How to Fix Crotch Holes in Jeans

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Have you ever wondered how to fix crotch holes in jeans?

Whether it’s a big hole or a little one, it doesn’t matter.

a small and big hole in the crotch of jeans

When you get one or more holes in the crotch of your jeans, if you don’t patch or mend them, the jeans become unwearable.

Learn how to repair both a big hole and a smaller, almost-hole in the crotch of your jeans with machine and hand sewing.

My First Mending Project

In February 2020, my son’s girlfriend, Mallory, asked if I could mend a tear in her favorite pair of pants.

Mallory and my son were visiting for a few days and she had brought the pants all the way from California in the hope that I could work some sewing magic.

An iron on patch wasn’t going to fix the rip.

With only a few days to mend her pants before they had to head home, I did some research, discovered visible mending could solve this problem, and fixed the tear in her pants.

Rip in thigh of pants with visible mending repair

Supplies to Fix Crotch Hole in Jeans

For supplies with an asterisk*, see the notes below this box for further details.

  • patch for the hole*
  • sewing machine
  • thread* – bright color for basting the patch and a color that blends with the denim for the mending
  • needles* – hand needle for basting and backstitching and a jean needle for the machine
  • scissors – fabric and embroidery snips
  • Fray Check (optional)
  • pins
  • seam ripper
  • pen with removable ink (like these FriXion pens by Pilot)
  • thimble (optional)

Additional Information About Supplies

Patch for the hole

You need to use some type of material to cover the hole and the surrounding areas.

This material will not only cover the hole but also provide a reinforcement for thinning areas surrounding the hole and a stable surface for sewing.

Different types of material can be used for the patch:

  • A fabric scrap or remnant
  • A fusible interfacing
  • A sew-in interfacing

Things to keep in mind when selecting material for the patch:

  • If using a denim scrap for the patch, select one that is a lighter weight denim than the jeans you’re mending. Otherwise, after it is sewn, the patched area will be stiff due to the thread.
  • The patch needs to be larger than the hole as well as cover any thinning fabric around the hole.

Thread

You want the thread to be stronger because the crotch area gets a lot of wear due to the rubbing together of the thighs.

All-purpose threads are usually considered medium weight. They are strong and would be good for this type of project.

The all-purpose thread for this project should be cotton, polyester, or a combination of the two.

For a crotch-patching job, you need to decide if you want the mending to be visible or blend into the denim. This will help you determine what color thread to use.

Gray is a good color to use if you don’t want the mended area to be too noticeable.

three colors of thread to sew with jeans
The gray threads are hard to see but the dark blue is definitely visible.

Needles

Hand needles

You’ll need a needle for hand basting. The needle needs to be sharp enough to go through the denim.

If you need to baste through a seam, make sure the needle is thick enough for the job.

When pushing the needle through the fabric, be careful. Use a thimble to push it through the denim if you feel a lot of resistance.

Sewing machine needle

Jean/denim needles are heavy duty and made to be used with denim.

If you don’t have a specialty jean needle, you can use a needle size 90/14 or greater. Don’t use anything smaller because you run a greater risk of the needle breaking especially if you will be sewing through seams.

Book Resources for Mending

Looking for some print resources to add to your sewing library? Check out the following books:

Two books that have been extremely helpful in adding to my knowledge and understanding of mending techniques are:

mending books

Do all the needle and thread choices leave you confused? The following 2 books are excellent resources to help you pick the best needle and thread for your projects.

The book Know Your Needles by Liz Kettle
Book - The Ultimate Thread Guide by Becky Goldsmith

Know Your Needles by Liz Kettle is a pocket-sized resource that provides easy-to-consume information about both machine and hand sewing needles.

The Ultimate Thread Guide by Becky Goldsmith lives up to its subtitle Everything You Need to Know to Choose the Perfect Thread for Every Project.

How to Fix Crotch Holes in Jeans

1. Prepare the area

First, trim loose thread around the hole.

use scissors to trim loose thread around the hole

Then, with the jeans turned inside out, turn and hand baste the edges of the hole 1/4″-1/2″ to the wrong side. If necessary, clip the hole’s edges so they fold over smoothly.

If there is an edge that can’t be turned because it is right next to a seam, you can apply Fray Check. This can be done during this step or at the end of the patching.

Using fray chck to on raw edges that can't be turned.
Use a bright colored thread for basting so you can easily see it when it’s time to remove it.

2. Cut a patch

Determine the size of the patch.

It needs to cover:

  • the hole
  • thinning area around the hole
  • at least an inch of unaffected fabric around the hole and thinning areas

To easily see thinning areas, hold the jeans up to a light source so you can look through the seat of the pants.

measure the length and width of the hole

I decided to make one patch to cover both the big hole and the smaller, almost-hole.

The patch I made was a 4-inch square made out of a remnant of an older pair of jeans.

