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How to Mend: How to Sew Holes in Pants by Darning on a Sewing Machine

How to Darn a Hole

Learn how to darn a hole in pants using the darning stitch on a sewing machine. If you do not have a darning stitch, another decorative, zig zag or straight stitch can be used.  The finished result is almost invisible.

Darning a hole with a sewing machine is quick and easy.  For this tutorial, we make a patch to place on the inside of the pants and then darn on a sewing machine.

Some of my favorite shorts ended up developing holes near the pockets.  While inspecting the holes, I noticed that the fabric was starting to rip on the sides of each pocket on the back of the pants.  This must be a weak spot in the fabric because of all of the layers in the pocket flap.

Instead of getting rid of these favorite shorts, I decided to mend them by machine darning over the holes.  I patched both sides of the pocket since I could see it was starting to develop holes. How to mend holes in pants tutorial - fb

If you are looking for a tutorial on how to fix larger holes in the pant legs, click over to our tutorial, How to Mend a Hole in Jeans or Pants.

Watch the full video tutorial by clicking the link below and then keep reading our photo tutorial for more information and the supplies for this project.



COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Mend: How to Sew Holes in Pants by Darning on a Sewing Machine to watch in Youtube.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

WHAT YOU NEED to darn a hole with a sewing machine

  • Fabric to coordinate with the pant's Color
  • Heat 'n Bond Lite
  • Thread to match the pant's color
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

INSTRUCTIONS to darn a hole in pants

STEP 1: Inspect holes in pants

Two pairs of my favorite shorts developed large holes next to the pockets.  On the green pair, it's next to the left pocket.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Show Hole 2

And on the brown pair, it's next to the right side pocket.  Both larger holes are near the center of the pants.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Show Hole In Pants

Upon inspecting the pants closer, I noticed that holes were starting to develop beside each side of the pocket flaps.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Pointing Out Small Hole

So, I decided to add a patch and darn the pants next to the sides of both pockets.  This should stop the wear and keep more holes from developing.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Show Hole 6

STEP 2: Trim Threads from hole

If there are loose threads across or around the hole, carefully trim them with the scissors without making the hole larger.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Trim Loose Threads

Step 3: Create a Patch for the hole

These holes could be just darn on a sewing machine across the holes to close them up. But, since these holes are developing beside each pocket, reinforcement of the fabric is necessary to have a long lasting fix.

Cut a piece from the coordinating fabric that is large enough to cover the hole(s).  In my case, I cut a piece that would be large enough to cover all four patch locations next to the sides of the two pockets. 

Be sure the patch will cover the entire hole and the area around the hole.  Don't skimp!

Cut a piece of Heat 'n Bond Lite a bit smaller than the patch size. 

Place the wrong side of the fabric facing up on an ironing board.  Then place the Heat 'n Bond Lite with the paper side facing up centered on top of the fabric.

Iron for 5 - 10 seconds or until the Heat 'n Bond adheres to the fabric.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Patch

After creating the patch, cut it into pieces large enough to cover the holes in the pants.  See below photo, the patch is quite a bit larger than the hole.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Patch Larger Than Hole

Peel the paper backing off of the patch.  An easy way to do this is to score the paper with a pin.  This makes it will be easier to grab the paper and peel it off.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Remove Paper from Heat n Bond

Step 4: Apply the Patch Over the Hole

Lay the pants on the ironing board with the inside facing up.  Smooth it out so the fabric around the hole is flat and the hole is as close to closed as possible.

Depending on how large the hole is, the patch may show through to the front side.  Since the fabric color of the patch matches the pants, it should blend in when finished.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Place Patch Over Hole

Iron on the patch until it adheres to the pants.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Iron On Patch

In the photo below, the patches are showing on the inside of the pants.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Iron Patch to Attach

The patches could be placed on the outside of the pants, but this will be more noticeable when the patch is completed.

I always prefer to patch on the inside, but a decorative patch on the outside of the pants could also be used.

The hole on the pants is covered and the outside of the pants is shown in the photo below.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Show Hole 4

And here is another view in the photo below of the hole after the patch is applied to the inside of the pant.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Patch Ironed showing outside

Next, we will use the darning stitch to sew over the hole.  This will close the raw edges of the hole and make the patch permanent.

If you do not sew over the hole, the patch may not hold and the hole could continue fraying.  

Step 5: How to Darn a Hole with a sewing machine

To make the patch permanent, sew a darning stitch over the hole.  This will permanently attach the patch to the pants and stitch down any raw edges of the hole.

Set your sewing machine on the darning stitch.  On my Bernina 240, this is the #17 stitch.  If you do not have a darning stitch on your machine, you can use a decorative stitch, zig-zag stitch or sew a straight stitch back and forth across and around the hole.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Set Machine For Darning Stitch

What is a darning stitch?

The darning stitch is a stitch that covers the entire area of the hole with stitches. This stitch reinforces the fabric in and around the hole and affixes the patch permanently to the pants.

The darning stitch is programmed on the Bernina 240 to stitch forward and backward.  The needle starts at the left side of the presser foot and on each pass, it moves the needle one step towards the right side.  The length stitched is set by pressing the back button at the end of the first pass.

Check your sewing machine instructions to see how to use the darning stitch on your machine.

As you can see in the photo below, the darning stitch forms small lines of stitches across the hole.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Patch Close Up

Thread the machine top and bobbin thread with thread that closely matches the pant color.  Sometimes, you want the stitches to be shown as in Sashiko or visible mending.  Click the link to learn more about this mending technique.

Today, I would like the stitches to blend in and not be noticeable.  So, using matching fabric and thread helps keep it less visible.

To begin, place the presser foot outside of the area with the hole.  You will want to reinforce the area all around the hole to keep it from ripping again. 

Start to stitch forward, with this programmed stitch, no back tacking is required as it automatically tacks the stitch.  Stitch across the the hole and press the back button to let the machine know when to stop and go backwards.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Start Darning Stitch

Continue stitching until the end of the darning stitch cycle.  For the rest of the cycle, the machine will stitch backward and forward, moving the needle one step to the right with each pass.

If the entire area of the hole is not covered in the first pass of the darning stitch, it can be stitched again in another area until the hole is patched.

Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Showing Stitches

Above shows some darning stitches around the holes on the sides of the pant pockets.  Below shows the stitches on the inside of the pants.

Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Finished Patches Inside

There are more example photos of darning stitch below showing the outside and inside of the pants.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Patches Completed Outside

Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Patches Shown From Inside

Step 6: Trim Patch (optional)

After finishing the darning stitch, I trimmed the patches to be just a bit larger than the stitches.  This is optional, but the patch may peel up at the edges after many washing and wearing of the pants.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Trimmed Around Patches

FINISHED. The pants are now patched using the darning stitch on my sewing machine!

As you can see below, the stitches are not very noticeable on the pants.  This will give me many more years of use for these favorite shorts.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Sewn Patch

I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and learning how to sew holes to fix your clothes.  Subscribe to our newsletter so you won't miss new tutorials! Scroll down to purchase supplies for this project.Patch Holes By Pockets In Pants Finished

If you are interested in other Mending Tutorials, please click the link as we have a whole list of them.

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

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