Ask Holly: Patching Pants


I remember that crisp September day.  A lovely day for a walk with my children donning their new back to school attire. My adorable son in his lovely new jeans walking foot over foot along a ledge and then leaping into the air and using his knees as landing gear. Rip-a-roo—those new jeans lasted one solid hour without a hole in the knee.

I needed to come up with a good method of patching pants and, because they were for a child, it had to be cute. So I made Monster faces!

Patching pants with Monster Faces:

patching pants

  • A strong fabric such as corduroy in whatever color you would like your patch to be. A note on fabric: I saw a few interesting ideas  using faces to patch pants on Pinterest, but the problem was they all used felt. Have you ever bought clothes made of felt? No. Do you know why? Because it’s not durable and if you are going to patch a durable fabric such as denim that has ripped from wear, you need to pick a strong fabric.
  • Medium blue embroidery floss (or whatever color matches the pants you are patching)
  • White rick rack (large)
  • White thread
  • 2 medium white buttons or fabric paint in white and black
  • 2 small black buttons
  • A nice sized needle with a bigger eye
  • Fabric scissors

Step One: Clean up the hole by cutting out the loose threads.

Step Two: Turn the pants inside out. Now cut a piece of ric-rack about 1 1/4″ longer than the top side of your hole. Cut two pieces if making teeth on the top and bottom of the patch.

Step Three: Take your blue floss and pull off three threads (there should be six in total). Thread the pieces together and start to sew down the rick-rack so the points come down enough to look like teeth. TIP: Try sewing a 1/4″  stitch on the back side and on the front sew out and then push the needle back through as close at you can. This will give you neater stitches on the front. (see photo). I sewed two stitches to the the top of each point. As you get too close to the hole the fabric tends to get threadbare.

patching pants

Step Four: Cut your patch fabric in a rectangle larger than the hole. Sew it down with the wrong side out as the ribbed side will wear down. Do not worry about having neat stitches as these are suppose to be fun and whimsical. When you are done sewing cut the excess fabric away leaving about a 1/2″ overhang.

Step Five: Using your white thread sew your white buttons on first and then the black buttons over the top of the white buttons. If you can sew a shank on the back of the button for extra strength. To sew a shank, poke your needle through the fabric after sewing your buttons on with a few stitches. Pull your needle through the fabric but not the button, now wrap the thread around the base of the buttons stitches a few times and poke the needle back through the fabric. (See photo). I got kooky with one of the jeans and hand stitched a tongue. You could skip the button eyes and just sew a mouth which is still super cute. If you are on the ball with your laundry try to wash the jeans inside out. This is never a problem in my home as this is the way they arrive in the hamper!

NOTE: Some buttons break easily. If you want to skip the button step, paint on the eyes with fabric paint. Use the cap of a lipstick as a stamp for the white and the top of a pencil eraser as a stamp for the black.

monster patches for jeans

Materials available at at I’ve Got a Notion and Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Crafts

Questions? Just Ask Holly in comments.

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