Friday, April 13, 2012

Patching knees.

Mikhaela of Polka Dot Overload recently wrote a post about mending, and asked her readers if they were "make and do menders" like her (she darns her socks!). To which I responded, a bit shame-faced, that despite having the required know-how and tools, I rarely mend anything. I confess: I actually outsource most of my mending and hemming jobs (especially on my work clothes) to my trusty local dry cleaner (which handles simple alterations). What can I say? Those folks do a great job (often better than I could do with a lot more effort) and they do it cheaply. And mending is boring. I'd much rather be making new stuff, with new fabric!

But I want to want to do more of our mending. I aspire to be all kinds of Depression-era/wartime thrifty, resourceful, and virtuous (don't we all?).

Remember Joe's "old man jeans," which I made last November? I called them old man jeans because they are (a) pleated front and high waisted; and (b) made from vivid, deep, bright blue denim.

Well, Joe wore them to death this past winter, and while they are still pleated and high-waisted, they are no longer bright blue. In fact, they are now soft, faded, and starting to blow out at the knees. But they still fit (mostly), and I think they still have some life left in them.

Knee Patches
Joe now wears through his clothes before growing out of them. Not because he isn't growing fast, but because he is that hard on clothes.


Inspired by Mikhaela and her darning, I decided to "make do and mend" and patch the knees. I figured this warranted using some of my new and super-precious Echino choo-choo trains (more projects with this fabric coming soon!). The trains don't really go with the band-aid flannel lining on these pants, but you rarely see the lining when the pants are in use anyway.

Knee Patches
Band-aids and trains.

The hardest part of patching knees is getting those darn knees under the sewing machine foot! If anything, this is even harder with little boy pants than it is with giant man pants. Rolling the pants up helps some, but it is still pretty tricky.

Knee Patches
Done!

I went very simple and just zig-zagged around the knee-patches. Done and done.

And here are some photos of the semi-old-man-jeans in action.When I put them on Joe this morning, he was excited at first, then annoyed and wanted "different pants!" and then got over it and wore his train-patched pants happily. Life with an almost-three-year-old!!

Knee Patches
Train patches, train t-shirts, toy trains, and random detritus.


Knee Patches
Walking on the train tracks.
Okay, okay, maybe mending isn't so bad. Especially when it means I'm extending the life of some of Joe's mama-made clothes. This really didn't take very much time. I should mend more often.

Steve always blows out the knees in his jeans too. Do you think he would like train fabric knee-patches? (He might!)


8 comments:

  1. There's nothing like lovingly home-made clothes wearing through to prompt a bit of mending! And when these become ankle-freezers maybe they could even be cut off to become shorts?
    I have put little colourful patches on the worn-out butt of small boy pants, too :)

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    1. After this project, I was thinking, hey, I could even add little choo-choo cuffs when they get too short! We'll see. They are really wintery pants, what with the flannel lining, so I don't know that they would make the best shorts.

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  2. Good work on the patches! I always have huge difficulty patching pants - so hard to get the knees in the right place to sew...

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    1. It is surprisingly tricky. I had to go very very slowly, and I was working with about a square inch of space at all times, with the rest all crumpled around it. It probably would have been good to iron on the patches first to keep them flat and thus not have to use pins. But getting it under there was not easy. I'm thinking it might just not be do-able in much smaller pants, and you'd have to hand sew the patches on.

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  3. Love the fabric choice for the patches, and good for Joe for finally accepting them! Mending is something I don't do often either, and I confess to outsourcing mending to my mom-in-law :) Replacing elastic is something I really hate.
    And if/when you convert them to shorts like Jane mentioned you should keep the patches for the butt (if they aren't worn through), that's a great idea!

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    1. I hate replacing elastic too! I hate anything that involves seam ripping. I would probably do it for my own hand-mades, but I would also probably procrastinate the task as long as possible!

      I love the idea of a patched butt. Like a little Dickens street urchin.

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  4. Awesome patches! I'm so happy I inspired you on this... I am so into darning and mending lately, it's maybe kind of weird. I actually used to also take things to the cleaners for fixing, but they actually messed up a few knit things beyond repair, so I prefer to do them myself now.

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  5. Awesome! To help add even more life I usually patch from the inside first and then place a slightly larger patch on the outside for a large hole, or a small hole I run a super short straight stitch back and forth tons of times over the hole to really seal it up. Can't wait to see more mending! Someday I also aspire to darn my hand knit socks...but it is SOOOO much work!

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