Yes. Sorry about that. Another punning post title…
The post I did recently about patching a favourite shirt of mine, and a question I saw on a post on Lynn’s blog the other day made me think it might be a good idea to show a simple, easy way of patching pants, trousers or whatever your local vernacular is.
I get a lot of jeans/work pants repairs to do. The Husband has a strange old job. He spends large amounts of time sitting on his bum behind a steering wheel. In between bouts of wheel-twiddling and pedal-pressing, he’s then strenuously bending, lifting, shoving and stretching, hauling great hoses and fittings around as he makes his delivery of 51,000 litres of diesel. His work pants get both friction/ compression wear (sitting) and stretch/ stress wear (aforementioned gymnastics). And they give way. Regularly. It’s always in the same place, right below the buttock crease, from the centre or inside leg seam outwards and down.
The rest of the garment is still fine, and has years of use left in it, so clearly, a patch is the best option. I have a stock of pre-cut patches. They were cut from old jeans and work pants that were past saving, using good parts from the legs. The patches are a variety of shades, and are going onto used, well-worn, washed garments, so the patch fabric needs to match as well as possible. These are work pants, after all… I have a couple of reels of blue cotton thread which matches the jeans always on hand. I don’t recommend repairing a tear in the seat of pants with hand stitching, as it’s really not durable enough. For a shirt or other lighter fabric, it would be fine.
Here’s how a repair goes:
For this tutorial, I’ll be working with heavy navy cargo pants, because that’s what needs repairing today, but it’s exactly the same for jeans. Get a piece of light interfacing a bit bigger than the rip. Place it sticky side up on the inside of the jeans, behind the tear.
Lay flat, and pull the torn edges together as well as you can. Using a piece of baking paper laid over the tear, use a dry iron to bond the interfacing to the inside of the torn area. This will help prevent the tear growing and stop any bits of interfacing that show through from sticking to the iron.
If the tear is a very bad one, you should darn before you patch, to prevent it growing. Select the zigzag stitch on your machine, fairly close stitches and medium wide. Zigzag all the way around the outside of the tear, in good, solid fabric. Then work slowly inwards, overlapping the previous stitching a little each time till you have closed the gap. The aim is to almost create new fabric in the gap with the stitches and interfacing. I don’t usually darn in a contrasting colour, but I wanted you to see what it looks like!
At this point, you can choose whether you want the patch to show or not. If the fabric’s not quite right, try the reverse, where the colour might be closer. (The photo makes the colour difference in this patch more noticeable than it is in real life.) Take your patch, and place it over the tear. You need a patch that’s a good bit bigger than the tear. I tend to go for at least an inch all the way round, often more. Pin the patch in place.
Pin in an anti-clockwise direction. It sounds daft to be so specific, but that way, the pins are pointing the right way (towards the sewing machine foot) when you put the job under the needle of your sewing machine. You have stabilised the tear and placed the patch. Now it’s time to sew. If you are concerned about tackling pins while you wrestle the repair under the machine, consider basting (tacking) the patch in place and removing the pins before you use the sewing machine. Don’t use a bonding product like Bondaweb to hold it in place, as it’ll make the patch too stiff and uncomfortable to wear.
I personally prefer a blanket stitch for attaching the patch. It neatens the edge so you don’t have to turn it under, which creates a bodgy great lump on the edge which wears much faster. It’s secure, and it looks good. If you don’t have blanket stitch on your machine, you can achieve much the same effect with zigzag, it’s just a bit more visible. Use a piece of scrap fabric to decide what width and length of stitch you want. I’d suggest a fairly short stitch length and a medium stitch width. Stitch slowly, especially if you need to cross any thick seams. Work all the way around the outside edge. Start and finish with 3 or 4 very small stitches, or use your machine’s lockstitch if it has one.
Change the stitch to straight and stitch again all round, just inside the zigzag or blanket stitch. This second line of stitching anchors the patch and prevents stress on the blanket stitch, which is just finishing off the edge. On some earlier patches, I didn’t do this additional line of stitching, and you can see the result. The patch is pulling away from the edging stitches. I’ve reinforced it again, and done this extra line, which should preserve the patch for a bit longer.
There, you’re done. It wasn’t so bad, was it? Total expenditure: $0; total time: 10 minutes.
Go on now, go and save a pair of lovely jeans from the rag bag!