Monday 11 February 2013

How to patch work-trousers : Sewing by the seat of my pants!

I have several pairs of old jeans that I just use for working in (or shlomping around the house when I can't be bothered getting properly dressed)

These jeans see a lot of wear and tear while I crawl through loft spaces, or dig in the garden or sand the floors.

After a few months they are bound to get a hole...  and y'know what? I always get holes in the same place... and no, it isn't the knee, it is somewhere altogether less polite... and it can get pretty darned drafty with a hole in those parts.
The following method will work anywhere you get a hole on your trousers, but you might struggle getting your leg over a sewing machine if the holes are in the knees. (no more innuendo I promise, well, maybe just a bit)

Every pair of my work trousers gets patched at least once. I'm not about to spend good money on trousers just to work in.

Today, I realised that 2 out of 3 pairs of working trousers had just such holes and I needed to patch them.

Start by finding a patch that will cover your hole (no giggling, you in the back) My patch came from a pair of jeans that died several years ago.

Put the patch on the inside, behind the hole, making sure it is lined up and pin it in place. You should make sure the little section you are working on doesn't get pulled or stretched and it should sit neat and square on the patch. 

Pins should face into the centre, this will be perpendicular to your stitching line (pins sitting this way can stay in while you sew). I always use loads of pins, watch out for those fingers.

Now get your sewing machine set up, use a straight, medium length stitch (I used my electric sewing machine, it was a little dark to use my treadle, you could hand stitch if you like)

Start by running a square of stitches around the hole to hold the patch in place, then remove your pins.

Always turn a corner by keeping your needle in, lifting the foot, turning your work and lowering your foot again. (as shown above)

You must keep the small area you are working on as straight and flat as possible. This is really tricky on the ass part of trousers, you will find the rest of the fabric getting in the way somewhat.

Now comes the fun bit. (I don't get out much)

Find the backwards button on your machine, this is a swith or button that tells the machine to sew backwards (usually used to sew 3 stitches backwards when finishing a row of stitches)

Starting at one corner of your square randomly go back and forth over the area.

Be extra careful going over loose parts of the torn section but do stitch right over them. This holds everything in place and stops the hole from growing.

You will end with something like this, it all looks a bit punk don't you think?

And my butt shall be draft free for another few DIY sessions.

I only used black thread to show up better on your screens, if done with a matching thread colour the patch is much less noticeable.


  1. Ah, good job! I love repairing jeans this way too, often with a bright patch underneath to peep out! Take a look at all the jeans-mending inspiration on the Big Mend group pool over here:

  2. Knees are easy - just unpick the single seam side until flat enough to patch and then sew up when finished :)And why I didn't think of that a decade or so ago I really can't fathom!

    I tend to patch with whatever cotton is already in the machine. As I am a free motion fibre art quilter, this can get interesting at times :)

    viv in nz


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