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Easy Alterations You Can Do At Home

Easy Alterations You Can Do At Home

You’ve finally found the perfect pair of blue jeans that hug you in all the right places and can hold its shape all day long.  But what do you do when those well-loved jeans start to show too much wear and tear? Before you toss out your beloved blue jeans, consider repurposing them with a few easy alterations you can do at home that are sure to add new life to your old, worn-out jeans.  

Easy At Home Alterations 

As an active mom who enjoys playing outside or on the floor with my kids, I found that my favorite Levi’s jeans would wear out quickly especially in the knees. At first, my slightly torn jeans were still stylish and trendy but after a while, the tears began to look messy and worn out. I hated to part with my BFF jeans but if I didn’t do something quickly, I knew they were destined for the trash. With a little creativity and some beginner sewing skills, I was able to rescue my favorite blue jeans by creatively refashioning them. Today I’m excited to share with you some easy alterations you can do at home to repurpose your worn-out or ripped jeans to keep them trendy and wearable.  

Decorative Additions

  • Ready-made patches have come a long way from the old days when a patch wasn’t a stylish embellishment added to your clothing but rather a practical way to fix a rip or tear. Today, ready-made patches come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes making them much more versatile and stylish than before. Whether they are iron on or sewn on, patches can add a custom embellishment to any pair of jeans. Ready-made patches are also very easy to use, requiring only an iron or in some cases basic sewing skills to fix the problem.  


  • DIY-painted fabric patches are the ultimate custom-made patch you can use to alter or fix holes in your clothes. Trace a design onto sturdy fabric, cut it out, sew it over the spot you want to repair, and then use fabric paint to fill in the details. If you are altering your child’s clothes consider adding puffy paint or glitter paint to highlight the design.  
  • A 3-D patch is an easy alteration you can add to any piece of clothing. The extra dimension given from a 3-D patch can really enhance a piece while hiding a flaw. Fabric rolled roses stitched onto jeans or a denim jacket add a romantic feminine touch to clothing. Sequins and rhinestones glued around or over a small stain or tear add a little bling and dimension. 
  • Applique and reverse applique are techniques that bring in pops of color while hiding a flaw. Use a colorful piece of printed cotton fabric or several pieces for a patchwork look then stitch all the way around the perimeter of the fabric to cover up a worn spot on your clothing. With reverse applique the fabric is added from the inside of the clothing allowing for the pattern to be seen through an opening on the outside. A plaid print or even lace applied in reverse applique would look amazing. 


Visible Mending Inspiration 

With ripped and distressed jeans in fashion right now it seems like everyone is wearing the same pre-ripped clothes from the store. To help your wardrobe stand out in the fashion crowd consider adding some fun and colorful visible embellishments around or over the torn or worn-out spots. A little embroidery floss in your favorite color and a sewing needle are all the supplies you need to get started. Here are a few visible alteration ideas that would look great added to your favorite ripped jeans, snagged sweater, or torn tea towel: 

  • Simple running stitches in the Japanese Boro mending technique that combines layers of scrap fabric and running stitches to mend or reinforce textiles creating a simple and beautiful pattern. 
  • A plus sign shape stitched all around the perimeter of a worn-out area adds color and texture. Place a piece of fabric on the inside of your clothing then stitch it in place using this decorative pattern. 
  • Cross stitching, a type of embroidery using x-shaped stitches in a pattern to create an image, adds a boxier shaped, and unique colorful design to your clothing. 
  • Embroidered flowers or leaves over or around worn areas can be adjusted in size to cover or repair these different spots. This alteration is great for adding a little color and design to a plain pair of blue jeans too.  

  • Crocheting a simple design over your ripped jeans with thin cotton yarn is an alteration that creates a very unique style statement.  

Repurposing Alterations 

There comes a time when more serious alterations have to be considered in order to save your favorite piece of clothing, especially jeans. As a petite woman, I find that the pant leg hems on my jeans are prone to fraying, eventually becoming a tattered mess and a tripping hazard. Or, maybe your problem isn’t frayed hems but pants that are too short due to your child hitting a growth spurt or your own jeans that have shrunk over time. Here are a few simple alterations you can do at home to turn those jeans into a stylish new-to you upgrade: 


  • Capris – for pant leg bottoms that are ruined, cut off the lower portion of each pant leg so they are mid-calf length, with the pants inside out, sew on a wide band of lace at the bottom of each leg. To finish, turn the pants right side out and add top-stitching around the edge where the lace meets the denim to finish the alteration.  


  • Denim Skirt – repurpose those unsalvageable jeans and turn them into a stylish skirt. With your blue jeans on measure and mark along the thigh where you want the skirt length to be. Cut off both jean legs at the mark on the thigh and cut the inside crotch seam to open up the leg material. In this opening between the leg sections of the skirt sew or use fabric glue to insert a piece of denim fabric or other cotton print fabric making sure it lines up with the skirt hemline to finish the skirt. 
  • Cutoff Jean Shorts – A serious rescue plan for your favorite Levi jeans is to repurpose them into a cute pair of cutoff shorts. Cut the jean legs at the length you prefer for a simple alteration. Then to crank up the style a notch cut out a small narrow rectangle from each side along the outside seam. Use fabric glue or sew a piece of lace or fabric in a cute print along the inside of the area you just cut out. Throw on some sandals and go rock your new cutoffs! 

  • Leather Cuffs – if the biggest problem you have with your favorite jeans is ripped and worn-out cuffs it’s time for an upgrade. Measure the length and width of leather you need for each cuff then cut the pieces to size. Sew the long ends together with the suede side out then with your jeans inside out stitch the leather cuff to the bottom of the jeans. Turn your jeans right side out, flip the cuffs up, and throw on a pair of heels to show off your trendy pair of blue jeans.  


Adding patches, lace or even decorative stitches is a simple way to repurpose your wardrobe. Anyone can make these easy at-home alterations giving new life to your favorite ripped jeans creating an attention-grabbing stylish new look. Find your next favorite pair of jeans in the Zulily Women’s and Kids department. 

About The Author

Erin Evans

Erin Evans is a seasoned homeschooling mom of four from West Michigan. Her blog, Mommy Suburbia is about family, faith, food and fun with some life adventures sprinkled in. If you are looking for a simple kid’s craft project, homeschool advice, parenting tips or a delicious recipe you are in the right neighborhood!

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