Friday, March 14, 2014

Patching Little Boys' Pants

My friend Christy asked me to show her how to patch little boys' pants. How often do we get to share our skills and methods with our friends, beyond sharing recipes?  This was so enjoyable.  While our kids ran around together, Christy and I sat down at my machine and I showed her what I do.  There are other ways to patch pants, mostly considered more "correct" than my method, but my foundation for this casual tutorial is that I have been patching pants into longevity for several years now.

This is what I showed Christy:

I unpick the side seam of the holey pant leg so I can fit the holey area under my sewing machine needle.  I put a rectangle cut from flannel or other soft fabric under the hole, wrong side of pants.  I stitch it down, being sure to stitch through the hole a few times.  Then, on top of the hole, I put a patch that will be visible when the pants are on the child.  Sometimes I use a pinking shears or a tight zig-zag stitch on the raw edges.  I stitch the patch down in some manner, again being sure to go over top of the hole at least once, connecting the weak places to the strong new fabric. Then, I sew up the side seam that I unpicked.  Done!

The way Christy attached the underneath patch gave me an idea for a holey knee in Ben's jeans.  I used navy thread and just sewed back and forth in somewhat horizontal lines, attaching a denim patch that was under the hole.  I love this look!  I will definitely use this for adult pants.

Sunday on top, playtime on bottom (lunch on shirt)
I also tried another idea on these jeans.  They had two flat-fell seams on each leg (most pants have at least one regular seam). It's not worth my time to tediously unpick a flat-fell seam!  So, instead, to reduce the bagginess and get to the holey knees, I just cut out the interior leg seams in a big U!  After I patched the knees, I sewed up the seams like normal, not flat-felling them.

Next up:  a visit to Christy's house so she can tutor and coax me through the socks I started knitting 2 years ago.  Hooray for friends with skills!


Dianna said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I love seeing how others fix things! I do mine in a similar way, except I don't reinforce the hole first, I just put a huge patch over it and sew it into the side seam when I'm done. I usually patch the opposite knee too even if it hasn't worn through yet, because I know it will soon!

I love how you sewed on top of the hole. It looks good!

BLD in MT said...

How wonderful to share your skills and strengthen each of your household's resourcefulness! And have fun with friends, too! How cool is that?!

jenny_o said...

I'm sitting here wondering why I've never patched the knees on a pair of jeans. The answer is that we've never worn jeans much in our family. My children didn't like the stiffness of them, so they wore sweatsuits most of the time - this was in the eighties when everyone was wearing sweat suits, everywhere, it seems. And my husband and I never wore out the knees in anything, except ourselves :)

But I do like to see how to do it. Never would have thought to unpick the seam to make it possible to use the sewing machine!

Sharing skills is such a good thing to do.

Jennifer Jo said...

And I was just chatting with Christy's sister this morning!

Unknown said...

I just did 7 pairs of pants a couple weeks ago. This week one of the pants came through the wash, and guess what, the patch had a whole in it!!! Agh - well, it's warming up so I'm not as strict about patching pants in the warm weather ; )

Shauna said...

I am in the midst of doing the same thing, the pair I was working on yesterday also happened to have 2 flat felled seams, but I unpicked it anyways (small jeans-not too long of a seam). I just need to sew the leg back up, didn't get the job done in one sitting. It's funny, I had cut out a purple denim heart patch a few weeks back for my girl's jeans, and looked shortly thereafter at your blog and you also were patching with a heart (I didn't comment at the time)! Good idea to reinforce with a scrap of flannel first, I never thought of that, I might give it a try next time. How nice to sew with a friend!

Hazel said...

Great skills swap :-)

I think the navy stitching on the jeans looks great- I've used that on my children's trousers, sometimes in a random swirly pattern, sometimes in a contrasting colour.

My son had a beloved pair of cut-off shorts which were almost more patch and reinforcing than fabric by the time they were too small!

Zoë said...

I love everything about this...the exchange of skills with friends, the handy tips, and that patch on Ben's knee!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Ben is adorable in the photo... Love the bow tie.
How fun to have a friend to exchange skills with.. Know you two , had lots of fun, and will also have fun with the knitting of socks..

Margo said...

Dianna, what a great idea to sew the patch into the side seam! I will remember that for sturdiness.