Monday, February 21, 2011


Our seven year-old takes after me in many ways. We share a love of dirt, horses, and mountains, and a mouthful of lousy teeth. We also both blow through the knees of our pants at an astonishing rate. The right knee of our pants, to be specific. I like to attribute the fact that I'm always flashing one knee to a savvy sense of fashion, or to all of the intensive work I do around here (dishes really wreck havoc on the knees, you know). But I don't actually know why one knee wears out on every single pair of pants I have ever owned, or why some of our kids always go through the knees of their pants, and some of our kids never do. It's one of the mysteries of the universe.

What I do know is that I've always got a pile of pants in a box in the laundry room that I am either patching, turning into shorts, or cutting up for other projects.

Last week these pants (the superb jeans in the picture below -- and don't you just love that Pippi-esque hair?) landed in the box a little bit early. They're special pants from grandma, you see, and only a few months old. So the day that a dime-sized fray appeared, they were pulled out of circulation while I figured out a patch.

The good thing about these particular pants is that they came with accessories in the first place -- little felt flowers around the cuffs -- which made the patch an easy choice. Felt flowers it would be.

I've actually patched with felt before, but I don't remember where I picked it up and have since decided that felt was pretty lousy quality. This time I opted for wool felt. I found the greatest little fabric store, which had a whole vintage suitcase full of beautiful wool felt square (they had me at suitcase -- would that I could present anything so well). As far as stores go, I don't really do large. Or mall. Or mega, in any sense. The crowds and options tend to overwhelm me. So this store was heaven sent. It's a small shop in the middle of the old downtown, and I still spent an hour wandering less than halfway through. A good good hour. I wanted to touch everything. As far as I'm concerned, any fabric store that can get me to say "oooohhhhhhhh" at every single bolt is a golden find. I restricted myself to the felt (and one little tiny chunk of cotton for pants for the baby, but that's another post).

Back to the felt.

This particular trip to the fabric store was something of a whim, so I didn't have the pants with me and had to guess on colors. In the end I left with a handful of squares (about $2 total), and only used about a quarter of that. The colors aren't an exact match (which I prefer anyhow), but close enough not to look aftermarket, if you know what I mean.

I freehanded a few flowers and leaves, and sewed them on with an easy straight stitch (up the middle for the leaves, side-to-side between the petals on the flowers). The big red flower covers the hole, and I did a bunch of wide stitches in a square under the pink middle to reinforce the frayed section. Then the flower middles went on with a quick circle of straight stitching.

Twenty minutes total.

Not a bad matched patch, if I do say so myself.

So far the felt is holding up very well. It's been slid on, muddied up, banged into, scraped, washed, and even dried.

Wait a minute. Maybe I do have an idea why this girl and I go through the knees of our pants after all . . .

1 comment:

  1. Your patch blends in perfectly with the rest of the pants. Well done.

    Holes in the right knee of jeans is the bane of my existence. I have yet to find an acceptable method of patching the knees of my jeans (oh, that felt flowers were the answer!). The knee not only develops a hole, but is very obviously stretched out as well. This makes a good looking patch quite difficult to achieve.

    I had almost forgotten about patching my knees since moving on to maternity jeans, but this reminds me that I have a few pairs on hand that I'll (hopefully) soon be fitting into again soon. I'll need to do some more patch brainstorming...