Denim Repair FAQ's

Can denim be repaired?

Denim is a durable and versatile fabric making it well-suited for repair, here are some typical examples of denim repair.

1. Patching: Patching is a common repair technique used to fix holes or worn-out areas in denim. It involves sewing a fabric patch onto the damaged area, either on the inside or outside of the jeans, to reinforce and cover the affected area.

2. Darning: Darning is a specialized technique used to repair holes or thinning areas in denim. It involves weaving new threads into the fabric, either by hand or using a sewing machine, to create a seamless repair that reinforces the damaged area. We use a vintage Singer 47w70 darning machine to carry out all repairs at URAHARA.

3. Reinforcing Weak Areas: Over time, certain areas of jeans, such as the crotch, pockets, or belt loops, may become weakened or prone to tearing. Reinforcing these areas with additional stitching or fabric patches can help prevent further damage and extend the life of the jeans.

4. Fixing Ripped Seams: Seams can sometimes come undone or rip in denim jeans. Repairing ripped seams involves re-stitching the seam using a sewing machine or hand-sewing techniques to restore the integrity of the jeans.

5. Button and Rivet Replacement: Buttons and rivets on jeans can become loose or break over time. Replacing these hardware components involves removing the old button or rivet and attaching a new one securely to ensure the functionality and aesthetics of the jeans.

6. Hemming: Hemming is a common alteration in denim where the length of the jeans is adjusted. It can be done through various methods, including traditional hemming, chain stitch hemming, or original hemming, depending on the desired look and the equipment available. We use a vintage Union Special 43200g chain stitch hemming machine at URAHARA.

It's important to note that the success and outcome of denim repairs depend on factors such as the extent of damage, the condition of the fabric, and the skills of the person performing the repairs. For complex repairs or when in doubt, it's advisable to seek the expertise of professional denim repair services or tailors experienced in working with denim.

What is darning?

Darning is a sewing technique used to repair holes or worn areas in fabric. In denim repair, darning is a specialized technique used to reinforce and repair damaged areas in the fabric. The process involves weaving new threads into the existing fabric using a darning sewing machine, creating a seamless repair that blends in with the surrounding fabric.

A darning sewing machine, also known as a free-motion embroidery machine or a darning foot, is a specialized sewing machine that allows the operator to move the fabric freely while sewing. This makes it possible to create intricate patterns and weaves in the fabric, allowing for a seamless and visually appealing repair.

To carry out darning repairs on denim, the damaged area can be stabilized with a patch or stabilizer to prevent further tearing or damage althought it is not necessary. The darning machine operator then threads the machine with a thread that matches the color and thickness of the existing fabric and starts weaving the new threads into the damaged area.

The weaving pattern depends on the extent and location of the damage, and the desired outcome. For example, in the case of a small hole, the operator may use a simple back-and-forth stitch to fill in the hole, while for a larger worn-out area, a more complex weave pattern may be used to reinforce the fabric and create a seamless repair.

Darning can be a time-consuming process that requires a high level of skill and attention to detail. However, when done correctly, it can be an effective way to repair damaged denim and extend the life of your favorite jeans.

How do you repair denim with a sewing machine?

We use a super rare, vintage Singer 47W70 darning machine to carry out all repairs at URAHARA. It is a specialized sewing machine designed specifically for darning and repairing fabrics, including denim.

The Singer 47W70 is a single-needle, drop-feed machine that operates with a free-motion embroidery mechanism. It allows the operator to move the fabric freely in any direction while stitching, enabling precise control and flexibility in darning and other repair work.

This also means that repairs can be made without the use of a patch. Essentially 'recreating' the fabric by emulating the warp and weft weave. The resulting repair is typically stronger, more comfortable for the wearer and is as close to invisible as possible by matching the thread colour to the worn area of the jeans.

The Singer 47W70 is known for its durability and reliability, making it a sought-after machine among sewing enthusiasts and professionals specializing in fabric repair, including denim darning.

What is hemming?

Hemming is a sewing technique used to finish the edge of a fabric, typically the bottom edge of a garment or a fabric panel. It involves folding the raw edge of the fabric and securing it in place with stitching to create a neat and finished appearance.

