Friday, December 12, 2014

Jean Patching Rebooted: Skulls and Robots

Over the years I've patched a few jeans.

Okay, maybe more than a few.

Point being: "the monster jeans aren't cool anymore, Mom!" /whine

Then: "The star jeans aren't cool anymore, Mom!" /whine

So here I am, striving for a newer, cooler jean patch.

Because eff me if I'm going to let my kids' knees poke out of their pants. What else am I supposed to do—BUY them new jeans?!


Yeah, no. I'd rather pay my mortgage, thanks. [::snort::]

Anyhow. I figured in my continued quest to make patched play jeans cool again I'd better share my latest designs.

Skulls and robots, ahoy!

The instructions are simple, and the supplies few. You'll need the jeans-to-be-patched, some sacrificial jeans to supply some denim patches, a sewing machine with a little know-how, thread, and a pen.

I was hesitating to write out the instructions for this as most people comfortable with their sewing machine can eyeball my pics and know exactly what they're doing, but since I know I have my own knowledge blind spots, I'll outline the breakdown...

1. From the mountain of denim reserved for patching, select a colour that works with the jeans that need patching. (Or just whatever you've got, really. It doesn't matter too much. Play jeans, remember?) Settle on a shape (oval, square, or rectangle), that best covers the hole and any surrounding worn denim on the knee. Cut it out of the patching denim.

NOTE: Do NOT cut your patch out of the jeans-to-be-patched. Also? Don't sew while drinking, else you may have more sacrificial denim. Accidents happen, yo. And it's bad luck to scoff at free wisdom. [::shifty eyes::]

2. Iron both the (clean) jean pantleg, and the patch-to-be.

3. Using a pen, carefully draw on the details you're going to stitch in over and around the patch. It's the easiest way to ensure your lines are decent, as once you've got that pantleg hiked up around the machine, it gets difficult to see where you're headed.

4. Pin in place.

5. Using a close zigzag stitch, sew that mofo down! Remember to reverse to lock in the ends, and don't be afraid to jump from one eye to the next without clipping those threads—it's far quicker, and as long as you've locked in the ends of your stitching in each new area it shouldn't unravel. Clip threads close once you're finished sewing.

That's it. Really difficult, right?

Wondering which patches are the quickest of the monster patches; swirls, squiggles, and stars; and these robots and skulls? Well, the monster patches are the most labour-intensive and take the longest to make. The stars, squiggles, and swirl patches are the quickest (no need to mark the jeans and all lines are connected). These skulls and robots aren't that much longer than squiggles, stars, or swirls.

Things to remember: They're patched jeans, they're not winning any beauty contests. The can, however, be rather cute in a shabby chic kind of way, so don't get bogged down by perfection. Your best bet to land the cutesy homemade meant-to-be-imperfect style is to deliberately NOT go for perfection. Make them a touch wonky. Make it obvious you weren't going for crisp lines, and no one will question that it didn't turn out exactly as you'd planned.

I figure if you're too much of a perfectionist to loosen up and nail that shabby chic look, you're either (a) going to lose your mind during this exercise or (b) wouldn't let your kids wear patched play jeans anyway...

So loosen up. Relax. Pour yourself a glass of wine* and rid yourself of those idealist notions...

Happy patching!

* Never mind.

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