3 Ways to Mend Holes in Blue Jeans - The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management

3 Ways to Mend Holes in Blue Jeans

When I go shopping for clothes it always amazes me how expensive blue jeans are that have holes in them.  If I want holes in my blue jeans all I need to do is let my boys wear them for a few days.  They are always getting holes in their jeans, especially in the knee area.

One way to deal with holes in jeans is to just cut them off above the knee and turn them into shorts.  However, a boy can only have so many pairs of jean shorts.  With it still being winter, shorts aren’t practical right now.  So, what’s a mom to do?

Mend the jeans!

3 Easy Sew Tutorials for How to Mend Holes in Blue Jeans from The Happy Housewife

Today I am going to share 3 ways that you can mend a pair of blue jeans that have holes in them.  Even if you are thinking, “I don’t know how to sew,” I would encourage you to scroll down and check out these ideas because not all of them require the use of a sewing machine.

1.  Iron-On Patches

You can easily purchase iron-on patches for blue jeans which can be cut to size. However, you can also make your own.

a.  Measure the size of your hole.  Cut a piece of blue jean fabric that is at least 1/2 inch larger than the hole.  (Old blue jeans that are beyond repair are an excellent source of patch fabric.) For example, this hole was less than 1 inch square so I made the patch 1 1/2 inches square.

b.  Cut a piece of Heat n Bond that is just slightly larger than the patch.  Use Heat n Bond Ultrahold (Available at Amazon or craft stores.) for this project as it is heavy duty and requires no sewing.

c.  Iron the Heat n Bond to the patch for 2 seconds. Once cool, pull away the paper backing and trim any excess Heat n Bond.

Please note that if you use an iron-on patch you may find that the corners may peel with repeated use or washing.  Therefore, I recommend this method on small holes only.  Optionally, you can hand sew the patch on before ironing it to the jeans.  Just pin the patch over the hole, then use a needle and thread to stitch it down, and then follow the next step.  

Place the patch over the hole, right side up, and iron for 4-6 seconds.  Allow to cool and then test to be sure the patch adhered to the jeans.

2.  Hand Sewing

Hand sewing a hole or rip in a pair of jeans is something I recommend only if the tear isn’t very wide.  The use of a blind stitch makes the hole disappear and the stitches “invisible”.

a.  Begin by cutting away some of the threads around the hole.  Don’t cut the actual fabric, just the frayed parts.

b. The stitch needed to sew an invisible seam is a vertical blind stitch.  Start 1/2 inch from the right edge of the hole and insert your needle from the inside of the jeans up through the top.

c.  You will make stitches that are vertical and that go across the hole from top to bottom.  Make several small stitches and gradually make them bigger until they are the height of the hole.  After a few stitches pull the thread taught and your stitches will become invisible.

Once you pass the hole go past it to the left 1/2 inch, gradually making your stitches smaller.  Remember to pull the thread in order to make your stitches invisible.  Tie off your thread and cut close to the jeans.

3.  Sewing Patches (2 Methods)

Method 1:

This method of sewing on a patch requires the fabric to be folded under and stitched on using a straight stitch on a sewing machine.

a.  Cut a piece of blue jean fabric (or fabric of your choice) larger than the hole.  Iron the edges to the wrong side 1/4 inch all around.

b.  Using a seam ripper, open the INNER seam of the jeans approximately 4 inches above and below the hole.  This will be much easier than trying to sew the patch on with the jeans as is.  Pin the patch in place.

c.  Using a straight stitch, sew the patch to the jeans using a 1/8 inch seam allowance.  Take care to keep the jeans out of the way underneath where you are stitching. Backstitch at the end.  Stitch the side of the jeans back together (Turn the jeans inside out first.).

Method 2:

This method of sewing on a patch uses a satin stitch on a sewing machine.

a.  Cut a piece of blue jean fabric (or fabric of your choice) larger than the hole (The patches pictured above were 3 inches by 3 3/4 inches).  Round off the corners with a pair of scissors.

b.  Using a seam ripper, open the INNER seam of the jeans approximately 4 inches above and below the hole.  This will be much easier than trying to sew the patch on with the jeans as is.  Pin the patch over the hole, centered on the jeans.  (I covered both knees so that they would be matching.)

c.  Using a tight satin stitch (Zig-zag stitch set to a wide width and a narrow length), sew around the entire patch.  Backstitch at the end.  Stitch the side of the jeans back together (Turn the jeans inside out first.).

