How to Mend a Tear Around a Pocket

How to Mend a Tear around a Pocket - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

 I love to mend my clothing with visible stitching.

The Problem

These jeans have torn right at the stitching where the pocket is attached.

Dang! That’s a tricky place to patch. But I WILL patch these jeans. Partly because I’m stingy frugal. Mostly because I loathe buying new jeans. The only thing worse is shopping for a bathing suit. Ugh.

The Solution

First, get out your seam ripper and pick off as much of the pocket as you need to to get at the tear. I went a good two inches past the bottom of the tear so I’d have plenty of room to work.

Choose a piece of sturdy fabric from your scraps. This is heavyweight cotton twill. Cut it at least an inch bigger than the tear all the way around. I often cut it as much as two inches bigger. Turn the raw edges under (about 1/4 inch or a bit more) and press. Pin the patch over your tear. In this case I butted it right up to the big fat seams. I don’t want to stitch over them if I can avoid it.

Now stitch the patch in place. I see a patch as an opportunity to fancify – so I embroidered it to the jeans. I started with split stitch for the stems, added some lazy daisy flowers, and then lots and lots of running stitches for strength. (Those links go to videos showing you how to do each stitch.)

See how the running stitches are parallel to the diagonal weave of the twill? Using the weave as a guide makes it easy to stitch nice and straight.

Those running stitches are the key to a successful patch. They distribute the stress on the fabric to the whole patch instead of just around the edges. I took this photo of the back of the patched area so you could see how the stitches would support the damaged fabric. The rip is that frayed line right up the center of the photo.

See this post for a basic tutorial on mending with patches – I go into more detail about the purpose of the all-over stitching – and show lots of samples of different patterns you can try.

Flip the pocket back into place. Put a heavy-duty needle and some gold thread in your machine and stitch the pocket down right over the original stitch lines.


Here are all the posts about finishing embroidery projects.

Basic Finishing

Other Ways to Use Embroidery

Return to the Learn to Embroider main Table of Contents.

Happy stitching!

How to Mend with Patches

How to Mend with Fun Patches - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Use all your favorite embroidery stitches to make mending patches prettier AND stronger. First watch the video for the how and why – and then scroll down for some detailed examples of finished patches from a pair of my jeans.

 And now for the samples. These are all from one pair of jeans. 🙂

This one is super easy. I used a running stitch around the edge of the patch, and then I used split stitch over every other stripe.

This is just running stitches – lots of running stitches. It’s stitched on corduroy so I was able to use the space between the ridges to as a guide to keep my rows of stitching straight and parallel. I used a two different shades of blue thread.

On this one I used the gingham print of the fabric as a grid to make nice, even cross stitches and running stitches. The stitches of my Xs were pretty big – possible to snag on things – so I took tiny little straight stitches in pink at each intersection to strengthen the whole thing and add a fun accent.

Pretty Patch Tutorial at Shiny Happy World

This started as a plain black fabric with white polka dots. First I took little straight stitches in the polka dots and made cross stitches in the spaces between them. That didn’t make the stitching as close as I wanted so I added a grid of backstitches in green.

And finally – this one was a real labor of love. I satin stitched over each drop shape in the fabric print – matching the color of the printed drop. It took a long time but the texture is luscious.

If the tear is in a tricky spot – like when the rip is at the edge of a pocket – take a look at this post.

Have fun with some patches! Soon you’ll be looking for an excuse to mend!

Here are all the posts about finishing embroidery projects.

Basic Finishing

Other Ways to Use Embroidery

Return to the Learn to Embroider main Table of Contents.

Happy stitching!