Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mending made fun - a mini tutorial

 As much as I enjoy sewing, I really don't like mending.

But recently we've had an epidemic of holes-in-knees, to the point where children we running out of jeans-options in their wardrobes.  I really didn't like the thought of buying replacements - especially for the youngest of each gender - just to get us through the last few months of pants-weather.
So here is what I came up with.
Start with the iron-on Dritz patches.
I discovered if all you do is iron them on, they fall right off.
Plus, rectangles are kind of boring.
This is the solution.  I cut out some hearts.
Then ironed, then stitched. 
(Plus, stitching and embellishments on jeans are so 'in' right now.
Think how cool and chic your kids will be.)
I used a heavier-weight DMC thread, a heavy-duty needle and a thimble.
Because it's a little tricky stitching something in the middle of a pant leg, I suggest rolling the pants up to the knee first. (I know that sounds pretty obvious, but it took me three pant legs to figure that one out, so I thought I'd pass it on, just in case.)  It's also pretty hard to work from the inside of the pant leg, so stick your needle through and pull from the top. (See picture.)  It's tough stitching through that many layers, which is why I strongly suggest a thimble.  A little rubber grip to pull your needle, wouldn't be a bad idea either.
Here's another option.  (Actually this was the first one I tried.) This time I used the boring rectangle, but I embellished with a little wool heart.  The wool is easy to tack-down and came through the wash beautifully.

Hope that helps anyone out there having an epidemic of their own! I will admit that these patches are kind of 'girly' and I haven't really come up with a good option for my boys. Feel free to share any favorite (or improved) mending tips of your own. My other hurdle is holes in knits (jersey) fabric. Any brilliant suggestions?


  1. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing.
    Hmm for boys you could do stars or skull and cross bones.
    A splash type shape, like as if there was mud on his pants hehe.
    Off to mend my jeans now =D

  2. Mending is just not my thing either! Don't like it and never will. It is always the last thing I do. You are right, those patches don't stay on by just ironing them. You came up with a perfect solution. Okay, ideas for other rips for the boys... you do know that people pay big bucks now for pre-ripped jeans... LOL! So you are there already.

  3. Good suggestions so far! What about a bull's eye patch for your boys? Of course, I don't know how old they are, and that makes a huge difference, too! Have fun patching! :)

  4. Great idea! I am sure that this will save a lot of denim out there!

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Man, I thought I was the only one with an epidemic of knee holes! I was just thinking yesterday that the six year old only has one pair of jeans that can be worn to school. I'll have to try the patches.

  6. Yup, and its's contagious too! Thanks for the tip and the nudge!!! Blessings,


  7. Okay, don't laugh... but I mended a pair of my daugthers sweat pants (that had an ink stain)... with underwear (clean & unused of course!)... I blogged it here:

  8. Man, I totally mended like 18 pairs of jeans this week. It was mending week in the neighborhood and I apparently am the only one with a sewing machine. ..... Anyway, for one of the adult pants I put a patch on the inside of the leg and just stitched over it with white on the outside going back and forth and side to side over and over and over again (owners request.... he brought in a photo to show me what he wanted, like I was going to cut his hair, or something) it looked very intentionally distressed when I was done. But mending small persons jeans is much harder, those little pant legs are just so little!

  9. Those are so cute!

    I am definitely having a hole epidemic, but I have three boys. Would you suggest just keeping them in the rectangle? I don't want them to look girly! :)

  10. how about numbers for boys? like varsity numbers? you know what I'm saying?

  11. That is very cool. Unfortunately it's my husband and my son who usually need the patched jeans and I don't know that they'd appreciate the heart. LOL

  12. Great solution and they turned out so cute!

  13. Great idea! Maybe a football shape and you could stitch the finger grip? Or a truck/car shape? You could stitch little wheels?

    Sure got me thinking :)

  14. What a wonderful idea. Especially the embellishing. Thanks Amy!

  15. Amy, this is absolutely wonderful! I would love to post it on Make it Do one of these days. It doesn't get more Make Do and Mend or darling than this. You're brilliant.

  16. Hmmm.... well it was MY jeans that needed patching recently, so I put the iron-on patch on the inside of the pants. Which left the outside still looking frayed/ripped, which of course now looks totally cool. {whew!} Like you, I still stitched it down (using regular blue thread so it's 'invisible'). Worked like a charm! Might be just the thing for boys... a few 'invisible' patches that let their hard-earned wear & tear shine.

    (Not to mention that it'll be easier for you that way. LOL!)

  17. I love this. It falls in the great minds think alike category I blogged something similar here.
    My girlie busts out knees like no other.

  18. last year, i had a similar problem - but my son wasnt allowed to wear "patched" jeans to i cut the patches into dinosaur and whale shapes...but i wish i had thought to stitch them because like you, just ironing them- they fell right off...these are really cute!

  19. Just in the last couple months I have thrown out several pairs of my 8 yr olds jeans. He has completely blown out the knee. If I had taken your advice a little sooner I could have made some cute patchs and salvaged a few pairs. I hope it warms up soon and he can start wearing shorts, because I am doing laundry like every other day trying to keep him in clean pants for school.

  20. new to your blog! Thanks so much for this! a couple of years ago I had an epidemic of pants that needed mending, I tried (of c ourse to no avail to hide the mending, with iron on butterflys and the works- took FOREVER, this sounds much better! and oh so cute! Thanks!

  21. This was featured today over at Today's Top Twenty! I'd love if you stopped by! :)


  22. My mom takes the inside seam out and lays jeans flat to patch.
    The only problem is that she has mended one pair so many times she doesn't think there was any original fabric left.
    I love your patch idea too.
    Take Care

  23. Try learning French re-weaving or Swiss darning to do your knit jersey fabrics. You'll need a darning mushroom or darning egg. (a small glass or jelly jar with a rounded bottom will work), Matching thread (or some pulled from and edge somewhere) a nice ball point darning needle, good eye glasses and some time to sit and hand sew. You basically stitch around the hole to prevent further un-raveling or tearing, then for a warp and weft with your thread.

    There are videos on Youtube, by Karen, youtube name knitpicks...on how to darn... which is nice since it's pretty much a lost art these days. She shows the technique on a pair of hand knitted socks but the technique can be used on anything.

    Have fun!

  24. Loved this idea! My oldest son had 2 pairs of pants with semi-large to large holes in each leg! I found shapes online that I liked (a star and football for one pair, and a rocket and robot for the other) and printed them to scale, traced the shape onto the patch and went from there. It was so easy and they look SOOO cute! Thanks again for this great idea!!

  25. I was researching quilt mending and found an answer to your jersey problem. Check out this...
    It sounds like a practical solution as well as good looking.
    All kinds of balls will work for your patch patterns, the ball's natural stitching will embelish your outline stitching.

  26. Awesome! That is so cute. Thank you so much for the link. I even pinned it. :)

  27. Excellent idea - and so simple I wonder why I didn't think of doing it... My lovely daughter loves to romp and play pretend being an animal of any sort - cat, dog and horse usually. It leaves her knees threadbare! It doesn't help that it is her enjoyment at recess at school with other like minded girls in her class! I think I will take some bottoms I have cut from previous pants, which are now shorts, and make patches that way. Much better than buying all new pants several times a year!


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