An easy, free place, to explore and resource all things related to maintaining, renewing and re-cycling, old, worn jeans with tender loving care.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Basic 101 of jean repair

cat and mouse – a mending technique to cunningly patch jeans
the jean dilemma:
You have a pair of very cool jeans that you love and fit well but suddenly they are disintegrating into an annoying mess of holes. You want to maintain the fashionably distressed look but they desperately need mending.
the cure:
Mend them by integrating your stitches and handwork with the worn denim texture. To make them durable and chic you will fuse and patch on the inside and then re-enforce with stitching in the worn areas.
If you have some general sewing experience you can easily mend your jeans with this technique.
the sewing materials:
Medium weight, white iron-on fusing (enough to generously fit the area you are patching)
Cotton, medium weight fabric for the inside patch (same amount as fusing)
note: Search through your scrap bin for a cotton fabric that reflects the style of the wearer and the jeans. The plaid fabric used in this example is a good unisex option.
Cotton thread that matches your jeans
note: choose a shade that blends with the worn area you will be mending. A single pair of jeans has many different shades. Well matched thread is an important style element.
General sewing materials including: scissors, straight pins, hand sewing needle, sewing machine with a “denim sewing needle”, iron, ironing board, ruler or tape measure, seam ripper.
the sewing steps:
1. With your seam ripper open the side seam from a couple inches below the pocket to a couple inches above the cuff. note: In this way you will be able to easily maneuver around to stitch the patches.
2. Measure the area you want to patch, and cut the fusing to size accordingly. Note: The patched area in the example in the photos is the width of the front leg, from the side seam to the crotch seam. When jeans are quite worn like these it’s more efficient to patch the entire area, to avoid having to frequently make additional patches.
3. Using the cut fusing as your pattern, pin it on top of the plaid cotton. Cut the plaid ½” larger all around the perimeter. (If you happen to have pinking shears then use them.)
4. Turn your jeans inside out and press well the area you will patch, also smoothing and pressing neatly in place any loose denim threads.
5. Working on the inside of your jeans, lay the fusing, glue facing the denim, on the area you will be patching. Steam and press very well so that the fusing is permanently glued and secured in place. Any loose denim threads will also be fused, neatly in place. (above photo)
6. Pin the plaid patch on top of the fusing so the fusing is completely hidden behind the plaid patch. Baste all around, ¼” from the edge. Remove pins. (below photo)
note: the plaid patch will protect the fusing from rubbing loose from the jeans and also be feel more comfortable (a lovable denim characteristic…) than the fusing.
7. Turn your jeans right side out. As in the above photo, any loose denim threads have been glued neatly to the fusing. 
8.  Thread your sewing machine with the denim thread and set at a medium stitch length. Using the basting stitch as a guide, stitch all around the perimeter of the patch.
9. Machine stitch back and forth over every split, hole, exposed white denim threads and terribly worn areas. Sew more or less in parallel rows, and if it is an area that will get quite heavy wear, then re-enforce with zigzag or darning stitches. Sew until you are satisfied with the look and the durability. Your repairs will look like the photo below, quite invisible and blending with the naturally worn shade and coloration of the denim.
10. Pin the side seams together, baste and sew along the original stitching line.
11. Pull all the thread ends to the back and knot well. Remove any basting. Press.
You are finished, and it looks brilliant, perfectly distressed, super cool, and ready for a lot more wear!
(a similar, earlier version of this tutorial is also available here in pdf)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reparaing jeans can be quite amusing and useful to get really fashionable results but I am not quite sure if it is better a 'perfect' style like or a reapairable one...