Repairing Jeans with Oversize Knee Patches and Sashiko Stitching

clothing repair diy how to mending sashiko tutorial upcycle visible mending

Sashiko Style Mending Erin Eggenburg wrenbirdarts

The Project:

In good shape otherwise, this cute pair of Carhartt jeans with one knee torn and the other knee threadbare. I found these jeans while thrifting and realized this was such a common, relatively easy mend. Carhartt's are known for being heavy duty, and I thought it fitting to reinforce both knees, and give them back some dignity. 

I'll use sashiko style stitching to add my own spin to this knee repair. The dark denim stands out so much, that I thought I'd be more subtle in the sashiko stitching, employing only vertical stitching. 

A Note About Choosing Materials:

Sashiko was developed as a peasant mending skill centuries ago, and teaches us to use materials (and reuse when possible) that are the most accessible where we live. Here, in my smallish city of Bellingham, I can step into any secondhand or charity shop, and find either a ball crochet cotton or a few skeins of perle cotton. 

What type of thread to use for sashiko mending

These are all different types of thread that I use in my mending. You can use regular 6 strand embroidery floss, but because of those individual strands, the mend doesn't look as "clean". 

Notice that yellow block at the bottom of the picture? That is beeswax, and I think it is necessary to coat your thread, especially for denim mending projects. You just pull your thread through the wax a few times, it's a gamechanger. 

If you aren't sure where to start, I have a kit with everything you need right here.

Sashiko Style Mending Technique

Mending Preparation for Sashiko Stitching

It is necessary to pin your patch firmly in place, so that it doesn't shift as you are pulling needle and thread through multiple times. I leave the pins in for as long as I can, only removing when I am about to stitch through the pin holding the layers together.

With this type of repair, a long, sharp sashiko needle is used. This is so you can collect multiple stitches on the needle, rather than making tiny single stitches. Start by trying to collect 3-4 stitches on your needle before pulling it through. As you get more comfortable, you'll be able to collect more stitches on your needle. This speeds up the mending process significantly. 

Sashiko Mending


Sashiko Mending

I started stitching in the bottom right hand corner, going up, then after stitching to the top of the patch, I poked my needle out over the next row, and stitched downward. Up and down, working from right to left. 

The Finished Project

Sashiko close up

I wish you could feel the bumpy, soft texture of the stitching!

sashiko mending denim 

Oversize Knee Patching wrenbirdarts


Sashiko Mending


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