People who wear their jeans a lot should be very familiar with the classic crotch blowout, but something that gets covered less is the unfortunate pocket bag tear. With all of the tablet-sized smartphones, keys, wallets, loose change, crumpled bills, and lip balm we shove in our pockets these days, it’s no surprise that eventually holes and complete rips can develop. As a likely response, plenty of brands have advertised their pocket bags as having heavy-duty fabrics that resist such wear-and-tear and limit the number of repairs needed.
For crotch blowouts and knee rips, there are plenty of places to send your denim for repair. Those same places can fix pocket bags, but for a much smaller cost, you can probably fix the problem yourself. We’ve covered how to DIY repair small holes in the past, but not pocket bags specifically. Check out a couple of options below, which not only range in level of effort, but also cost.
Sew-on or iron-on patches
When people think sew-on or iron-on patches, they likely think of decorative patches that make their way onto jackets as a way of showing off the wearer’s personality. Since patches on pocket bags won’t be seen–unless someone is lucky enough to be standing there while you take your pants off–they serve a pure functional repair purpose. They’re cheap too–most patches can be bought for less than a dollar.
Once you have a patch in hand, you have to make sure the fabric is clean and ironed flat. For iron-on patches, you do just that–hold a hot iron to the patch with a towel in-between for 15 seconds. For sew-on patches, it takes some handiness with a needle and thread (or a sewing machine) to secure it. WikiHow has excellent guides for both methods.
Replace parts of/the whole pocket bag
This option requires a little more craftiness and access to a sewing machine. Due to constantly shoving items towards the bottom of the pocket, that tends to be where the hole/tear develops. In this strategy, you have to first assess the damage. If the hole is on or directly next to the edge of the pocket, you can sew a larger seam and close the tear. If it’s further away from the seams, you may have to replace a segment or the entire pocket bag.
If this is the case, mark a straight line above the hole, and cut the fabric at that line. Place this cut-off piece fabric over your new fabric that has been folded in half, and mark off the size so that you can cut the new piece. Sew a seam along the bottom of this new pocket bag, and turn it inside out so that whatever pattern (if there is one) is on the inside. This way, when you pull your pocket bags out, the pattern shows.
After pinning this new piece of fabric to the leftover pocket bag on your jeans, sew them so that the leftover trim remains on the outside, and so that no excess fabric shows on the seams when looking into the pocket from above. Similar to applying patches, Instructables has a great repair breakdown on how to sew-in new pocket bags. Assuming a sewing machine is available, all you have to pay for this DIY method are scraps of fabric and thread.
Darning your pocket bag
Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, darning is the go-to method for crotch blowouts and other kinds of denim tears. It can also be used for pocket bag repairs, but unfortunately you don’t just need a sewing machine, you ideally need a specialized darning machine. One of these specialized machines is a 1950’s Singer 47W70, like the one Rain Delisle uses at Darn-It!, Self Edge’s denim repair shop in San Francisco.
Since these machines are so rare, they’re typically used by denim repair services like Darn-It! and Denim Therapy. With those repair services comes the cost of shipping and the cost of repair. At Denim Therapy, they quote pocket repairs at $4 for every half inch. If you’re lucky, darning services could be available in your city or town. The benefit of that cost is a seamless repair; one that you can barely notice once it’s completed.
How do you like to repair your pocket bag blowouts? Let us know in the comments below!