Learning to darn jeans.

Self Edge New York acquired this vintage Singer darning machine not too long ago to use for jean repairs. These machines are so hard to find because they’re no longer in production – people don’t see fit to repair jeans anymore. Our SF store has had the machine for some time now, so we were pretty excited to finally be able to offer the same service in NY.

Although much simpler to operate than our chainstitch machine, it still has its nuances and intricacies. I found that one can start using it within minutes, but it takes time to learn how to repair jeans cleanly and effectively. I’ve been getting lots of pointers and help from Julian Dash, who does our repairs in SF – but I’ve realized that what I really need is experience. Thankfully we have a pretty big pile of jeans to get through, so there’ll be plenty of practice for me in the coming weeks.

What makes this machine so special? Instead of covering up holes by stitching them to a patch underneath like a single needle, the darning machine actually weaves new denim so there’s no need for patches.

Here’s a hole that I repaired today. I start by making a light framework of threads to help recreate the shape that was lost by the denim that is now gone. This helps to maintain the tension as I go back and forth and build it more densely.

After sufficiently covering the hole up and down, I turn the jeans 90 degrees to weave denim in the other direction.

Because the rip happened along the seam, I had to stitch it into the edge to make sure that it took hold.

This is a pair of 3sixteen+ 10BSPs that developed a small crotch hole. I’m actually quite pleased to see how beautifully they are fading – the close up shot shows the many hues of worn-out indigo that the rope dyed threads reveal with age.

Here it is covered up.

This customer had a pair of jeans that didn’t actually have a hole yet, but were starting to wear thin in the crotch. I darned it with longer, more spaced out stitches to make it look less intrusive. When you’re not covering a hole you don’t need it to be as dense.

Here’s what it looks like on the inside:

8 Comment

  1. mongchacha says: Reply

    YO! WHAT?! I DIDN’T KNOW THIS WAS REPAIRABLE! I HAVE A COUPLE PAIRS OF JEANS I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE REPAIRED! SORRY FOR SCREAMING!

  2. Josh says: Reply

    That’s amazing! This beats just going back and forth with a sewing machine. Very neat.

  3. Nick says: Reply

    Great run through and photos! Thanks for taking time to post.

  4. Jo says: Reply

    Lookin really good.

  5. Bob says: Reply

    Self Edge is one of the best denim shops in the world… period. If you ever need any repairs done, either visit one of their locations or have them mailed, it’s well worth the price.

  6. […] was very excited to find this article about darning denim (from ajchen.com) at Self Edge NYC. I didn’t even realise this was something that was possible. I have a pair […]

  7. What is the cost to repair holes?

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