In the context of jeans and denim, hemming refers specifically to adjusting the length of the jeans by shortening or lengthening the bottom edge. Hemming is done to ensure the jeans are the desired length for the wearer.

What is chainstitch?

Chainstitch is a type of stitching used in sewing, particularly in the context of denim garments like jeans. It is characterized by a distinctive chain-like appearance created by interlocking loops of thread.

In chainstitching, the needle passes through the fabric, creating a loop of thread on the underside. As the needle is pulled through the fabric, the loop is interlocked with the previous stitch, forming a chain-like pattern on the fabric's surface.

Chainstitching can be done using a regular sewing machine or a specialized chainstitch machine. In the case of denim jeans, chainstitching is often used for hemming the bottom edge of the jeans, creating a unique roping effect at the hem.

What is a union special chainstitch machine?

A Union Special chainstitch machine is a type of sewing machine manufactured by the Union Special company whos history dates back to 1881 operating out of Chicago, Illinois. Union Special is highly regarded for producing high-quality machines, including those specifically designed for chainstitching.

The Union Special 43200G is highly regarded by denim enthusiasts and manufacturers for its ability to create the distinctive chainstitch used in hemming jeans and has been used by iconic denim brands such as Levi's, Lee, Wrangler & Carhartt since the early 20th century.

With the Japanese denim industry boom in the early 80's the Union Special 43200g became highly sortafter as the Japanese went to extreme lengths to create the perfect pair of jeans with extreme attention to detail and the heritage of Levi's etc.

The Union Special 43200g is an extremely rare machine with only a handful operating around the world in denim manufacturing facilities and specialty denim retail stores. A well maintained, original machine can sell for anywhere above $5000USD.

What are the sustainability benefits of repairing jeans?

Every 10 minutes, about 6,000kg of textiles are dumped in landfill in Australia.
Experts agree that a circular economy, in which textiles are repaired, reused or recycled, is critical to combat the issue.

At URAHARA, our denim repair service has been operating since day one and is essential to our business. We offer free repairs for life on all jeans purchased at the store to encourage customers to make smarter purchasing decisions around well made jeans. All of the jeans at our store are made from 100% cotton and as such are easier to repair due to the rigidness and softness of cotton.

Globally, companies such as Patagonia and Nudie are also on board the campaign to repair, recycle and re-use their clothing.

Is stretch denim bad for the environment?

The synthetic materials used in the production of stretch garments, such as elastane (Spandex, Lycra etc) as well as polyester and other synthetic blends, have significant negative environmental impacts.

These materials are derived from fossil fuels, which depletes finite resources and contributes to environmental strain. The production process of these fibers releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, further exacerbating environmental issues.

In general, it is estimated that these synthetic materials can persist in the environment for hundreds of years or even longer.

Additionally, the washing of garments made from these synthetic fabrics poses a threat. Microfibers, minuscule pieces of plastic, are released into water streams during washing, causing harm to marine life and ecosystems.

The recycling of synthetic blended fabrics is also challenging due to the limited technologies available in textile recycling plants. As a result, garments made from these materials often end up in landfills where they contribute to the emission of methane gases as plastic-based fabrics break down. Alternatively, unsold stock may be incinerated, releasing toxic fumes.

In summary, the use of synthetic materials in stretch garments presents multiple environmental concerns, including resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, microfiber pollution, and limited recycling options. Addressing these issues is crucial for the sustainable future of the fashion industry.

What is the typical turnaround on a denim repair?

We are currently repairing jeans in-store at URAHARA on Monday's and Thursday's.
This means that jeans received at the store before those days will be ready to pick up or deliver by the close of business on those days.

This is the fastest denim repair turnaround in Australia and as such we are often repairing jeans for other companies.

As the demand increases we will operate the denim repair service on more days.

All denim repair is carried out by either Nanaka or Martin who have over 15 years of collective experience specializing in denim repair.

What thread is used for denim repair?

We use 100% cotton thread for all repairs carried out and typically source our thread from Japanese or German thread companies such as Gutermann or UJYO.