My son loves his ‘pocket trousers’. He has four pairs, and they each acquired a hole in the left knee. By the time the holes appeared, the trousers had long left the shops, and as they had not become too short, it seemed wasteful to toss them. It was a cold winter, so I was able to ignore the stack and hope he would outgrow them by the time the warmer weather came. Last week I patched them, using some black cotton drill scraps that have been loitering in the cupboard for far longer than I would like to admit. I felt lazy. I had dreaded patching them because of the stupid approach I usually use, where I try to sew seams parallel to the leg seams without ripping the legs open, from the outside. ( I have the patch on the inside.) It is an insane approach, that I think developed from a desire to sew using as few seams as possible – that is, sew everything without stopping the machine, without cutting the thread. Last week I used a far easier approach.
1. Turn the trouser (or at least the leg to be patched) inside out.
2. Cut a strip of fabric large enough to cover the knee area, the full width of the leg. (If you are patching jeans, a couple of layers of flannelette is really lovely for Winter wear.)
3. Stitch the patch onto the trouser seams, inside the seam allowance, along the sides of the legs.
4. Turn the trouser leg right way out and scrunch it onto the arm of the machine, bottom of the leg first, and begin stitching parallel lines, first along the bottom edge of the patch (which can be felt from the outside), and then alongside each side of the hole, and finally along the top of the patch. A few extra lines can be stitched, of course.
When stitching, begin with a few short stitches, backwards and forwards, then adjust stitch length for the ‘real’ stitching, then end with a few short stitches back and forth again. Raise the foot of the machine, and pull the leg back around the machine arm, to commence stitching from a new point further up the leg. There is no need to cut the thread at this point, but do pull on the leg sufficiently to ensure the fabric is not too bunched up for stitching. I did cut the top thread each time though.
5. Turn the leg inside out to cut the bobbin threads from the back of the patch.
Ta-Da! The patch has been neatly applied without too much bother.