I wasn't really taught how to patch things. Not because of any fault of my mother. She taught me what she knew about patching, but mostly it was for items to be used gently.
My husband works outside, and he works hard. He works with sharp things, and he works on his knees. A lot. He has lots of work pants, but recently I noticed that ALL pairs of pants had holes somewhere. I had tried to patch the knees of his pants before with those iron on patches and some zigzag stitches, but what might work for occasional-wear patches did NOT work on his oft-used pants. But I didn't know any other way to do it, so he wore holey pants. No big deal in the summer.
Then, while I was in Colorado, I noticed my sister in law patching one of my nephew's pants, on the outside. DUH, I thought. I could do that, too.
So here's what I did.
First, stacked up all 5 pairs that needed help. 3 grey, 1 green, 1 denim. Then, I found some pants that were beyond, way beyond repair and used those as my patching material. The patching material was thinner than the work pants, so I made a double layer. Then I went ahead and pinned the patch in place, covering way more than the ripped area.
May I here recommend leather-weight needles? I broke two #16's before I had that bright idea. Anyway, I started to sew the patch. I used the largest zigzag with a stitch length of 2, and then I went around the whole thing with a straight stitch to reinforce further.
PS - I love my sewing machine! It's a Riccar that mom bought for me at a garage sale! YAY!
I then turned the whole thing inside out and this is what I saw. Now some of the pairs were more unsightly than this, what with my attempted patch jobs and multiple lines of stitches overtop of an iron on patch - that mess would have irritated the knees. And goodness knows I do not want my husband to have irritated knees.
So, I got out my trusty sewing scissors - Gingers, thank you Mrs. Behn - they are still the best graduation gift ever!! and carefully cut around the edges of my patch, leaving a bit of pant left but cutting away most of the excess.
Until the finished product looked like this on the inside:
Now, one pair of pants took me less than 30 minutes to do from start to finish. I say much less stress than schlepping myself and two maybe-cranky children over to the Salvation Army (because I am not paying full price for pants that will get paint, tar, mortar and all manners of ickiness all over them) and hoping they have pants in the right size with no pleats and the right kind of pockets and loops for my hunky construction worker husband.
Not to mention, this used up an old pair of pants that wasn't good for anything else, and extended the life expectancy of 5 pairs of work pants. For free(ish - I did break 2 needles, after all). So this is my homecky moment for last week. And I'm relieved that my mending pile has drastically decreased. Michael is relieved that he has pants to wear to work that won't freeze his knees. And so we're all a bit happier.