Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Tutorial update: How to mend jeans when the holes are in the knees

So you've probably seen this tutorial of mine on how to mend holes in jeans like a pro. It's seriously an amazing method and I hope you check it out, but I also wanna share a follow-up with you: how to use the steps in that tutorial when the holes are in the knees of your jeans!

I use the method interchangeably, but I was talking to a friend not long ago about her fave jeans that had gotten holes in the knees. I said, have you seen my tutorial?? And she said she had, but she didn't think it would work on the knees!

Now, I'll admit it is a little trickier when the hole is in the middle of the leg of the jean--it will involve some skillful maneuvering--but the method can TOTALLY be done almost anywhere on your pants. Literally, people--knees, thighs, hem area, back pockets... anywhere your machine can reach, you can use this! Here's how!!

Let me tell you the story of two pairs of jeans with hole-ey knees and other worn places, and show you my method's success. First up is this pair of American Eagle stretch bootcut jeans I got at Marshall's earlier this summer--$16.99, love when they have last-season AE stuff! I was desperate for a pair of boyfriend jeans before going up to sort-of-chilly Port Angeles, Washington for the weekend and didn't want to spend the $70 or whatever at Gap to get the perfect ones like Kendi has.

Anyway, I bought these jeans and was okay with the distressed look, but after putting them on a few times realized I kept poking my toes through the holes on the knee and hip! I could fix this problem by being more graceful... or, I could mend the holes before they get any bigger.

  • So here's the before.
  • Check out the essential jeans-mending method tutorial if you're rusty, but if not, grab your fusible interfacing and press it onto your hole on the inside.
  • I like to cuff up the jean twice so it's nice and flat and can fit under my presserfoot when I lift it as high as it goes. Then slide the leg onto your arm--this works if you have a machine with a detachable arm!!
  •  Now's the tricky part. Scrunch up your jeans so you turn the leg parallel with the path of the needle. Scrunch-scrunch-scrunch-arrange-arrange... then go nuts with forward- and backstitching like you would in the tutorial on any part of your jeans.
  • I like to turn them right side out again and check my work, and maybe put the leg back on the machine (cuffed again) and do a few more rows of parallel stitching from the top.

That's it! Now you've mended the knee of your jeans!

Wondering what's going on up by the pocket of those? I thought I should share, since these jeans were so stretchy, I found the interfacing wasn't quite strong enough to keep its shape as I backstitched. So, I put a little piece of white 100% cotton on top of the hole near the hip to further reinforce it. It's not fusible but there was plenty of friction that, once I got sewing, it stayed in place just fine (also sewing from the inside). Here's a close-up of that hole, mended.

So, I did two pairs of jeans at once the other day, so here's some more photos of this method on knees and with thinner, stretchier denim. Here's a pair of Sevens my friend gave me because of the holes, and they didn't fit her anymore. So I got to mending!


Here's the big hole on the knee from the inside.

Here are some of the holes with their interfacing...

And here's the knee hole with a little piece of cotton on top of the fusible interfacing, after I ironed it down. It really helps when the hole is big or the threads aren't keeping the denim's shape and you don't want to gather both sides together.

And here's the technique I use on really stretch jeans--pin on both sides to your ironing board and then press down the interfacing, so you don't get the pulling!

Anyway, random bonus images after the tutorial... hope I didn't confuse you! Good luck mending jeans and trust me, you CAN do it on the knees!


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this tutorial. I was wondering if this method would work for a hole (started as a rip) in the inner thigh area? They are stretchy jeans. Would a pic help?


    1. ABSOLUTELY you can use this in the inner thigh area! Also a common place for rips!! It works anywhere you can fit the machine in to sew back and forth.

    2. Thanks so much! I will use this tip to save my jeans :)

  2. Hmmm, I will have to try this technique in the winter - my son is a huge knee ripper! I usually just cut them off and make his summer shorts, but I will try to salvage a pair or two this year...or at least try to make them last another couple months!

    1. Definitely give it a shot!! You can also do this on the inside and then add a cute decorative patch, out of another denim (cut off another old pair of jeans from the last time?) or cute plaid or something on the front to make them extra strong for kids.

  3. Anonymous9/12/2012

    My daughter is always going through the knees of her jeans. I got an old pair and cut up pieces large enough to fit in a hoop and embroidered them. I then sew on patches as required. They look great and my daughter loves them. Jo

    1. Very cool! I like to use the iron-on interfacing to brace in the back so that either side of the rip doesn't move around... so I can keep the hole as small as possible and straight. But patches of old jeans will be nice and strong on the outside.

  4. Very timely - my hubby just rippied a great big hole in his this morning! His favourites, of course.

  5. Thanks! I pinned this for my future use in repairing my twins boys' jeans. :)

  6. Neat... I've always just given up on holes in jeans that didn't happen on a seam. I'll have to try this method!

  7. I am about through the knee of my favorite pair of jeans (lucky "straight" legs which I dunno who they are catering to, but i'm a size 4 and the straights are nearly skin tight. yeash) and at 100 a pop I'm not fond of the idea of replacement. plus they are just about broke in to comfortable!

    not sure I can rotate the knee around however, it's pretty narrow. I assume you've tried horizontal stitching and it doesn't work as well?

  8. Great tutorial! I'm a complete novice when it comes to sewing and mending but it's such a necessary skill to learn in order to save some moolah! I'm definitely giving this a try!

  9. I just bookmarked this tutorial... I foresee many jean rips in my future!

  10. I thought rips in jeans were still all the rage, no? ;) Well then looks like I've got some mending to do--thanks for the tut!

  11. I've done this for years on my daughters' (3 lovely ladies) jeans and after a few years we figured out that cutting the interfacing on the bias gave the repair a slight bit more stretch, thus the patch lasted longer.


  12. Great tutorials. So glad I found your site.
    I have always just used pieces of other denim jeans to patch my families' pants/jeans. They seem to all be rough with their jeans, mostly due to the type of work they do.

    Would this interfacing method be strong enough? I love this idea -- so much simpler. Will definitely use this for the holes that are just starting or for rips.

    What if it is past this and now has a huge hole? Would I then be best to use the denim?

    P.S. Love the roll-up-the-cuffs idea. I have got to try this. Always so much pant to be moving around as I'm stitching.

  13. This looks like it works well! Question, though - when you're ironing the interfacing on over the hole, how do you keep it from reaching the other side of the jeans and gluing them together?

  14. Thankyou so much, you have just saved my Zara jeans from the bin! I actually like th way they look a lot more now. :)



© Create / Enjoy • Theme by Maira G.