Get our free updates by email and never miss a thing!


Learn How to Sew: How to Patch Jeans

Welcome to the first article in our new series for homemakers: Learn How to Sew! 

With the state of the economy today, most parents are not in the financial position to replace their children’s well-fitting pair of jeans just because of a hole in the knee or in the back pocket. Learning how to patch jeans is a cost effective alternative to replacing worn out threads.

All you will need is:

  • A needle and thread
  • Sewing scissors or pinking shears
  • Permanent fabric glue
  • A piece of material to use for the patch. (You can use a piece of denim material from an old pair of pants or you may purchase a swatch or ready-made patch at a fabric store.)

You’ll want to begin by first mending the hole with a needle and thread. After you decide what shape you want the patch to be (square, star, heart, etc.) trace and cut out the patch from the denim fabric with either fabric scissors or pinking shears. Sewing scissors will ensure an even cut while pinking shears will create a zigzag design around the edges of the patch (a popular choice for trendy little girls).

You will need to decide on look of the finished edge. To create an imperfect look, leave the edges of the patch untouched, which will result in a frayed effect. If you opt for clean seams, turn over the edges two times.

Using a cotton swab, apply fabric glue to the backside of the denim patch. Be sure to apply evenly in the center and around all of the edges. Adhere the patch to the jeans and allow the glue to dry.

It is a good idea to reinforce the patch by adding stitching along the edges. This can be done by hand with a needle and thread or with a sewing machine set on a tight zigzag setting.

Even if there is there are no holes in your children’s clothes, learning how to patch jeans can be a creative way to embellish clothing with the latest trends. By patching your daughter’s jeans with a different color denim and embellishing with various diamonds and rubies, you can recreate the style found in expensive department stores with minimal effort and little cost.

Iron-on superhero transfers can be found in most fabric stores and are a big hit with little boys. After ironing the transfer onto a different shade of denim, apply the patch as directed above. Learning how to patch jeans will save you money while making your children happy!

For more Works for Me Wednesday, visit We are That Family.  Photo by Niklas Hellerstedt.


  1. Jodi
    May 27, 2009 @ 06:36:38

    As the mom of 4 boys, I am so glad to have run across this. You made it sound so easy to do, that I think that I will give it a try. Thanks !


  2. MomOfFour
    May 31, 2009 @ 07:07:21

    What I would like to know is how to sew patches by machine on the knees of jeans. My kids are always wearing out the knees and it is a big job by hand, but I can’t figure out how to fit them into the machine properly without sewing through the material to the other side.

    What is the best way to patch those knees ????


    • bridget
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 10:25:13

      what i do is stitch rip some of the seam on the inside lay it flat sew your patch on then sew up your seam easy peasy


  3. Genevieve
    Jun 06, 2009 @ 21:51:42

    MomOfFour, my mother-in-law’s method of repairing jean knees was to open the seam on both sides of the knee, put a new strip of denim across the knee and hem it down on two sides, and then enclose it in the seam. She must have had a very strong sewing machine to sew through all that denim.

    There really isn’t any good way to get your sewing machine in there. Just baste your patch firmly into place and then maneuver the sewing machine needle around the patch a bit at a time. You might have to turn the machine by hand if it wants to go too fast.


  4. Maggie
    Jan 20, 2010 @ 16:36:10

    I find that fabric glue makes jeans stiff and crunchy. I thought this was a great idea until I tried it. Back to needle and thread for me.


    • Admin - Danelle Ice
      Jan 24, 2010 @ 19:17:44

      @Maggie: Sorry to hear that. I guess a big part is how large the patch area is and where on the jeans it is located (like a knee area as opposed to a spot which doesn’t bend very much). Good luck!



  5. Modern Modesty: Thursday Tips — Maria's Lilies
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 08:10:04

    [...] Tip #3: Patch ‘em up! Simple, but cute. Just buy some really cute  fabrics at the craft store, cut out some squares, position them on your pair of old jeans and sew your heart out. Check out this blog to learn more about patching: [...]


  6. Tweets that mention Sewing: How to Patch Jeans - Home Ever After --
    Jan 16, 2011 @ 07:30:00

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Digerati Life. The Digerati Life said: RT @HomeEverAfter: Sewing: How to Patch Jeans [...]


  7. Jack
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 05:20:25

    I buy most of my jeans from thrift stores and wear them until they begin to rip in places. If the jeans are otherwise in good condition I patch them. BUT I didn’t think about sewing the hole, before patching.

    I can see where that will help the patch hold things together longer.


  8. Home Ever After
    May 27, 2009 @ 08:48:32

    @Jodi: I think I am going to try out this method too. They have some really fancy patches at Walmart in the sewing section, and they would make plain jeans look just like the expensive ones with all the embellishments.

    Thanks for the great article!


  9. Home Ever After
    May 31, 2009 @ 10:04:40

    @Mom of Four: Here is a great DIY for how to sew the patches for knees of jeans, using either hand stitching or a machine. Hope this helps!


Leave a Reply