Jeans and Patches

When I was a wee lad, I dabbled in all sorts of needlecraft, greatly encouraged by both my grandmothers. One was always happy to make good use of my tiny crocheted doilies, the other loved my “properly done” cross stitching. And although I have taken the Knitters Path, I still have a soft spot for embroidery, as evidenced by the following mends:

These jeans were starting to wear very thin in the seat, which incidentally, I totally blame on my cycling to work every day, and I wanted to reinforce the area. There are many ways to create a reinforcement patch, but I decided on the following technique. First I basted in place a piece of jeans fabric on the inside. Then I used a lovely shade of golden yellow for a coarsely executed running stitch. I wasn’t too concerned about being neat and precise, as I wanted a slightly random look. I made sure to go through both layers of fabric, to hold the patch in place. Then I went over the whole area again with a running stitch, crossing over the stitches from the first round. As Adrienne said on twitter: “it looks like the sun is shining out of your… ACE!” I’ll refrain from any comments!

My second mend is the best of both worlds: Pattern Darning. It’s a darning technique that nowadays is mainly used for decorative purposes, but it comes from repairing certain weaves in fabric. There are many examples of to be found of darning samplers, and one day I hope to make one such sampler myself so I can learn more about this technique. But for now, I tried to used it on a knitted fabric:

The elbows in this shop-bought merino cardigan had worn so thin a tiny hole appeared in one of them, so I first had to close the hole. I tidied up any loose threads, then ran some threads of black yarn through the live loops to create a little framework, to be used later. After working out where the fabric required reinforcing, I picked up one side of the “V” of the knit stitches, to run my darning needle across the fabric. I slowly worked my way up, and tried to stick to the herringbone pattern as closely as I could when I came to the hole.

It was not possible to exactly continue in pattern, but I like it that the mend shows evidence of what is being mended. It adds a second layer to the visibility of this repair. After finishing this, I mirrored this patch on the other elbow, this time using a different pattern:

In case you are wondering what lovely wool I used for this darn, it may come as no surprise that it is Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. This heathered shade gives the patch a tweedy look, which is a nice reversal of the usual tweed jacket with elbow patches in a contrasting material. I’m mightly pleased with the results of the pattern darning, and I hope to be able to employ this technique again soon!


23 Replies to “Jeans and Patches”

  1. Very good. The stars of the fundament…! 😉

    I’ll have to show you a jeans knee mend I worked in a slightly more regimented mock-Shibori fashion. Astonishing how robust these repairs are. I hope yours withstands the rigours of the saddle. Keep us posted.

  2. Tom your darns are fantastic, do you know the blogspot, someone who uses Palestinian embroidery – look at the Shoes they’re just sewwwwwwwww good. H

  3. Your mending is wonderful, I love the variety of techniques you use and, in these two examples, the decorative quality of the mending. Those elbow patches are just gorgeous and I love the little xs on the seat of your jeans. I have some nice linen pants which could be repaired in a similar way…

  4. ever since kate davies over at needled turned me on to damask darning, i have longed to see a sample that wasn’t, you know, made 200 years ago by a 12 year old quaker virgin. THANKS!!!! i hope you’ll do a tutorial on it, i’m so excited.

  5. Darning my jeans tonight and did a quick search to see some other examples of darned jeans. You came up right away! Glad to see your patched jeans. I’m using my darning mushroom from PYF! Hope all is well with you.

  6. You’ve posted a great blog. I liked your post You have used quite a good ideas about patches. By reading your blog, I also feel like making a patch on my jeans. I got a ideas about patches on this blog. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

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