Denim Therapy for your disintegrating jeans
Clothes and I have a complicated relationship. As much as I love them, I rarely buy them. For whatever reason I just really have trouble making myself buy them for full retail and most of the time I’m too lazy to go deal-hunting. The end result of that is, when I find something I love I wear it until it’s literally in shreds. This becomes a problem when they wear out.
Possibly my favorite jeans ever are an ancient pair of J.Crew Matchsticks. I found them in my local consignment shop and they fit perfectly. And when I say perfect, I mean that. The rise wasn’t too high, they fit in the hips and the waist – they were even the perfect length! That never happens. I don’t remember exactly how long ago that was, but it’s been at least 3 years. They’ve gotten to that point where they’ve got creases in all the right spots and some sick fades (as the raw denim community would say). That’s also about the time when the fabric at the inner thigh started wearing thin. They’re still perfect otherwise, so I was a little bit miffed. J.Crew still makes the matchstick style but not in the same fabric and wash, so buying a new pair wasn’t a good option. I read up on options for repairing them, and the internet says darning is the preferred method for worn-out spots in denim. If the internet says it, it must be true. I had decent success at darning a hole in the armpit of my favorite black cardigan (are we seeing a pattern here?) so I decided to have a crack at trying it on jeans.
Luckily I decided to test my mad darning skillz on my second-favorite jeans (the Joe’s Jeans pictured above) since they were suffering the same fate. They were just at the point where you could see the weft yarn, like this:
I’m glad I didn’t dive straight into repairs on my Matchsticks though, because it was basically a massacre. This is what happened:
Ummm, nope. That’s about the point when I started to consider getting professional help. I had seen Denim Therapy mentioned in a few places on the internet, so I decided to test them out. I mean come on, they couldn’t do much worse than I did.
I wish I had taken a photo of the J.Crew pants before I sent them in for repair, but at the time I was mainly worried about getting them back on my tush. They were in a slightly worse state than the Joe’s pair, though.
How the whole thing works is this:
- You print a label from their website and send in your jeans; the shipping cost gets included in your round-trip shipping.
- They take a look and tell you how much the repair will cost. Their services page says it’s $4.50 per half-inch for hole repair and reinforcement, which seems right based on what I paid.
- You pay online and they start the work.
- They match the threads, repair them and send them back.
They use the darning method too, but they’re much more skillful at it than I am. They put a cotton gauze patch on the inside to use as a base and stitch over that. The gauze is really thin and light so you don’t feel it when you wear the pants. From the inside, it looks like this:
From the outside it looks exactly like regular jeans material. I was pretty impressed with how well they matched the threads – that’s a faded area, obviously, and the reinforced part blends right in. These are the repaired jeans from the outside:
They still have the broken-in look, but no impending wardrobe malfunctions. The fabric feels ever-so-slightly stiffer in the reinforced area, but not chafe-y or uncomfortable at all. It’s just like having my old jeans back.
The pair I sent them ended up being $54 + shipping to fix (I only had the Matchsticks done). I know that seems completely extravagant just to get a pair of jeans fixed, but I’m looking at it like this. Say I go buy a new pair of the same style – it’s going to cost at least $85 (assuming they’re doing a 25% off sale), maybe up to $115 for full price. So it ends up being at least slightly cheaper than replacing them. The more important thing to me is that I don’t want similar jeans, I want my jeans. There’s no guarantee that the cut and sizing have stayed exactly the same since I got these so long ago, and they definitely wouldn’t have that old-comfy-jeans feel. Plus I like the idea of repairing something instead of just tossing it to get a new one – it’s sad that the thought seems quaint and old-timey, but that’s a discussion for another day.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m completely thrilled at how they turned out! All told it took about a month between when I sent them in and when I got them back (so don’t send all your jeans at once, is what I’m saying) but the price and the wait were totally worth it. It’s been about 4 months since they got back, and they’re holding up beautifully. I’ll definitely be sending my Joe’s jeans for a visit at some point.
You can send your favorite jeans to get resurrected at Denim Therapy (referral link – you’ll get 7 Denim Dollars on your first order and so will I).