Q: I would like advice on how best to reinforce jeans while sewing them from scratch. I’ve patched my favorite jeans in the inner thigh area and want to include patches on jeans I’m making before assembling them. I have a rough idea of the area I’d like to reinforce based on my recent mending, but is there a best practice for determining the shape of the reinforcement piece? Since the jeans aren’t fully sewn yet, it seems like an opportunity to include reinforcement with finer finishes and less visibility than is possible with after-the-fact mending.
—Rachel G. Wells, Cincinnati, Ohio
A : We asked Jennifer Stern-Hasemann of JStern Designs.com, who has been designing and sewing jeans for more than 20 years. She says: After reading the question, I went into overdrive in my head to think of the best way to add an “invisible” patch on new jeans by incorporating it into the seams. My initial idea was to create an elongated front pocket bag that can be attached to the inseam, but that doesn’t really help protect the back thigh. Fabric can be added to the garment’s interior and attached at the inseam and side seams, but I think that might be overkill. You’ll be adding a lot of extra fabric, and if you bind the patch edges—though it would be a nice finish—you’ll create more bulk than might be comfortable to wear.
The simple solution I suggest is to fuse a patch of denim to the wrong side of the fabric. I recommend working with Mistyfuse (RiversideFabrics.com), an ultralight fusible web. Cut a patch to cover the area that receives the most wear. Place the fusible on the patch’s right side, and fuse the patch with its right…