stitch width as high as it will go. The stitch length should be fairly long too. Position the rip so both sides are held together under the sewing foot, and stitch. Reverse, stitch again. Takes 5 minutes...depending on rip size.

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It would be helpful to know more about the hole, because different damage needs different kinds of fixing.

Though when fabric wears out, you can't do all that much, to extend the life of your jeans (especially if they're $100 jeans or part of a limited wardrobe) you can fix most holes.

A simple rip in a straight line, like a broken seam or a tear, can be trimmed to remove the extra fuzz and stitched back together. A zigzag stitch on a machine is one option, but you can also do it by hand. if you've never hand stitched, what you're doing is basically lacing the gap back together.

A small hole can be mended with a piece of denim fabric (or other rough material) cut to fit and then stitched over the hole. For a funky look, shapes (skulls, hearts, etc...) make good patches. Otherwise find as close a fabric match as you can. Either way make sure that the edges of your patch are firmly stitched down to prevent it from peeling or fraying.

If you want, you can hem the patch before you sew it down. Use an iron to fold the hem over for nice crisp edges.

For a bigger hole, you can lay a patch over it. To make the item long wearing, say for the knee of a pair of pants, put a patch on the inside as well. A comfortable, non-chafing fabric goes on the inside, with denim or a rough fabric on the outside, and the worn jeans in the middle of the sandwich.

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While Levi should be able to fix them for you, denim patches (iron on or sew) are available in fabric shops and craft shops.

I would go for the iron-on but the sew-on may be fractionally cheaper

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Don't fix it- it's a new style!

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Hah, you should see how bad they are! Maybe I'll post a picture tonight. :)

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Well, you can try, as suggested above, denim patches, that seems like the best option.

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To darn holes in jeans, you will need:

Table

Sheers (or sharp scissors)

Denim patch

Sewing needle

Denim spool of thread

Sewing machine

Iron denim patch on

Turn the jeans inside out, exposing the hole. Lay the pair of jeans on a hard, flat surface (such as a table or an ironing board) with the hole facing up.

Use a patch of denim matching the color of the torn jeans that is large enough to cover the hole. Denim patches can be purchase at most craft stores. If you must, you can cut fabric from the jeans pocket (the one that doesn't get a lot of use) or use a piece of denim from another pair of denim jeans if you have no other options.

Cut out the denim patch a bit larger than the hole, in any shape you prefer. Lay the patch over the hole and pin it into place, around its edges and through the patch underneath the jeans.

Use a sewing machine to darn the hole. Set the sewing machine on a fine setting. It’s foot should be on an embroidery setting. Place the sewing machine on a zig-zag setting, guiding the patches’ edges along the sewing machine’s stitch. You want to make sure that the hole’s edges are completely stitched up. For holes that are round in nature, make sure that you sew all the way around the patch. If the hole is rectangular or square, only sew a few corners of the hole and pivot.

If you do not have a sewing machine, darn holes in jeans with denim iron-on patch. These iron-on patches can be purchased from a craft or fabric store. Simply follow instructions as directed on product label. Generally, these patches can darn a hole in jeans just by ironing the patch over the pair. However, these patches can weaken overtime and rip from constant washing and drying. To secure the patch, stitch denim thread onto the edge of the patch with a needle, pulling the needle up and through the jeans, making at least five to ten stitches per inch.

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A great iron on jean patch for the inside of your jeans without seeing the patch is a patch from Iron Patch call ultra thin/high strength backing patch.

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Hey David,

We've got guides covering a few techniques for patching jeans, which can be found here: Jeans Repair. Personally, I like the reverse applique and zig-zag patches myself, but any of the methods should work.

Good luck!

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If the warranty does not work for your situation, there is an alternate solution to your problem. Go to JC Penny's, throw a $50 bill on the counter and purchase replacement jeans. The torn jeans could then be used for "around the house" plumbing jobs.

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Go to your local thrift store, throw a fiver on the counter for replacement jeans to either wear or as a source for a patch

or take a fashion risk and cut up some other cool shirt or shorts you no longer wear and put on a contrasting patch...you can add more matching patches to other non-holey areas of the jeans to make it look like an intentional fashion statement

or cut them up and repurpose them into shorts or a cool backpack, book bag or whathaveyou

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David Patierno さん、ありがとうございました!
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