Rivets are the metal fasteners found in jeans, usually at the corners of the pockets and the sides, to hold the fabric together where it is too thick to sew on a thread. These are usually fastened using a machine and is a bit difficult to remove, but it is possible.
When jeans need to be repaired or resized, the rivets need to be removed and adjusted as well. When repairing jeans at home, only common tools are needed: flat head screwdriver, pliers (preferably long nose), scissors or cutting pliers, and a drill with a small drill bit.
There are several ways to remove the rivets from the jeans without ruining the cloth.
- Pull the jeans inside out so that the wrong side is exposed. Place the jeans on a flat surface. Using the flat head screwdriver, place the flat tip on the side of the tail part of the rivet, and try to insert the tip through the sides so the flat tip of the screwdriver is in between the rivet and the cloth. Raise the screwdriver so that the tail part of the rivet is bent and separated from the cloth.
- Use the pliers to press the bent tail, until it is perpendicular to the table. The rivet can now be pulled off from the head since the tail has been straightened.
- Another option to number 2 above is to use a pair of cutting pliers after the rivet tail has been bent, and cut out the tail completely. This will make the tail fall off. The head part of the rivet can be pulled off by using the pliers and pulling on the cloth to remove the rivet completely.
- Another option is to use a drill and a small drill bit, and drill directly on the center of the rivet head, so that the sides will be detached from the center, and the tail part of the rivet can be pulled out using a flat head screwdriver while the cloth is pulled the other way. Make sure that the drill is used properly to avoid damaging the cloth. In this case, it will be advisable to have two people do the work: one holds the jeans in place, and the other one hold and uses the drill. This makes sure that when the drill bit touches the metal rivet, the jeans will stay in place and will not move.
It is best to try removing rivets with the simpler tools first. The drill is advisable for nipple rivets, but can also be used on other types of rivets, but has greater risk of damaging the cloth.
It is good to do things at home since having jeans repaired in tailor shops can cost as much as a new pair of jeans, especially if the repair needs a lot of adjustments. Keep a stock of rivets at home since putting them on sometimes needs some practice before it fits right to the jeans.