Repairing jeans

Clothmetic surgery: New life for old jeans

Strapped for cash but full of creativity? Whether you’re a beginner or pro upcycler, breathe new life into your old jeans with these easy-to-follow tricks.

Guest blogger Ksenia Rybina shows you how.

What you’ll need

Bleach, sandpaper block, cardboard, razor, very sharp scissors or box cutter.


If this is your first time experimenting with restyling your own garments, we suggest you look for a nice piece in the denim section first, as jeans are the easiest to customise.

If you’re unhappy with the wash of the denim, it can be lightened by up to three shades simply by adding a 3/4 cup of bleach to your regular detergent on a warm/hot washing cycle. However, it’s best to check the care label of your jeans; if it says they are to be washed cold, make sure to follow these instructions. Unless of course, you want to reduce the size of your jeans to Barbie doll proportions and bleach them in one go?

Always remember to wash the jeans on their own while doing this and don’t try to apply the process to very dark dyed denim as it’s likely to turn out patchy.


After bleaching, you can proceed to distress the fabric in order to prepare it for the holes.

  1. Wear the jeans and, while standing, place safety pins to mark the position of your knees on the jeans.
  2. Take the jeans off and rub the area around the safety pin with a sandpaper block until the fabric starts to fray, then make a horizontal cut of 2–3 cm where the safety pin is and tear the hole carefully open. How big you make it is up to you.
  3. You can give it a final touch by fraying the fabric around the slash with a razor blade et voilà, your unique jeans are ready.

This article was written for Again Magazine, created by students from the MA Fashion Journalism course at the London College of Fashion and inspired by the ethos of Love Your Clothes.