Whether the holes come from rough and tumble little boys or your husband the roofer, patching the knee holes in jeans extends their useful life. This doesn't need to be a complicated process; it can be done in under an hour by sewing or ironing. The simplest patch is ironed on inside the trousers leg. Purchase iron-on patches in fabric and craft sections of discount and grocery stores.
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Things you need
- Iron on denim or matching colour knee repair patches - larger than the hole
- Ironing board
- Denim scraps
- Straight pins
- Old book
- Needle & thread OR sewing machine
Turn the cleaned jeans inside out and spread them out on top of the ironing board. Using scissors, trim the jagged edges and frayed threads from the hole to create neatly cut edges.
Place the iron-on patch over the hole and trim, with the scissors, so the patch is 1 to 2 inches wider and longer than the hole.
Place the patch on top of the hole and surrounding fabric according to the manufacturer's directions. The adhesive goes against the denim. You can get different coloured patches to match or contrast with the jeans.
Iron the patch over the hole according to the ironing instructions accompanying the patches. Turn the jeans right side out.
Trim the hole in the knee so there are no frays, loose threads, or jagged edges.
Cut a denim fabric scrap so it is 2 inches longer and wider than the hole.
Turn the jeans inside out. Pin the trimmed denim scrap to the fabric surrounding the hole. Turn jeans right side out.
Slip a book into the leg, behind the hole, for support. Place the jeans on a flat surface.
Thread the needle and using a looping stitch, stitch around the trimmed edges of the hole and through the denim patch beneath it so the edges are secure, or use an appliqué/zig zag stitch on a sewing machine to stitch the edges of the hole.
Turn the jeans inside out again and trim, with scissors, the excess denim fabric from the patched hole. If you hand-sewn the patch, trim the excess and stitch with the needle and thread, in a looping stitch over the edges of the patch to the inside of the jeans knee. Use small stitches so stitching isn't noticeable from outside. Machine sewing is more durable.
Tips and warnings
- Iron on patches may be ironed onto the outside of the jeans after the hole has been trimmed, to create a retro look. For work trousers or jeans for which you need extra strength, you can also iron a patch on both the front of the jeans over the hole, and on the inside behind the knee. This creates double reinforcement.
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