My daughter prefers to play on the floor, so the knees of her pants take a beating. It seems the that the left knee is the first to wear out leaving the rest of the pants in fine condition. I can’t send her to school in pants with holes in the knees. I am sure that the school does not care, but I just can’t do it. Blame the Grandmothers, all of them, on both sides of the family, as many as I can remember personally, and possibly more than that. I can just imagine those disapproving glares if I even thought about it.
So, in an effort to make a knee patch look like something fun to wear, I came up with this solution. I’ll share it with you in case you need to patch some things up.
Wash the article of clothing before you begin. For the knees of jeans I have found it easier to undo the side seam of the pant leg for access to the tear. Getting to the spot to be patched is often the hardest part.
I find a shape that will cover the tear and give some good jeans material around the edges. In this case a heart and a star. I have some quilting templates here, but cookie cutters or any other easy shape will work.
For fun I picked a couple of cotton prints to make the shape stand out. I use a scrap of polar fleece as the actual patch material. It is soft on the knees when playing for hours on the floor. I put the cotton facing out the tear and then the polar fleece behind. I have the patch cover the entire width of the front pant leg piece. This makes it less likely that another blow out will occur in nearly the same spot.
Pin the patch on and stitch around the design. On the star I stitched with a tight zig-zag. With the heart, I did a couple of passes around the shape with a shortened straight stitch and a zig-zag row a bit farther out. Two rows of stitching seem to keep the patch from shifting and make it look more decorative. I then stitched the outside edge of the patch to the pants leg to keep it from flopping around inside the pant leg. Again, the large sized patch helps reenforce the weakened fibers at the worn through knee. Once the shape has been stitched, I trimmed the torn denim back to the design edge to make it look less like a repair and more like fashion.
While I was at it, I lengthened the pant legs. When I un-stitched the cuffs there were obvious wear marks and color differences in the denim. To help disguise this I added a couple rows of decorative ribbon. Again, not difficult, but I do suggest stitching down both sides of the ribbon for a more finished look. If you need even more length, a row of cotton eyelet lace could be added, but adding lace should probably fit the personality of the girl. I did see some cool dinosaur, race car, and dump truck trims if you are going to try this for a boy. Remember to stitch up the bottom edge for a narrow hem.
When re-stitching the side seams a serger certainly comes in handy, but a wide zig-zag with one or two rows of straight stitching along the seam line will do just fine.
These pants now have a few more months of school wear before being relegated to farm pants when the other knee goes. She actually looks for these pants to wear first during the week. I guess the patch job was a success then!