Monday, April 13, 2020

Make a Simple Patch

Fix Those Well Worn Jeans.

There are a lot of ways to fix clothing and even what I am showing here has many variations. I get asked many times how to patch clothing so I am writing this one down as it is also how other things are patched such as jeans knees and jacket elbows. This particular repair is really common and not hard to do so a perfect first sewing machine repair.

Choose your method.

There are two major ways to fix this type of tear. One is darning and the other is patch.
1. Darning: Repair through thread alone. Zig zag or back and forth stitching over the tear. This type good for smaller holes. Can be done discreetly. Not good for large holes or areas of lots of stress like knees.
2. Patching: Covering the area of damage with other fabric. It has the benefit of being strong for places with stress. It can be tricky to do and is visible.

There are variations to these, like what I can an underside patch, but that is for another time. For simplicity those topics are left out but remember there is a whole world of creativity here!

Choose Your Materials for the Fix.

For machine darning use a matching  thread for a less visible mend. Use a a completely different one for a highly visible repair. For my example, it is a close match. 

For patching, choose a fabric for patching that is of similar weight to your garment for good wear. Especially important with knit fabric. In the example shown here, the fabric being repaired is jeans denim so a heavy cotton was chosen. It is not the same color but is the same weight. If you go too light with fabric, the patch itself will not survive much wear and tear from use. 

Keep in mind if a repair was needed, the area is likely to see some rough use. Make your repair just as strong. 

Prep Work Being Done

Prepare Your Work.

It can be scary but you will nearly always have to do some deconstruction to do a good repair. Here I am removing the pockets a bit to access the area below so it can be given new fabric. 
Some general rules from Anne's lesson learning from many mistakes over the years:
1. Give yourself enough room to work. 
2. (a caveat to #1) Don't do too much. When in doubt Don't.
3. Take time and go slow. Making more damage when taking apart is easy to do. Use a sharp seam      ripper or X-Acto knife.
4. If the garment is complex take a photo or two of the work before it all comes apart.
5. Remember to use the right weight needle for the fabric you are working with.
6. Remember "Do no harm" in repairs as well as medicine. If your repair idea damages forever the      garment then don't do it. Repair it another way.

Fixing the Levis.

Get ready:
Get some heavy cotton.
Get some thread in colors you need.
Get a size 110 Needle.

Lift the corners of the pockets using a seam ripper. Go down past the hole about 1". This is easily sewn back together.

We have two holes to fix. One if large and the other small. To fix, I will do one machine darn and one patch. That means we need 3 patches. Two will be placed on the inside of both pockets and the outside of one. Patching the inside makes a strong and comfortable repair. It provides a stable foundation to do machine darning on the small hole. It can be omitted but that is another subject all together.

1. Make 2 inside patches to match holes. The need to be slightly larger than the holes.
2. Make one outside patch. The shape is determined by how you want it to look. I made it bigger so as to go to the top seam. Choose the look you want and then make the patch that shape. Trace with chalk and cut to form.  plus 1/2" for large patches or 1/4" on small patches all around to turn under.
2. Finish the edges. Zig zag or serge is best. Less but also OK is pinking or single row of stitching. 

Three patches needed- Two for inside and one for outside.
Sew Patches to Inside.
Line up patch and pin.
Make sure bobbin thread matches the fabric. 
Setting the location. Make sure to cover the entire hole.

 This is the view from the outside when sewn down.

Outside view.

Patching the Outside.

This patch was made so as to go to the top seam. 
If possible, use an iron to press seam allowance under. Usually the amount is about 1/4 or 1/2". Not needed but sure makes a neat edge. That is what is happening here.
Pressing under a 1/4" seam allowance.

Stitch in place.
Stitched need to be small enough to be strong but not to small as to pucker up. For heavy fabrics like this I use a #3. Stitches are made very close to the edge but not on it.
Stitch again inside for added stability. 1/4" is good generally on a small patch like this. 

For large patches it is good to stitch the center area as well to keep it all in place. Some decorative flair is good here. 

The fun part, stitching it down.

Machine Darn.

Machine stitching the hole closed is done by simply moving the presser foot back and forth over the holeThat can be done different ways depending on the machine. My favorite is using a 3 step zig zag built in stitch. My machine here is great with heavy weight denim but has no built in stitches nor even reverse direction. To achieve the back and forth I lift the presser foot slightly to pull it back. 
Most machines you can just go forward and reverse closely together or use a close zig zag stitch.

Machine Darning with Ol'Willcox and Gibbs

The stitching can be seem better form the inside, as shown here.

Inside view.

Finish It Up.

Sew up those pockets. A nice touch is to use matching jeans topstitch thread for the last part. Not difficult to find and useful for projects like these. It is heavier than everyday thread. Normally I use it for top thread only and match use normal weight in the bobbin. Bobbin tension needs to be adjusted if heavy thread is used.



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