How To: Add Knee Patches to Jeans

How to sew knee patches to jeans -

If your kids are constantly wearing the knees out of their pants or jeans, you are going to love this easy to follow tutorial. This patching technique is useful for all trousers, big or small, but especially small.

Mending knee holes isn’t difficult, and the best thing is I’ll show you a trick which means no hand sewing! You’ll get through your mending pile in no time.

Are you inspired to mend? Watch this film I made all about why mending is important.

You will need:

  • The Jeans or pants you need to patch
  • Fabric for the patches – I used a piece of denim from an old pair of Mr Man’s jean
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper/un-picker
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins

How to Sew on Knee Patches:

How to sew knee patches to jeans -

1. Iron the jeans (these don’t have holes but they are very thin in the knees).

2. Cut out two matching patches, they can be any shape you like.

3. Lay them over the knees to check size and position.

4. (optional) You may like to machine stitch a criss-cross pattern on the knee patches to add interest.

How to sew knee patches to jeans -

5. Now this the secret trick to make everything a whole lot easier, even on the smallest of garments. You need to unpick the side seam of the leg. On jeans choose the seam that isn’t double stitched. Unpick as far as you can without unpicking cuff. This means you can open the leg out flat to comfortably use the sewing machine.

How to sew knee patches to jeans -

6. Pin patches into place.

7 & 8. Now with a thread that matches the colour of the patch use a wide zig zag stitch (satin stitch) to sew the patch onto the leg.

9. Turn jeans inside out and resew the seam that you previously unpicked. Zig Zag or serge raw edge if desired.

How to sew knee patches to jeans -

10. All done! Check out how groovy these old jeans look.

Don’t limit yourself to making patches solely out of denim, why not try patches in prints or fun shapes like a heart or star? Here are some applique patch templates you can download.

Thank you to Heidi, a fabulous facebook Liker who requested this tutorial on the My Poppet fan page.

“Cintia, I have a request. My little boys jeans ALWAYS end up with holes in the knees…..I’d love to patch them up but know they wouldn’t end up looking the way I wanted them too. Seeing as you are a jeanious (ha!) I was hoping maybe you could do a tutorial on it?!
I’d love you forever….”

I’m glad I could help Heidi out.

If you have any tutorial requests, feel free to leave a comment here or over on the facebook page and I’ll see what I can do 🙂


  • Kat says:

    Unpick the leg seam……such a logical solution! Yay, thanks heaps – I now have a plan for the day…three pairs of a very “active” toddlers jeans to knee patch!

  • emma @ frog, goose and bear says:

    My little boy is just the same – I think he has a hole in almost every pair of pants he owns!! It just didn't/doesn't happen with my girls!

  • Erin says:

    Love this I never thought to unpick the seam I have a patch I need to redo now to be able to sew it on better.


  • Heidi says:

    YIPPEEE! SO logical….you rule Cintia!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have 6 and 8 year old girls who seem to be wearing out EVERY pair of pants they own, and I have no clue how it happens?! Thanks for the tips – I've got a lot of sewing to do this week, but it will be a little easier now. 🙂

  • Venusia says:

    Thank you I was desesperated of how to sew a patch on my son’s jeans ! I never tough of unpicking the side seam !

  • Bradley Rebecca says:

    Normally jeans are a hole in the knee but you share the knee patches is a really awesome idea and look nice. I am impressed with this idea. Great blog!

  • Wendy Wooden says:

    This is very good advice. I have 4-year old grandsons and those jeans are rather small. I knew I needed to pick the seam, but I wish I had read your post BEFORE I picked open the cuffs. They were the devil to resew but from now on I don’t have to. Thank you

  • Mattie says:

    Hi Cintia, Thankyou for the tutorial on patching jeans. I am working my way through a box of “to be mended” pants patching knees being the main problem. I have 2 set backs-
    (1) I used a liquid sewing solution”secure stitch” and waited 24 hours. I then sewed the edges with straight stitches, and a x-stitch across the middle. Now the edges are starting to fray. This pair is nylon the patches are a semi stretchy cotton poly. I thought the liquid solution would solve this. Do you suggest zigzagging it?
    (2) I would like to find double-sided fusible interfacing, we live really remote (I looked locally and on-line), this I thought would solve the edges from freying but my goodness the cost was (IMHO) really expensive. I thought Pellon would be a good interfacing and hold down the edges along with straight stitching.
    I usually do not like sewing because of the bobbin becoming a birds nest of thread. I’m using a brother sewing machine now and it works like a dream.
    Thank you for any advice or ideas, I am not a pro at all, but want to upcycle especially my favorites.

    • Hello, glad you are tackling your mending pile. To answer your questions 1) yes, most fabrics will have some sort of fraying with wear, if you don’t like that look (some people do) then I would recommended zig zag stitch around. I usually zig zag around all my patches for neatness and to make them more durable.
      2) Double sided interfacing will probably not stop the edges from fraying but is useful to reinforce and adhere more delicate fabrics to help with sewing. Depending on the quality of the product, some curling of the edges can happen. Pellon is good for extra strength.

      In regards to the bobbin problem, you may have some tension issues or likely not threaded correctly, try and find a friend who is handy with sewing machines to take a look.

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