Adventures In Visible Mending – My Nirvana Jeans

Have you tried your hand at visible mending yet? Not only is it a fun and fresh way to give your wardrobe a custom feel, but it’s also a beautiful way to mend your old favorites and give them new life. After blowing out the knee of one of my favorite jeans, I decided to patch them using a bit of visible mending and even took the craft one step further by adding embroidered song lyrics and a fun patch to the back celebrating one of my favorite bands of all time: Nirvana. I could not be happier with the end result! Read on to learn all about my adventures in visible mending- Nirvana jeans edition!

I am a huge fan of destructed denim, but there’s a fine line between intentional distressing and busted. I’ve had these jeans for a few years now, and spending most of my days on the floor with my kiddo has definitely taken its toll. The denim came pre-patched (a detail I LOVED) but the right knee eventually blew out completely. I got sick of my foot going through it every time I put them on and figured it was time to do something about it!

I was first introduced to visible mending on Instagram. The customized look and well-loved feel it creates for the garment is so special and creative, I knew I had to try my hand at it! Since I’m a total beginner, I decided to start with a simple, grid-like design to patch the hole. When going through my embroidery kit, I also came across this Nirvana patch a friend had gifted me and it felt like kismet. I then dug out a similarly colored yellow thread and got to work.

I started by using my seam ripper to remove the damaged patch at the knee. Since the original patch was getting thread-bare, I decided to sew it on top of a new piece of lightweight denim to make it more durable. I then used pinking shears to prevent fraying at the edges and pinned them in place.

Once the patch was placed how I wanted it, I used a ruler and chalk pen to mark vertical and horizontal lines all placed 1/2″ apart, creating a grid-like layout.

To get the cross stitches, I inserted and exited my needle in a running stitch along the areas where the perpendicular lines met. I first made my way horizontally, then I worked my running stitches vertically. It took a little while to complete because my embroidery needle had a tough time breaking through, but I managed. Thankfully, I have a leather thimble that covers the majority of my finger, so I could really grip the needle to pull it through without putting too much pressure on my fingertip. This is the finished result:

As much as I love the look, I wanted a little something extra to make the jeans more of a statement piece. I was given this Nirvana patch (similar here) from a friend years ago and could never quite find the right way to display it. Next, it was time to add a little spice!

As much as I liked this pocket hole, it had to go. I was getting tired of my lipstick and keys falling through it. So, I used the patch to partially cover it up. It’s still a fun feature and I love it even more now!

Then I thought “why should only one of my ass cheeks have all the fun?” and decided to add a little decorative embroidery to the other. I chose to add the title to my favorite Nirvana song, Come As You Are, in a retro-looking font to help finish off the refashion. I loved the end result so much, I obviously couldn’t be bothered to wipe off the remaining washable pen I used to outline my design, haha! Oh well, they’ll be good as new after a roll in the washing machine.

What I like best about the mending isn’t so much that now my jeans are more comfortable, and therefore, more wearable (which they are) but they feel so much more personalized now. I have yet to make my own pair of jeans, but these small touches make them one-of-a-kind and that’s exactly the look and vibe I was going for. I couldn’t be happier with the finished result!

I’m really excited to learn more about visible mending for other garments in the future. I love the unique design element it adds, and how it gives my clothing a second life while still staying in my closet. The sustainability factor is also a huge added bonus!

Have you tried visible mending on your clothing? I’d love to hear any tips and tricks you could share, or any ideas you have for upcoming projects you’d like to try!

Happy Making!



*This post contains affiliate links. Learn more here

4 thoughts on “Adventures In Visible Mending – My Nirvana Jeans

  1. These jeans are seriously toooo cute! I absolutely just love em! & you’re super funny talk’n bout why your 1 ass cheek should have all the fun! LOL!! But I’m really curious how you did the letters on ass cheek #2 lol ?? You said they’re decorative embroidery but I’m new at all this -so is that like an embroidered iron -on patch maybe? Either way your NEW Nirvana jeans are fantastic – Kurt would’ve loved your creativity!

    1. Thank you so much, Antonette! To do the embroidery on the other side of my peach (🍑 lol!) I first went into Canva to create a simple design for the text. If you’ve never used it before, is a free site that’s kind of like photoshop for dummies (i.e. ME!) So I typed out the lyrics in the font I liked best and printed it. Then I traced it onto an embroidery transfer paper that I got from JoAnn’s and ironed it onto my jeans pocket. Then I simply stitched along the pattern until I got my custom embroidered song lyrics using a simple up + down stitch. It wasn’t hard but it was time consuming! I’m also very new to embroidery, so if I could do it, then you’ve definitely got this! I hope that helps, but please feel free to let me know if you have any more questions!

Leave a Reply