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How to mend jeans by hand – diy beetle patch tutorial

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How to mend jeans by hand - diy beetle patch tutorial

Refreshing an old post with a full tutorial and free mending patch pattern download! Sew on patches for jeans are a must in this house, there isn’t an iron on knee patch strong enough to take the hiking and jumping my son does. We try to spend as much time outside as possible, hiking and exploring, which leads to a lot of laundry and even more mending. This is an easy way to mend jeans by hand with no sewing machine required; while I share a few tools to make it even easier, all you truly need are scraps of denim and hand sewing materials.

before and after jeans mending

Here you can see my husband’s jeans repaired! We will see how the beetle holds up with outdoor use; he typically wears jeans when working outside.

visible mending after washer dryer

Edit to update, 2 years later with weekly washing/drying this is what the beetle looks like! Fuzzy but holding strong!

hand stitched beetle tutorial

I also have since used this silhouette in a different way, check it out here: how to mend a rip in jeans with hand embroidery!

upcycled tote bag refashion

I used this same pattern to embellish a tote bag makeover recently too.

If you like this post, check out these other posts while you’re here!

diy sashiko mending patch

I used smaller stitches on this version and I think I’ll try again with big stitches like I did for my kids! I like the layered look though and this was easy to finish in a night.

before and after knee patch boys pants

From the past and a slightly different beetle shape are these super soft jegging/jean hybrids. Once I spotted a growing hole on one leg, I decided it was time to act. I love that these look cute, cover the hole, but also make them more durable overall.bug knee patches for kids diy

How fun are these pants now! I love the mix of denim shades.

sashiko knee patch

My daughter was super jealous that the “bug pants” weren’t for her – I think I need to put this silhouette on more things soon, not just sew on patches for jeans! I stitched them down over a few afternoons while the kids played in the backyard.I like to think they can feel the love that was sewn into these! It makes me happy that these pants will last at least a few more months, and maybe get passed down to my daughter too. Sashiko stitching is so simple, if you’ve never sewn anything by hand this would be a great first project! You can find a bunch of other sashiko project tutorials in this post.

Pin this tutorial for how to mend jeans by hand with this link or collage image:

jeans mending tutorial

How to mend jeans by hand



If it is a larger hole, I’d recommend putting a “backing” knit square on the inside before stitching, just to give it some extra strength, you can see a photo of this option in this similar tutorial.

Step 1- Print the pattern off! Trace it on to the papery side of heat n bond or print it if you’re using the FeatherLite Sheets.

Step 2- Cut roughly around the drawing and follow the package directions to iron it on to the wrong side of the fabric. Repeat for all parts.

free beetle outline pattern

Step 3- Cut along the lines, peel off the backing, and follow the directions again to adhere it over the holes. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for the next layer’s pieces.

Step 4- Time to sew! You can go around the edges or do a simple dense, straight stitch like I did here, inspired by sashiko.  

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Rebecca Grace

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

Stephanie, you are so stinkin' clever! This is fabulous. I was not so crafty yet when my kids were younger and wearing holes into their little jeans left and right (now they are both over 6' tall and Mommy has been known to wear hand-me-down jeans from Son the Younger!). I remember trying to use those denim patch kits that you can find at Jo-Anns or sometimes at the grocery store, the rounded rectangular patches stiff with iron on glue. I could get them to stick to the jeans if I followed the instructions on the package, and sometimes I even zigzagged around the edges for added "insurance," but the jeans would always rip right AROUND the area I'd patched. Super frustrating after I'd gone to such lengths to try and save them! I never thought of saving a "beyond saving" or outgrown pair of jeans to use for patching other jeans, but I'll bet that gives you a much softer, more flexible patch that doesn't stress the surrounding fabric as much. And the way you turned your patches into embellishments? Well, that just opens up a whole world of possibilities! I just need to have a folder on my desktop for "Great Ideas from Swoodson Says!"


Tuesday 10th of September 2019

So I showed this to my son to make sure he'd like his jeans patched like this - he thought the patches were fine, but he loved the brown boots in the pictures! lol! Any chance you can tell me what brand/style they are? haha!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Tuesday 10th of September 2019

They are Stride Rite! I looked it up in my Amazon orders haha. Unfortunately 2 years later, they aren't in stock/made any more. Check to see if they have any modern updates, or See Kai Run had similar looks.


Wednesday 29th of March 2017

This is Awesome! How did it hold up after washing? I assume the denim patch frays a little around the edges?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Saturday 1st of April 2017

Thanks Lori! It does fray a little; these have probably been washed and dried... 10 times? Maybe more:

Pam @Threading My Way

Tuesday 7th of March 2017

Super cute, Stephanie!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 22nd of March 2017

Thanks Pam!


Tuesday 7th of March 2017

What a super cool idea, love the beetles. my daughter and i are huge fans of jeans so this is a great idea that i will certainly try out. thankyou for sharing..

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 22nd of March 2017

Awesome, thanks for reading Anna!

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