Taproot at Home :: Put a Patch On It

Taproot at Home :: Put a Patch On It

We are all walking through these challenging days right now, but let's do it together, shall we? We want to offer for your home (and hearts) some of the goodness that has been inside the pages of Taproot Magazine while many of us are at home for an extended and indefinite period of time. We've gathered recipes, craft projects, and activities that we hope will keep you making, doing, and dreaming (and eating too!), all of which we'll be sharing here in this space each day. [Visit the Welcome post for more details]

Put a Patch On It

Tutorial by Em Falconbridge 
originally published in Issue 11: MEND

In our family of five, patching is not only a necessity to cover up the constant holes, snips and stains in our clothing, it is a fun and creative outlet—like collage with fabric scraps and holes instead of paper and glue! We patch for practicality, but patching can be a lot of fun. Not only do I get my craft kicks, I can also include my children in the design process, allowing them to personalize their clothing while teaching them how to repurpose in our throw-away society.

         While mending those holes of ours, I'm able to gender reassign and re-style hand-me-downs. A trip to the thrift store is most exciting for all of us—we search for fun patterns and fabrics, imagining all the possibilities for covering logos or stains, and inspiration for dressing up plain unexciting clothing. Patches make me happy! Patches are fun! Put a patch on it!

Simple Patches
To make patching a part of your family’s regular routine, keep a basket at home in which to save fabric—a sweet vintage doily, an image from a favorite t-shirt now outgrown, that fat quarter of adorable fabric you couldn't resist. With an inspiring bundle of goodies you will always have something ready to get patching.

Previously Loved Clothes
I'm a smidge bit sentimental, and I have been known to get weepy upon discovering my child has outgrown a favorite piece of clothing. Luckily the piece can live on! Cut out a special part of the fabric or snip off the pocket to add to a new t-shirt or dress. Let your mama heart sigh knowing once the new garment is outgrown, you can repeat the process!

Making Fun Patches
It doesn't take much to create whimsical patches that not only serve the purpose of fixing your clothes, but also make them unique. Layering is key. Choose simple shapes and combine—I love layering wonky circles on top of one another to become a sweet little patch or the head of a flower. A simple leaf shape with two layers looks lovely with stitches as the spine. Squares and triangles can form a house. The options for your patch-happiness are limitless! Sew any layers that can be sewn together first (for example the eyes onto the body of the owl), before sewing onto your piece of clothing.

Unique patches can be whipped up by simply combining a few scraps of favorite fabric to form a strip or a square. Add some buttons or a piece of doily and you have yourself a wardrobe winner.

TIP: Regular woven cotton is the easiest type of fabric for creating layered patches for machine sewing. Felted wool sweater scraps also make good sturdy and easy-to-cut-out patches. If using a t-shirt or knit patch, you may have more luck sewing these by hand with 6-strand embroidery thread—and it looks awesome.

Quilty Knee-patches

The knees are usually the first things to go in kids clothing, so here's a little project you can make to reinforce those pants before the holes appear, or use to patch up the inevitable holes.

Scraps of sturdy fabric
Straight pins

Step 1: Using a piece of felted wool sweater, or other sturdy fabric (canvas or denim would also work well) cut 2 knee-patches in your desired size and shape. Gather up some favorite fabric scraps ready to sew together to form the patch.

Step 2: Begin by sewing 2 scraps right-sides together with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Continue to add pieces of fabric making your shape wider and longer. Trim as needed and press seams as you go. The goal here is to make a piece of patched fabric larger than your previously cut knee-patch.

Step 3: Pin your cut knee-patch to the back of your fabric piece, and sew again with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Step 4: Trim the excess fabric from the edge of your knee-patch.

Step 5: Flipping your patch over, begin to top-stitch back and forth from one side to the other, going in all directions. Crazy stitching is my favorite!

Your knee-patch is now ready to attach to a pair of pants. Afterwards, you make it a buddy, of course. This same technique would make a nice pocket, should knee patches not be required in your home!


Click here to download a pdf of this tutorial.