The Complete Guide to Renewing Your Old Jeans Easily

How to renew jeans
Photo: Tamara Bellis / Unsplash

We all have a favorite pair of jeans that we wear again and again. They fit perfectly, look amazing, and we feel incredible in them. But naturally, after a lot of wear, jeans will fade, rip, and tear. 

But don’t fret! You don’t have to chuck out your favorite pair of jeans, as there are things that you can do to make them look as good as new. Let’s look at how to renew jeans and our top tips on giving your favorite pair a refresh.

How To Renew Old Jeans?

According to a recent study conducted by Samsung KX, 60% of young people are set ditching fast fashion for a more eco-friendly way of living. A great way of changing the way we consume fashion is to renew and repair old clothes. 

But, how do we do this? 

Thankfully, renewing old jeans is not as hard as you might think! A quick trip to the haberdashery store will provide everything you need to mend tears. So, before tearing your jeans apart and repurposing them into some accessories, have a look at the options below.

How To Renew Ripped Jeans

The easiest way of repairing ripped jeans is hand stitching them. All you need is a pair of scissors and a needle and thread. This method is best for a simple tear where no fabric is lost. Try to find a thread that is a similar color to the jeans for the fix to be hidden. The thread must be strong and sturdy, and I actually will sometimes use embroidery thread when fixing jeans, as it is a thicker thread and less likely to snap or break.

Firstly, turn your jeans inside out and run a loose tack stitch along the tear. A tack stick is a temporary way of holding the material in place in order for you to sew the right places together! 

Then, stitch in a straight line up the tear, making sure you leave a little gap away from the frayed edges. You don’t need to be excellent at stitching, as the fabric is held in the correct position from the tacking. It just needs to be fairly neat and not too loose! 

A simple running stitch is fine when sewing up a tear.

I would recommend adding a second running stitch very close to the first before you tie up the thread. When you get to the end of the tear, simply turn around and go back along the first stitch till you get to where you started. It gives the repair an extra layer of strength, meaning it will hold longer. 

When you have finished, securely tie the thread and take away the tack stitch. 

How To Renew Teared Jeans 

If the tear in your jeans is particularly big, you may find that the simple method of sewing up the fabric is not enough to solve the issue. Thankfully, adding a fabric patch is pretty easy and will give your jeans a tough fix that will last a long time. 

You might have scraps of fabric around the house, but if not, you can pick them up pretty cheaply in stores. Make sure the fabric is sturdy, and try to get it to match as best you can with the color of your jeans

Take a patch of your chosen fabric and place it behind the tear in your jeans. Tack stitch the fabric in place, with the two sides of the tear as close together as possible.

Then, carefully sew the edges of the jeans together and onto the fabric patch. Take the needle through the denim on one side, through the fabric patch, and then through the denim on the other side of the tear. Carry on sewing up the tear this way, always starting on the same side of the tear in the whip stitch method. 

How To Restore Jeans Color?

Because we tend to wear our favorite pair of jeans all the time, they may suffer from fading. Your perfectly black pair of black jeans might start to look a little bit gray after a while, and you might be thinking that it is time to throw them out and get a new pair. 

But, restoring jean color is actually super easy, cheap, and effective. With the suitable dye, your favorite pair of jeans will look brand new again! 

How To Renew Black Jeans

All you need to renew faded black jeans is a bucket, dye, and a pair of rubber gloves. You can purchase black fabric dye from a range of online and craft stores. Some bottles are available for as little as 3 dollars. Rit dye is pretty popular online, with great reviews and amazing results. Make sure you weigh your jeans before buying your dye to know how much you will need! 

Firstly, fill a bucket full of hot (not boiling) water. Around 3 gallons of water is normally enough for dying jeans but check the instructions of the dye you have bought to know the exact amount. 

You then need to add the dye to the water, stirring it thoroughly with a wooden spoon to mix it properly with the water. After this step, add half a cup of salt and, again, stir thoroughly until it is all dissolved. The salt will help the dye attach to the denim, creating a long-lasting and restored dye. 

When the water, dye, and salt are well mixed, carefully place your jeans into the bucket. Using the wooden spoon, stir the jeans in the dye slightly to make sure the dye is distributed evenly. 

Leave the jeans in the dye for around half an hour, moving them occasionally with your gloves or wooden spoon. After half an hour, take the jeans out of the bucket and wring out as much water as possible. Then, place them in a sink and run cool water over them, allowing all the excess dye to be released from the fabric. When the water runs clear, place the jeans in your washing machine. Run it on a gentle cycle with a little bit of detergent in. 

Leave the jeans out to air dry, and there you have it! Your black jeans are looking brand new again! 

How To Renew Jeans Color 

The method above is not limited to just black jeans, either. You can pick up fabric dye in a whole range of colors, and there are blue dyes created specifically for dying denim. If you have blue or white jeans that need dying, follow the dying process mentioned above, but with the correct color dye instead of black. 

How To Extend Jeans Length?

Jeans tend to shrink after washing and drying (especially in higher temperatures). There are a few different ways to extend the length of your jeans, and it all depends on what you want from your jeans and how confident you are with a sewing machine. If you feel particularly creative and have an afternoon spare, you can add a fabric trim to your pair of jeans. This adds a bit of DIY intrigue to your outfit, but it does take a bit of effort.  

However, there is a brilliant cheat to extend jeans length that can be done in five minutes! The majority of jeans you buy will be turned up and hemmed, and this is a few inches of fabric that can be unpicked and added to the length of your jeans.

Using a thread unpicker, carefully remove the stitching on the turn-up of your jeans. Then, unfold the hem and use an iron to flatten the hem downwards. This adds a good few inches to your jean length and also looks pretty DIY and funky!  


Here are some FAQs you might have about renewing your old jeans.

How Do You Make Old Jeans Look New Again?

The best way of making your old jeans look new again is by using fabric dye. Dying jeans will restore them to their original color, making them look brand new.

How Can I Restore My Faded Black Jeans Without Dye?

If you don’t want to use dye to restore your faded back jeans, you can use a mixture of vinegar and salt to renew them. Instant coffee can also be used to add a bit of black to your old jeans. Of course, these methods aren’t as effective as using proper fabric dye, but many people online swear by them!

What Can I Do With Old Faded Jeans?

Old faded jeans can be revived by using fabric dye to add color to the material. If your faded jeans are beyond repair, however, don’t throw them out, as you can use the fabric to fix or accessorize other clothing items!

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