Thrifty Whitties: Patch Things Up!

Olivia Jones

So you fell in love with that perfect pair of pants. With them, every day is comfortable. They just have that way of always making you feel attractive. But after a while the stress of seeing each other all the time starts to show. Finally holes appear, and you know the end of the relationship is approaching.

A good pair of pants is hard to find, not to mention expensive. If you patch early, you can get a few more months out of it together. I have found that you can patch just about everywhere except for the butt of your pants between the middle seam and the pockets, and any really large areas. All a thrifty Whittie needs for this operation is an iron-on-patch and an iron. Yes, it is that simple.

Iron-on patches can be found at any sewing store or corner store. Even Safeway carries them in their sewing area. Often patches come in denim, but you can find them in white as well. The color is not actually that important. Instead it is important to match the weight of the fabric; for example a heavier weight fabric pairs best with a heavy weight patch.

First, wash the garment and then turn it inside out. Cut a piece of the patching material that is larger than the hole you want to patch–make sure to cover the whole area that has been worn thin if it is a stress tear. Also be mindful not to extend over any seams with the patch. So if you’re patching a tear above a pocket, cut your patch in an L shape.

Heat the iron to as high as is appropriate for the type of cloth you are patching. If there are loose threads, lay them flat across the hole as best as you can. This will help disguise the patch from the other side. Once the iron is hot, run it across the fabric for a few seconds and position the patch where you want it. Depending upon the brand you buy, the time for the patch differs. So check the instructions on the back and iron over the patch for as long as directed, wiggling the iron back and forth. Once finished, allow the patch to cool and then check the corners to make sure they are tightly bonded to the fabric.

To tidy up the patch, flip the garment back right side out and trim off any threads that still hang loosely from the patched area. I often then use a permanent marker to color over the patch if the garment is blue or black. To ensure the patch will last as long as possible, it is optimal to air-dry all patched garments. The patches are heat bonded and therefore heat will un-bond them after a while.

And with that I wish you many more months of happiness together!