Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sticks and stones may break my ... jeans?

My daughter has always been pretty easy on her clothes. We get a lot of things passed down to us from a cousin, and by the time we are ready to pass them on again, they are usually in the same condition as they were when we acquired them (with the exception of paint splatters here and there ... she's an artist, you know).

However, this past year we started something new: Kindergarten. And wow ... has she ever been mean to her clothes recently! She's got holes in shirts that I thought were indestructible, and those school lunches ... let me just say the stains are nearly impossible to remove! Mostly we don't mind a little stain here and there, but the holes are a force to be reckoned with, particularly in the knees of her jeans. She is pretty laid back when it comes to fashion, but she will not, and I mean NOT wear jeans if they have "knee holes".  Like these for instance:

Perfectly good pair of jeans, not ready to be thrown out, but not being worn. Well, I finally found a solution to the problem that we both love. I get to go for a while longer without ditching clothes unnecessarily, and she gets to wear something she thinks is amazing. It's a simple patch job.

Now, before I start in on my instructions, let me make clear that I am not a pro. What I did today was the first time I've ever tried to patch something, and I threw it together using knowledge from other projects I've done in the past. This might not be the "right" way to do this ... but it worked for me. If you have tips I would love to hear them!

Okay ... so what you need:

  • A pair of jeans with holes (or without - if you are just feeling extra creative one day!)
  • A small scrap of coordinating fabric
  • Embroidery floss to match the fabric
  • Iron-on adhesive (I use Heat-n-Bond ... LOVE this stuff)
  • Cardboard for template (optional)
  • Needle and scissors ... no machine necessary!!

The first thing I did was to make some cardboard templates:

This step isn't 100% necessary, especially if you are a pretty decent artist. You could draw directly onto the back on the Heat-n-Bond if you wanted to. I like to use a template because I save them for later if I ever need it again. 

Next, you iron your adhesive onto the wrong side of your fabric. Make sure you follow the instructions that came with the adhesive that you are using. Mine says to iron for 6 seconds ... easy peasy.

Then I used my cardboard template to trace the pattern (hearts in this case) onto the paper-back of the adhesive. Remember if you are using a template that has a right versus a wrong way (like a letter for example) you'll need to trace your template upside down.

Next, cut out your pieces and lay them out on the jeans to decide where you want them to end up. I wanted to cut out more than just the hearts to cover the holes in the knees ... just a single knee patch wouldn't have looked right in my opinion. 

Then you iron the pieces down, again following the manufacturers instructions (mine said to iron 2 seconds, I went just a bit longer since the jeans are thick). Next break out the embroidery floss and stitch the pieces down with a simple backstitch. I used 3 stands of floss, doubled for a total of 6 on the needle at once. To do a backstitch, you come up through the fabric, then go down back to the underside about 1/4" away from the beginning stitch, then up again 1/4" away from when you stitched down ... and then back down in the spot where you stitched down before. Wow ... that sounds WAY more confusing than it really is. Here are a few pictures that should help. You also can see what the back of the fabric will look like:

I like to do one more good press with the iron after all that stitching, and then you should be ready to go!

She loves them, and I do too! 

Now if I could only think of a creative way to save my son's jeans, I would be in good shape! Something makes me think he really wouldn't appreciate the hearts on his knees ...

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