Note: While I thought the remnant would be a good fabric for the patch, it ended up being too stiff after I sewed it in. In the future, I want to try a cotton or linen for a patch on jeans.

3. Attach the patch

With the jeans inside out, place the patch right side down over the hole and pin in place.

Try to line up the grainline of the patch with the grainline of the fabric especially if it’s a larger hole. This will help the patch align with the intended cut of the jeans.

pin patch in place

Baste by hand with brightly covered thread and remove the pins. Basting stitches should be close to the edge of the patch.

hand baste patch in place
The patch is basted in with pink thread.
Patch from the front

In the process of attaching the patch, I removed the orange stitches between the crotch seam and the zipper topstitching. My thought was I would be able to stitch the patch underneath the seam. Spoiler: I wasn’t able to.

4. Sew the patch

Have a plan of action for sewing the patch.

Denim is made with a twill weave that results in a diagonal ribbing.

When sewing you can:

  • follow the lengthwise (warp) threads of the denim
  • follow the crosswise (weft) threads of the denim
  • follow the diagonal ribbing of the weave
  • do one or more of the above options

How you sew depends on how big and open the hole is. Each direction would be one layer of thread so you’re basically recreating the weave.

Sewing the Big Hole

A sewing machine was used to mend the big hole.

I used an open toed presser foot and a stitch length of about 2.5.

See how I sewed the patch in the video below.

Sewing the Almost-Hole

To fix the almost-hole, I hand sewed using the backstitch.

backstitch by hand to mend smaller hole
Hand stitching is in the purple circle. Sewing machine mending is on the right.

With several rows already done below the bottom of the smaller, almost hole, I’m already liking how the hand-sewn backstitch is looking compared to the sewing machine sewing.

Also, after sewing the first set of stitches over the almost-hole, I took some additional backstitches along the left side of the big hole to secure the patch where I wasn’t able to get the sewing machine needle.

Sew stitches in one direction following the grain.

After backstitching in one direction, I drew lines with a Frixion pen to keep track of the next direction to sew.

Draw lines to sew along another grainline.

Once the second set of stitches was sewn, I took the following steps:

  • erased the red lines by applying heat from the iron
  • made more lines going another direction
  • backstitched by hand
  • applied the heat to erase the last set of lines

The sewing is done!

Prepare and sew a third direction over the hole.

5. Finish up

First, if you opened up the center seam, close it back up.

Once you’re done with the sewing you need to remove the basting holding the big patch in place.

A couple of tips when you do this:

  • Be careful not to clip any of the actual mending.
  • If you sewed over basting stitches and are having a hard time removing them, clip shorter sections of the thread and use tweezers to grasp the ends. Short firm tugs will usually do the trick.

After that, if you need to, trim off excess patch fabric. You can use pinking shears for this or regular scissors.

If the patch edges look like they are going to fray, apply some Fray Check.

Use pinking shears to trim excess patch.
before and after picture of holes in crotch of jeans

Things to Know

There are basically 5 steps in the process of mending a hole in the crotch of jeans.

  1. Prepare the area
  2. Cut the patch
  3. Attach the patch
  4. Sew the patch
  5. Finish up

While these steps will guide you through the process to fix holes, you need to be aware of a few things in regards to the patch.

  • Use cotton or linen (instead of denim) as a patch for an actual hole. Otherwise, the mended area will be thick and stiff.
  • Use a patch that is close to the color of the jeans.
  • Try fusible interfacing for small, almost holes.

Also, during the machine sewing process:

  • One layer of thread with a denim patch will give you a stiff mend so another layer of thread would just add to the stiffness.
  • Dark blue thread won’t cover the lighter blue of the patch very well.
  • It will be harder than you think to follow the visible lines in the jeans.
  • The seams will probably get in the way of your presser foot near the edges of the hole.
  • There may not be enough clearance underneath the presser foot for the thickest seam. You may find yourself pulling and pushing to get the fabric to move. Dropping the feed dogs could help with this.
  • Use a darning foot to have more freedom of movement when sewing by machine.

Here are a couple additional resources to show you the possibilities of invisible mending.

  • If you want to be inspired with how truly invisible mending can be, take a look at Invisible Denim Repair, a post on the blog of Goheen Designs. She uses the same steps I did to mend the hole but has some very impressive photos before and after photos for invisible denim repair. Some of the comments at the end of her post provide some valuable tips, too.
  • See invisible mending in action is this video:

Other Mending Posts on The Ruffled Purse

My first experience with mending was to fix a rip in the thigh of a pair of corduroy pants.

How to Fix a Rip in Pants

I’ve also experimented with patching a hole in the corner of the back pocket.

How to Fix a Hole in the Back Pocket of Jeans

Let’s Connect

My main goals are to support, empower, and inspire you to discover the joy of sewing.

Need help or have questions on this project, pattern, or tutorial? Send me an email at nicki@theruffledpurse.com and we can work together to get it figured out!

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