Side note:  If using a fabric other than blue jean material to make patches, I recommend a sturdy fabric such as corduroy or twill.  If you use a decorative cotton fabric just be aware that children who make a hole in a pair of blue jeans are likely to make a hole in your decorative patch, too.  🙂

Bonus Idea:  Get Creative

I saw an idea similar to this next one on this site, but I made some changes so a sewing machine isn’t necessary.

a.  Cut any stray threads away from the hole and use Fray Check (Available on Amazon or at your local craft store.) to seal the edges.  Cut a piece of red felt or fleece that is slightly larger than the hole (mouth).  Cut a piece of white felt or fleece that is as wide as the hole and longer (teeth).  Also cut 2 white circles (eyes).

Here are my measurements.
Hole-2 inches wide by 3/4 of an inch high
Circles-2 at 3/4 of an inch
Red Square- 2 1/2 inches
White for Teeth-1 1/2 inches high by 2 inches wide

b.  Cut the white piece of felt or fleece to look like teeth and use Fabri-Tac (Available at Amazon or your local craft store) to adhere it to the red square (Do not use Fabri-Tac on the actual pointy parts of the teeth.).  Use Fabri-Tac to adhere the white circles above the hole and to adhere the “mouth” to the inside of the hole.  Allow the Fabri-Tac to dry.

c.  Using a needle and embroidery floss, stitch the mouth and eyes in place.  This will provide extra durability.

If the jeans are beyond repair, you can recycle them and make a jean purse. Minimal sewing required!

DIY blue jean purse tutorial. Don't throw away those ripped jeans, recycle them and make a cute purse!

Mending jeans has proven to be a great way to save money for our family.  Have you ever mended a pair of blue jeans?  What method did you use?

The is a post from Jackie of Blessings Overflowing.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. Christine McGee says:

    I’ve used the fabritac and glued a denim patch to the inside so the ripped part still looks ripped. It’s trendy right now, anyway. And the knee is still covered. These make good play jeans. Also I have used iron on patches on the inside of new jeans to reinforce the knee before they get ripped. 🙂

    • These are great ideas, Christine! Thanks for sharing. I think I will have to try your method of reinforcing the knees to my boys’ jeans before they get holes in them. I have 2 more pairs of jeans to mend after I already mended the 4 I posted about. 🙂

    • LOVE the ripped jeans look! I have since I was a kid. Ironing on the inside is a great tip! And I think I need to start reinforcing them, too. Thanks, Christine! 🙂

    • Veronica Hayes says:

      Christine- I actually came across this article by googling “patch hole in jeans from inside” because what I’m looking to do is exactly what you wrote:
      “I’ve used the fabritac and glued a denim patch to the inside so the ripped part still looks ripped.”
      The only thing is, I am completely inexperienced at sewing, so I can’t figure out how to do this. The instructions that come with the patches only says to iron it on from the outside.
      If you would give me (either here in the comments, or my email address is Veronica L Hayes -no spaces- at g mail dot com) some brief instructions on how to go about doing it from the inside for the “ripped” look (or a link to a step-by-step How To article, if you know of one, I would be extremely grateful! Also, I don’t have a sewing machine, so I will be doing it by hand. Thank u in advance for any help or tips! 🙂

      • Barb Schreiber says:

        If you can swing it, I recommend you get an inexpensive sewing machine as soon as you can and teach yourself to sew if you do not know how. With little kids, it will make your life so much easier even if you only use it for patching, hemming, etc.

    • I found this while looking for a cute patching method (love the monster face) but thought (as I just purchased new jeans for school) I’d iron on some patches before they even wear them and now I see that someone else had the idea too! I hope that it worked (works)!

  2. I don’t do much sewing. I do the iron on patch method. I round the corners of patches and iron them from the inside of the pants. It seem to help w/ the peeling. The monster patch is really cute! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Nice to see you here, Jackie! The brown corduroy look so cute!

  4. I usually use iron on patches. Especially when there are holes in most of their jeans and still 3+ months of the school year left 😀

  5. These are great! My boys are so hard on their jeans – I do a lot of knee-hole patching like this too.

    As a creative blogger, though, I think it’s important to cite the website from which you got the monster-hole-patch idea — even if it’s in another language. That gives credit where credit is due, because the idea wasn’t from Pinterest, it was actually from that blog.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  6. I once bought a nice looking, used pair of jeans for my daughter, they had a really cute cupcake on the left front few inches below the hip. I didn’t realise till she took them off – inside out, the first time that it was a patch over a small hole!! 2 nd little girl is wearing them now and they are still a fav with the cute cupcake, the patch is still in great shape. they have hole in the knee now and I am thinking about finding a fabric that goes well with the cup cake and putting it behind the hole. I have done it that way before and had people ask where I bought the jeans!!

    • That’s funny. I think fixing up little girls jeans would be more fun, but my oldest daughter never got holes in her jeans. 🙂

    • Barb Schreiber says:

      My granddaughter gets holes in all of her pants. She likes the ones that are similar to tights. They get holes in the knees very easily. One is going to be cut off and make her shorts. The other one’s holes are not so big. I was just thinking I think I will patch from the inside with a piece of lace. That will keep it from ripping more but might look like she bought them that way.

