Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tutorial: How To Patch Pants

This little tutorial will show you how to patch a pair of pants. The decorative embroidery floss is not necessary -- you could use regular thread instead, but it sure is cute on little boy pants.

You will need a pair of pants with a hole, sharp scissors, thread, a sharp needle, a piece of cotton fabric, and a piece of fusible webbing. If you want to make a colourful stitch around the edge, also get embroidery floss and a bigger embroidery needle (make sure its a pointy one).

The cotton fabric can be quilting cotton or a piece of an old shirt. Make sure its not stretchy -- like t-shirt fabric. Fusible webbing can be found in any fabric store -- just ask the helpful staff. You only need about 5 or 6 inches, unless you have a lot of patching to do.

Wash the pants. Before we put the patch on, we need to mend the pants so that the fabric is strong enough to hold the patch.

Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end.

To tie a knot, make a loop and push the end of the thread through the loop. Pull it tight. You will probably need to knot the thread two or three times to get a big enough knot to stay.

Push the needle into the pants just below one side of the rip, were the fabric is still all together.
Pull it out at the edge of the rip, and then weave your needle in and out of the strings left by the rip. Make sure the needle comes out for the last time on the other end of the rip, where you are pack to undamaged fabric. Pull tight. Turn the needle around, and do the same thing, starting from the other side. Go back and forth, weaving the thread through and tightening it before each turn until you come to the end of the rip. Then tie off your thread (I explain how to do this below).

You rip will now look something like this.

Now, but a piece of fusible webbing slightly longer and wider than the size of your stitched up rip. Lay the shiny, slightly textured side down on your patching fabric. Iron in place, following the directions that come with the webbing.

If this has been done properly, it should stick to the fabric like this.

Let cool and peel off the paper. The webbing should now be shiny and tacky. Cut the patch to the size you want it.

Place the patch over your mended rip. (Do you like my funky blue nail polish?)

Iron the patch in place. Make sure the iron is not too hot, and that you put lots of pressure on it.

If you are feeling lucky, you could stop here and let the patch be. But the directions on the webbing say "gentle wash only" and that doesn't give me a lot of confidence that its going to survive a day in the life of a little boy's pants. So I'm going to stitch it in place, just to make sure.

If you want to use normal thread to stitch it down, just re-thread your needle and tie a knot at the end the same as before. If you want to use embroidery floss, take an emboidery needle and some co-ordinating embroidery floss and do the same.

You might want to put a book or some cardboard inside the pants leg so you don't accidentally sew the patch to both the front and the back of your pants, thus causing a mess and much cursing and grumbling and stitch picking. Want to know why I'm researching Montreal? I'll tell you later.

Starting from inside the pants, push your needle through the fabric about a 1/4 inch (5cm) from the edge of the patch.

Pull the needle through, and push it through the fabric so it goes in and out again.

Pull through to complete the stitch. Continue to stitch along all the edges of the patch. You might want to do this in a few sessions, as it is hard work for your fingers.

When you are done, flip your pants inside out, and push the needle through to the inside of the pants.

Now we will tie the floss off. Do a small stitch in the back, but don't quite pull it all the way through. Instead leave a little loop. Slide your needle through this loop and pull the thread through to make a knot.

Pull tight to make a knot. Trim your knots.

Congratulations, you're done! Good work.

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