“Eco-chic” – The Evolution of Pants

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.

Patch your kids' pants with fun fabrics for an eco-friendly fashion statement.  By Jewels at Home.

Patch your kids’ pants with fun fabrics for an eco-friendly fashion statement.

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.


How to patch kids' pants.  From Jewels at Home.

To sew around the patch, start by gathering up the pant leg.


How to patch kids' pants.  From Jewels at Home.

After gathering up the pant leg, pull the gathers to one side, so the patched area is exposed, without any other parts of the pants under it, and slip it under the foot of your sewing machine.


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!

Turn worn-out pants into short for an eco-friendly solution for kids.  By Jewels at Home.

Turn worn-out pants into short for an eco-friendly solution for kids.

Got Girls?

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.

patched pants

Fun patched pants from SF Environment.

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!

Patch your kids' pants in fun fabrics for a "green" fashion statement.  By Jewels at Home.

Making a “green” fashion statement.

Hope to get back to something more glamorous soon!