8 Steps to Fixing Your Ripped Jeans

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Although the ripped jean continues its residency in both men and women’s fashion, what happens if your favorite non-ripped jeans suddenly tear? Yes, you could embrace it as yet another pair of ripped jeans to add to your collection, but what if you want to fix them and fight the rip?

Granted most of us aren’t expert tailors but there is something you can do before seeking out professional help. You’re going to need to combine iron-on technology — including heat, pressure, and special glue — and sewing, which you may need some help with depending upon your skill level. Here are some options for doctoring your ripped denim.

Here’s what GQ suggests to get started:

  • Thread that matches as closely as possible to your jeans
  • Scissors (Use fabric scissors for an easier, seamless cut)
  • Ironing board and iron
  • A sewing machine (specifically one that can move forward and backwards) or a friend that knows how to sew if you can’t
  • A swatch from some spare denim that is close in color to the denim you’re patching up
  • Iron-on patches or what’s called “fusible,” which is a thin webbing that glues two fabrics together and is activated by the heat of an iron

Before you get to it, ManMadeDIY suggests putting the jeans on the ironing board to make things easier when you start to fix the garment and to ensure you don’t cut into any other part of the garment.

Step 1: Clean it up

To get started, GQ suggests that you begin by cleaning up the area first. In order to prep your jeans for the patch, cut off the fraying threads by trimming along the edges of the hole.

Step 2: Cut into it

ManMadeDIY says that the next step is to cut into the pants and around the ripped hole so that it’s seamless and flat for when you need to iron and sew on the patch. You should basically end up with a smoothly cut hole where the patch of ripped denim was.

Step 3: Turn them inside out

Turn your jeans inside out and lay them on the ironing board. Patching your jeans with the scrap denim and fusible should only be done from the inside to hide as much imperfection as possible.

Step 4: Fit your fabric scrap

Take your spare denim and cut a swatch large enough to cover the damaged area, and just a little extra to extend around the hole where it’s unworn (or where it wasn’t ripped).

 Step 5: On to the fusible

At this point, your jeans should be positioned as such on the ironing board that you can see the board through the hole you’ve cut. Do this to avoid accidentally gluing your pant legs to one another. Cut off little bits of the fusible and line the area surrounding the hole, making sure you don’t go past the edge of the hole to where you can see it on the outside.

Step 6: Pick up the iron

This is do-or-die, guys. Have your denim swatch ready to go and face the right side down over the prepped area, making sure the fabric is flat and centered. Take your iron, making sure to turn off the steam, and begin to iron over the swatch, applying even heat and pressure around it. Hold for a few seconds to make sure the fusible adheres.

Step 7: Whip out the sewing machine

Make sure the area has cooled down first. Set your machine up with your matching thread and make sure the stitch length is set to a shorter length. Again, making sure the jeans are turned inside out, start on the outside of the hole and sew forward until you reach the denim swatch. Hold the reverse button on the machine and stitch back to where you began.

Repeat this several times going back and forth. A sewing technique: As you sew, pull the fabric to the side so that as you’re sewing backwards and forwards you’re creating a zig-zag line — this technique naturally creates the shape. Do this around the entirety of the hole.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, you (or a friend) can stitch the edges of the patch over and over again. Once the patch has cooled down, take your needle and matching thread and stitch over the edges in a zig-zag fashion overlapping your previous stitching several times. This prevents the thread from coming out. Make sure to sew in alternating directions so as not to bulk up the fabric too much. Make sure you do this at least three times over.

For a closer, step-by-step look, check out the ManMadeDIY‘s easy way to tailor a hole.

Step 8: Iron it one more time

After you finish your stitching, go back to your iron and apply one last hit of heat to bring it all together and sealing it in. Let it cool down, cut any excess thread sticking out. Guess what? You’ve just fixed your denim like an expert. High five!

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