Thursday, April 16, 2009

Full Knee Patching

I love mending. I think I could do it all the live-long day, if I was able to. But alas, I have to clean the house occasionally...drat.

I would like to share with you my method for full-knee patching, which I first discovered while reading The Tightwad Gazette. Love that book. Anyhoo, it takes a bit of finagling, but I find that the patches generally outlive the jeans that I repair. The whole process takes me a little less than half an hour from start to long as everybody leaves me the cryin' heck alone. Gah.

So you start out with this...a pair of pants with compromised knees. Usually, Jake comes home with a full-knee blow-out, but I figured I might as well patch this pair. Mind you, had I made the pre-emptive strike of adding an iron-on patch to the inside of the knee to begin with, I probably wouldn't be patching this pair right now.
Anyway, if the hole is really, really bad, I'll repair it a bit first with a bit of a zigzag stitch, but I hardly ever do that.

First thing, figure out which leg seam you will be ripping open. I suppose if you have a free-arm machine, then you are lucky and may get to skip this part. On these jeans in particular, the inside seam is not reinforced, and will be the one that I open. Do it carefully and take your time so as not to rip the fabric.

Note that you should start 2" from the bottom hem and stop 2" from the crotch. This just makes it a bit easier when you sew the seam shut when all is said and done.

I always keep old jeans and t-shirts specifically for patching jobs. Find a piece in your stash that matches the pants the best. I've patched Kylie's yoga pants with one of Scott's old t-shirts...just as long as it's basically the same type of fabric and the same colour so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. You will need 2 rectangular patches that are slightly bigger than a DVD case for a child's pair of size 7 jeans (maybe the width of a DVD case and a bit longer)...just make sure that the patch extends at least 1/2" over each side seam. Measure your pants across the knee to figure out how wide you need that patch to be and add an inch for seam allowances.

I like to slip a small cutting board inside the pant leg and use the DVD case as a measuring guide...make sure that the patch is the same height from the bottom hem on both sides. Pin the patch in the middle with a few pins so that it doesn't shift as you are pinning the perimeter.

Turn under 3/8" at the top, bottom and 'B' side of the patch, as noted in the picture. The 'B' side of the patch is not quite touching the reinforced double stitching of the outer leg seam. Leave the 'A' side of the patch extended over the open leg seam.

When you're all done pinning, carefully top-stitch the patch in place using a matching thread. I use a zipper foot so that when I reach side 'B' of the patch, I can carefully stitch the patch without fear of getting stuck in that awful, fortified seam.

Remove the pins and re-sew the seam that you opened. Repeat for the next leg, making sure that both patches are the same distance away from their respective bottom hems.

And you're done! I can almost guarantee the hems on these jeans will be all stringy and nasty before the knees give out again. What a saucy little man I have, sticking his tongue out for all of the Internet to see :) .


Coolcook said...

I am going to tell you a cute is true. I used to patch Bob's work jeans all the time, plumbers like priests do a lot of kneeling. One time I patched his jean and he did not even look at them and wore them to work. A long time later he mentioned that the guys loved his patch on his jeans. I had made the patch in the shape of a heart and zig-zagged it with pink thread. He was the talk of the job site and it did not bother him one bit. My way of saying I loved him. He was a good man with a wicked sense of humour.

Princesstefer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Princesstefer said...

If you do have free time, I've got a mending pile that you could have loads of fun with. ;) Also Robot Chicken? That wasn't just randomly grabbed off the shelf, was it? lol I like the tutes. :)

Josie said...

That is great! I always have to do DH's and end up figting to the them in the needle! What a good idea to unpick, never thought of that!