Saturday 6 April 2013

Fixing Rubbed Thigh Holes in Jeans

   My jeans aren't the most expensive. I tend to pick them up for about £10-£15 at New Look usually, but I did buy them from much cheaper shops for £3-£5 for a very short period of time a few years ago. I found that the cheaper the jeans, the quicker holes would rub into the thighs. The cheap, shitty ones I used to buy would wear out in a month! The ones I get now tend to last a few years.
   But, I have one pair I bought for £15 about 5 years ago that I just love, and when holes started to form, I stopped wearing them. I had jeans in the past that would wear down, but I'd just sew a patch into it and carry on until I couldn't stand the feeling any more. But this pair of jeans in particular, I really didn't want to throw out because I love them so much.
   I had a look all over the internet, and the only 2 solutions - one of which was more of a suggestion - I could find were: sew patches inside it, like I did, and buy more expensive jeans - I'll point out now, that these holes have got nothing to do with the size of the jeans, or the weight of the person wearing them. I'm not a skinny minnie, but I'd read that a lot of people who have this problem are not overweight at all. It comes down to the quality of the jeans, and how long you've had them. The more expensive the pair, the longer they'll last. Of course, if you cycle in jeans, that will also wear them down. It's just general friction.

   Well, I got thinking about it. Sewing a patch into the jeans at the hole wouldn't really stop the hole from getting any bigger. The fabric would just continue to rub away, and once a hole has formed, there's no stopping it. All the patch would do is prevent the hole from being noticable. And, at the end of the day, it's nothing more than a temporary solution.
   Surely there had to be something that could be done to at least slow down the formation of holes.
   I soon decided on a "solution" - of course only time will tell if it works. My reasoning is simple: the fabric is becoming thinner around the hole, which, of course, is what causes it to form. If you could strengthen the fabric itself then it would be reinforced and would have to rub away all over again. What I decided was needed was something that would seep into the fabric itself and bond itself to it.

   My first thought was fabric glue, and I do believe it would probably be more effective than what I've actually done, but I couldn't afford it. I bought hemming tape instead. Hemming tape is a double-sided adhesive that, when ironed, melts into the fabric. The glue would reinforce the fabric (though because it wouldn't seep in as much as glue, it might not strengthen it by too much more), but it would also offer the opportunity to fix a patch inside the jean. The patch would, of course, stick to the tape and thereby to the jeans, and wouldn't be as loose as a patch that had been stitched in. It would also move with the jean rather than with the leg, so it would feel less noticable.
   Through this method, the original fabric is strengthened, the patch doesn't feel as conspicuous, and if the hole does continue to form, there's another secure piece of fabric beneath it.

   This is probably nothing more than a stall, however; the hemming tape may eventually fail - though the glue probably wouldn't - and where the initial fabric had thinned, it would just continue to do so. BUT, if you only do this to the jeans that are worth the trouble, and wear them less frequently, you can keep your favourite pieces in your wardrobe, rather than the bin or scrap drawer.

   First, cut 2 patches of fabric from a scrap pair of jeans. I chose the pair of jeans that have been sat in my wardrobe for a few years, which were a sad, regretful purchase. Then, turn your worn out jeans inside out. I've cheated a bit. Like I said above, as soon as I noticed a hole forming on this specific pair, I stopped wearing them. I've circled the problem in the second image. It hasn't come out great there, but if my fingers are beneath the fabric, skin shows through. It wouldn't take long at all for the hole to become more substantial. If the hole in your jeans is a proper hole, then I suggest working around it rather than over it.

   Next, cut some hemming tape to cover the problem area. The thinned area on these jeans was down the middle of the middle strip of tape. I added two more pieces, one on either side, to reinforce the whole area. I then put my fabric patch face-down onto the jeans over the tape, and ironed it down. The hemming tape bonded almost immediately, but it's best to follow the instructions on the tape provided, or look it up. My tape didn't come with instructions so I did it on medium-high heat for about 30 seconds. The second image shows the patch after it's bonded with the tape. I added another strip of tape to this bit becuse there was quite a lot of fabric left, but you could just as well cut it off.
   If you're using fabric glue just follow the instructions on the tube.

   You may need to repeat this in the future, but they're reliable products, moreso if it's a reputable brand. This does not FIX the hole, however. The hole will continue to wear down, but it will be somewhat slowed, and when it does form, there is another piece of fabric already waiting beneath it. I suggest not wearing the jeans quite as often after this, however, unless you don't mind repeating the work after a while.
   The jeans I fixed were my favourite pair, and after repairing them, I will wear them much less frequently than I used to - though much more frequently than I was - and keep them for special occasions where I need that extra boost of confidence.

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