  7. Theresa S says:

    Thanks Jackie,
    I have been patching my sons blue jeans and pants for several years. Used iron on patches and hand stiched. I dont own a sewing machine. I am thinking of sewing patches on though. May have to take them to a seamstress though.

    Ill try to implement some of your tips. But holes at the knees are a problem for my son also. He plays hard what can I say.
    Theresa S
    Powder Spring Ga

  8. Thanks for this tutorial! What I like to do is use the iron-on patches and iron them on in place. Then I hand-stitch around the perimeter of the patch because it always tends to peel off. Most all of my patches outlast the life of the bib-overalls I repair and I’m a 40 year-old guy!

  9. You can also sew cute things onto an iron-on patch and then iron it onto the pants so you can have something cute without ripping out the inner seam. Pretty fun!

  10. Hi,
    Im trying to sew a couple pairs of jeans with rips and a down comforter with a nice rip. I am not sure how to tie the knot at the end of stitched up tear? Its tearing me apart!!!


    • I’m so sorry I am just now seeing this comment, Jeff. I hope you figured it out. To tie a knot I usually insert my needle into the fabric and pull it through just enough so there is a loop of thread. Then I push the needle through that loop and pull it tight to the fabric. I do this at least 2 times to make a secure knot before clipping the threads. Hope that helps.

  11. Jackie, These are all great ideas. We would invite you to try our iron on denim jean patches that last an incredible number of wash and dry cycles. Most iron on products on the market tend to fall off after only a couple of washings and are stiff and uncomfortable. Our patches are meant specifically for adhering to denim. We make patches for the inside and outside of jeans that do not fall off and are very comfortable.

  12. Mama Kay says:

    I LOVE THE IDEA OF THE MONSTER PATCH…HOW FRIKIN ADORABLE IS THAT!!! Ima use it as much as I can…but I would like to know how to patch it from the inside with a regular ol patch not on the outside…I don’t like the way that looks…what would you suggest?

    • Well, you can use a washable fabric glue or stitch a piece of denim to the inside of the pants, but you would still see the rip just not any skin. You could also try stitching the hole like in method number 2 above. Hope that helps.

  13. The blue jean monster idea is so cute. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  14. Hi Jackie,

    Having three boys, I know what a hole in pants looks like (can you hear me sigh?).
    But because I am always short on time, I wanted a product as easy as the denim iron ons, but a little more fun. Like the monster, but with the ease of iron-ons.

    And so I developed them myself, and I can assure that they are very good quality; I’ve had my boys test them, and the patches I put on their pants last February, are still on, many washing later.

    Check them out at http://www.muddymouse.com
    It may be a good addition to your list for moms and dads who are not as sew-savvy :).


  15. P.S. I’d be happy to send you some, so you can test them yourself 🙂

  16. What an easy explanation! I’m getting ready to use some old cords as patching material. Do you think stabalizer would work for this?

  17. Hi Jackie

    I ripped a 2×2 in hole in my favorite jeans 🙁
    What way would you suggest to repair it to last the longest? It is on the inside of the upper thigh and unnoticeable so I am more concerned about durability than appearance.
    Would suggest an iron on? sewing? or something else?

    • Hi, Sam. I think any of the methods will work, but I would personally use the hand sewing method shown above for the tear you described.

  18. Dear Jackie, Thanks for much for the how-to! I’ll be using it to patch a second-hand pair of jeans for my sister. I was doing some reading today… maybe you can guess where… and I’ve just got an honest question about patch material – does it matter if you use new cloth, old cloth, or “unshrunk” cloth to patch jeans? I know you recommended old jeans or another sturdy material, but does it matter if the patch material is new or old? Thank you!!

  19. Hi, Tina. This is a good question. I personally would want to use a fabric that had been washed at least once. Denim can shrink so I would want the patch to have been preshrunk as well. However, I am sure that the denim patches sold in stores haven’t been washed so it might be alright. I just always wash all fabrics before I use them to remove the sizing, avoid shrinking after making something, and to make sure the fabric won’t bleed. That is just my personal preference.

  20. Patch denim jeams always amazes me how expensive blue jeans are that have holes in them.

  21. I like the ideas here, but if you’re going for a cleaner look, patching from the inside is much better. A key is mending before the hole is too big, and attempt to match the grain as much as possible. Stay away from the “iron-on” patches all the typical stores sell. Just use regular jeans fabric that is as close to the original pair.

  22. Opening the side of the pant leg if too fix the hole in the knee but then you have too hand sew the hole in the side seams or is there a way too use the machine for this as well.

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