Get a Little Extra Out of Holey Jeans
My kids go through pants. It doesn’t matter what brand, style or type of material. Within a month of wearing there will inevitably be a hole in at least one knee. Actually, it’s usually the left knee. For both of my boys the left knee is the first to blow out. Go figure.
In order to save a few bucks and extend the life of their clothes I patch the knees of their pants. Lately I’ve been obsessed with a Japanese embroidery technique called Sashiko. It’s very simple and has been used for centuries to mend clothes in Japan.
What is Sashiko?
Sashiko is a form of functional stitching. It’s a decorative stitch developed in 18th century Japan to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches. Traditionally, it was used by the working class to get more out of their clothing.
Sashiko literally translates to “little stabs”. It’s a simple running stitch in straight lines or geometric patterns. There are a few techniques associated with Sashiko. This tutorial will focus on using it in a quilting type function in order to patch a hole in jeans.
For more tutorials and examples on embroidery, check out Craftsy.
- Strong stitching thread (I used a top stitching cotton thread)
- Long embroidery needle
- Small piece of scrap denim (large enough to cover the hole plus the entire area around the hole that needs reinforcement)
How to Patch
Cut away the old threads across the hole.
Slip the scrap denim piece inside the pant let and lined it up the the hole. Make sure the scrap denim covers the entire worn out area. As you can see here, the entire knee area is weak (the fabric is lighter). My scrap fabric covered about 1.5 in all around the hole.
Pin the scrap fabric in place.
Thread your embroidery needle. Not too long, though. That will just make it tangle. You are going to so a straight running stitch. Begin the running stitch by poking your threaded needle up through the fabric both layers of fabric. Poke the needle back down through the fabric about 1/4 or so where you just came up and again until you fill your needle and then pull through.
You can stitch in a grid if you like, but I prefer to go in circles on knees. First, I stitch around the hole and then work my way in a circular pattern around in the middle.
Once I’m out of thread, then re-thread and start around the outside of the hole until you cover the entire knee. Once you’re done, knot it off in the back.
Give the jeans back to your active child. In a few days, I’m sure the other knee will need patching. Ideally, I should reinforce the other side as a prevention.
For now, he’s free to play.