Guest blog: Practical Pants Patching Project

This awesome DIY, Practical Pants Patching Project, is a guest blog post by Rick Havlak - the super nifty dude behind Homestead Junction. Enjoy! And check out the Homestead Junction blog for my DIY, Upcycled Burlap Hanging Herb Planter.

I think just about everyone must have a pair of jeans like this. It's rumpled, faded and worn, but oh-so comfortable. Perhaps, like me, you wear it out in public day after day, week after week, increasingly feeling, with slight sheepishness, that you probably shouldn't wear these jeans to work anymore. Finally, r-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-p-p-p-p!

It's happened: your favourite jeans have a tear in a spot that's just too awkward for you to ignore. Me, I keep my hip pockets stuffed with pens (viewer's right, causing smallish holes) and an oversized bundle of keys (viewer's left, causing a hole large enough for my pocket to protrude and for my business associates to get a hint of thigh). If you're like those people in Apple commercials, I guess your pants are so tight that they wear in the shape of your iPhone. I guess the point is that the holes in our pants tell a story about each of us!

A month or so ago I picked up this free book of fabric samples up at the Strathcona Business Improvement Association's Resource Exchange. There's a whole bunch of them there - enough for everyone who reads this article to go get their own! It contains about a hundred 10x10cm fabric squares, and I was going to use them for quilting until 6 different people independently told me "you can't use upholstery fabric for quilting!!" Ok, sheesh.

The upside is this upholstery fabric is going to be just fine for patching jeans.

The upholstery fabric is nice and stiff, which makes it easy to pin without it rumpling. For small patches, I like to pin in parallel with where I'm going to be sewing. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but keeps the pins less crowded. I go in a single direction, so the tip of one pin lines up with the ball end of the next. This way it's possible to sew all the way around the edge and pull the pins out as you go. You're looking at the inside of the seat of these jeans, where the corners of the pockets started to rip out.

Here I am stitching around the first thigh patch. I start by making a single pass all the way around the perimeter.

Once the perimeter is securely sewed down, a bunch of random zig-zags across the patch effectively weld the patch to the jeans' denim. Otherwise the patch wouldn't last long! The gaps you see in the zigging and zagging on both patches is where there's a thick fold at the corner of the pocket. (Yeah, I know it's not pretty; so what?)

It's pretty rough from the outside too, huh? Well, it beats looking at my underpants.

I'm not going to quit my day job, but it's a *lot* better than before, right? Or maybe I should; I've probably increased the retail value of these jeans by 10x or more. Usually that distressed look costs extra.

One of these photos doesn't depict a glamour icon. Can you guess which one?

In any case, I've just bought another year for my favourite jeans! That means one less pair of jeans in the landfill, and one less new pair to be manufactured. Total cost to me, excluding thread? $0. Now that's thrifty!

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