How to Repair a Ripped Back Pocket on Jeans

Updated February 21, 2017

Everyone loves their favourite pair of jeans and rues the day damage occurs to the fabric or design. Problems such as a ripped back pocket are common. Repairing a ripped back pocket on your jeans can be accomplished in several ways depending on the extent and placement of the tear. The key to a successful back pocket tear repair is in the sewing machine needle. Denim requires a very sharp needle capable of sewing through several layers of fabric.

Install the proper gauge needle into your sewing machine. Make sure the needle has a stiff shank and sharp point. Use a size 10/70 up to a size 18/110 needle. These needles are made to sew through stiff, heavy fabric in several layers. It is commonly referred to as a denim needle.

Slide the seat portion of the jeans over the sewing machine table/arm so the table/arm is inside the seat portion of the jeans and the pocket is facing toward you. Insert the pocket of the jeans under the lifted pressure foot.

Align the pressure foot with the original seam of the ripped pocket. Leave any thread fragments in place and you can pull them free of the denim once you're finished sewing. Find the original needle perforations in the pocket and position the denim needle over the line of holes.

Sew, with a straight stitch, in thread matching the topstitching on the pocket, to the denim beneath the pocket. Sew in reverse to lock the stitching. Cut the thread.

Decide which repair you want: removal of the pocket and repair, or repair without removing the pocket but losing the use of the pocket. If you just fix the rip, it's easier, but the pocket will be sewn closed. To remove the pocket proceed to the next step. To fix the pocket while on the jeans, slide the seat of the jeans over the sewing machine table/arm so the table/arm is inside of the jeans and the pocket is facing you. Set the machine on zigzag on the tightest and widest setting. Sew over the rip, holding the fabric sides of the tear together. Sew through the pocket and seat of the jeans with thread matching the denim.

Use the seam ripper to remove the stitches along the three pocket sides. Slide the cutting edge in the hook of the seam ripper under a stitch and push, cutting the thread. Remove the pocket.

Using a denim needle in your machine, insert the pocket beneath the lifted pressure foot and use the widest, tightest zigzag setting to sew over the rip, holding the sides of the ripped fabric together.

Replace the pocket in the original position, pin in place, and use the former stitching perforations on the three sides of the pocket as a guide to sew the pocket onto the jeans in a thread matching the topstitching. Sew close to the pocket edge. Remove the pins.


Failure to use the proper needle will result in needle breakage and possible damage to your machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing machine needle, 10/70 to 18/110
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.