Here are two ways for patching jeans when the objective is “cute” rather than “wow, you can hardly tell.”
The first is a type of applique, which is a fancy French word for “sewing a piece of material on top of another.” You can put a patch on just for decoration, or to actually cover up a real hole.
Cut a shape from some scrap fabric. Use pinking shears if you have them, but don’t stress if you don’t. Nothing terrible will happen.
If you’re covering a hole, use strateegery to position the shape over the hole. Or if the patch is for decoration, put it wherever you’d like. Are you the kind that likes straight lines? Or are you the type to put your patch at a rakish angle? Pin the patch to hold it in place.
Sew the patch on by covering the cut edge with zigzag stitching. The Damsel likes to set the sewing machine to a relaxed satin stitch. For this, you set the zigzag wide and the stitch length short. The shorter the stitch length, the closer the zigs and zags will be to each other, and thus will be more satin-stitch-like. Please leave a comment if you need help figuring that out. Or if you just want to chat about zigzag stitches. It’s a fascinating topic.
The hardest part is maneuvering the item under the sewing machine. If it’s a pants leg, it can be hard to reach all the way around the patch. The Damsel sewed half way around and then started back at the top to do the other side. Some items will be impossible to do on the machine and would have to be patched by hand. The Damsel quails at the thought.
The second method is the similar, except that it is “reverse applique,” which means you have a larger piece underneath the hole, and the hole itself is cut into the decorative shape instead of the patch.
Draw a shape around the offending hole, and cut out. Don’t stress. We’re going for the “rustic look.”
Cut out a rectangle of scrap fabric that is plenty bigger than the cutout and pin it in place behind the cutout. The jeans are right side out at this point.
Zigzag the cut edge as before. Take that pin out before you run over it, Sally!
Turn to the wrong side, and trim the extra scrap fabric outside the sewing line.
Aw, now, who doesn’t want a giant heart on their knee?
Extra points to the reader who notices that the “reverse applique” patch is essentially the same method that was used here, except the hole wasn’t cut into a decorative shape, but was just zigzagged all over for strength.