When you think of decorating and crafts blogs, you usually think of cute DIY projects like painting and reupholstering Queen Anne chairs or adding fabric borders to towels. But sometimes, even the most ardent DIYer has to do something more mundane, like fix the bottom of a sagging drawer or, in this case, patch boys’ pants.
Although I occasionally question whether it’s worth the time and energy, I like to patch my boys’ pants with torn knees, rather than donate or trash them. If you have little boys – and we have three – you will know that those knees can wear through while the rest of the pants are still in perfect condition. And with three brothers, I know that each pair could get a lot of use, if I just patch up those knees.
This is a job I always save up until I have a pile, so it’s rather impressive-looking when done. One time, I took a picture of a pile of patched pants and posted it on Facebook. One of my friends commented that the result was “eco-chic,” and it inspired me to keep going. I started out using plain iron-on patches, but there are many with great patterns, too, like these camouflage patches or these bandana-patterned patches. I’m also planning on making some myself with fun heavy-duty fabrics and some iron-on adhesive like Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold.
How to patch pants
This is not at all complicated to do, but it does take a little patience. Although the instructions say that you can just iron on the patches, ours did not hold up that way, so I sew around the border.
Cut the patch about an inch larger than your hole.
Iron it over the hole according to the instructions.
Here’s the sewing part – gather the bottom of the pant leg until you reach the patch. Slip the patched area under the sewing machine foot. Sew a zig-zag stitch with short stitch length around the edge of the patch.
It takes some practice, but I’ve got the hang of it now. I have trouble with anything smaller than 3T or with skinny pants, as it’s too hard to gather up the leg and sew just the patch without catching other parts of the fabric.
From pants to shorts
The final step in the evolution of our boys’ pants happens when the knees are ripped all the way across or there are just too many patches on a knee. Then, I just cut the pants across at the knee, fold up a hem, and sew them to make shorts!
As usual when it comes to clothing, it seems like the options for girls are even greater and better. Think heart-shaped patches, stars, ruffles, and more. Here’s an example from SFEnvironment, where there are many more great ideas for kids and adults.
A funny aside – I noticed that it is almost always the left knee that gets worn out before the right on my boys’ pants. I think it has to do with being right-side dominant and dragging your left knee when you get up from the ground, but it is still rather remarkable!
Hope to get back to something more glamorous soon!