How to Patch Jeans with Iron-On Patches
Holey Knees, Batman! Patch Them, Don't Toss Them
All kids hit a certain age when jeans get holes in the knees on a very frequent basis. Patching jeans is not a difficult task, even when there is no sewing machine at hand. Iron-on patches make the task simple, as only an iron and an ironing board are required!
Since the iron-on patches over the knee area are exposed to a lot of wear and stress, however, the patches will not stay on the jeans long-term unless a simple whip-stitch is added around the border of the patch. This type of stitching does not require a sewing machine and is fairly simple to do, even without prior knowledge of sewing techniques. An iron-on patch with a whip stitch around the edge will last indefinitely.
For kid's jeans, appliques can make the patches seem "cool." Add a simple whip-stitch around the patch to help secure it and to give the jeans a finished look. For longer lasting appliques, use cotton fabric with cute designs and fusible web - my own four year old son has had superhero knee patches on his jeans that have lasted for six months (until he outgrew the jeans)! Kids can choose their own iron-on appliques to add to the patches: get a designer look for pennies!
Repair Jeans with Iron On Patches
Cut the Jean Patch
Purchase an iron-on patch at a department or craft store. Colorful patches can lend an artistic and unique feel to the jeans, but most iron-on patches come in denim shades. For denim iron-on patches, try to find a patch which matches the general shade of the jeans.
Cut the patch to fit the hole or tear in the jeans. Make sure the patch overlaps the ripped area, for complete coverage. Cut any shape, making sure all corners are rounded.Do not cut the patch into a square with sharp corners, as corners are likely to become detached from the underlying fabric.
Prepare the Work Space
Get out the iron and turn it on. Follow the instructions that come with the iron-on patch: generally a high setting (to Cotton) is required. Let the iron get hot, and place the pants on the ironing board. Place a strip of paper into the leg of the jeans, so that the fusible web of the iron-on patch does not adhere to the back of the pant leg.
Iron on the Jean Patch
Make sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric or patch, and press the iron down onto the patch. Press the patch and jeans according to the directions that came with the iron-on patch: generally this requires pressing with a hot iron for about 30 seconds. Once this step is complete, the paper can be removed from the jeans.
Applique the Iron-On Jean Patch
Iron-on Appliques can be found in many designs. For kid's jeans, let children have a say in the applique patterns that go on the jeans.
Follow the iron-on applique directions, and apply the applique to the jean patch. This usually involves pre-warming the jeans with the iron, then placing the applique. Place a thin cotton cloth on top of the applique, and press with an iron for about 20 seconds to tack the applique in place.
Turn the Jeans Inside Out
For jean patches with an applied applique, turn the jeans inside-out. Heat the backside of the patch and applique for another 30 seconds, to set the applique. The old tear can be seen once the jeans have been turned inside-out, and is nicely fused to the new, strong patch.
Optional: Whip-Stitch the Jean Patch
While not absolutely required, the jean patch will look much better if a stitched border is applied. Simply get a long length of thread, tie a knot in the end, and do a simple whip-stitch around the patch border. This will help secure the patch to the jeans, especially important when patching the knees of jeans that belong to small boys.
Helpful Hints: Iron-On Appliques
- Do not add bleach to any wash load containing appliques. The bleach will permanently fade any applique.
- Wash garments containing appliques in cold water, with the garment turned inside out.
- Most iron-on appliques may be placed in the dryer, but check the instructions on the individual applique prior to purchasing. Some appliques are higher quality than others! Always turn garments inside out prior to drying.
Patch Jeans Before Holes Appear
It might be a good idea to apply patches prior to holes becoming evident. This allows the patch to be placed on the inside of the pants, which will make the hole and patch less evident. Simply turn the pants inside-out and apply the patch with an iron on the area that is worn. As the original denim area wears through, the patch will already be in place to reinforce the area.
Superhero Knee Patches
Use Fabric Instead of Appliques
Sometimes, three-dimensional appliques will simply not stay on knee patches - even if they are sewed in place. Children tend to crawl and slide on their knees, causing the appliques to get torn off. In this case, another solution is at hand.
Purchase fabric with a child-pleasing print. Fabric with Hot Wheels, superheroes, and many other designs can be found at a local arts and crafts store. Choose fabric with a small, repeating pattern that can be cut out. While at the arts and crafts store, purchase some fusible web - this is often found near the appliques in the sewing aisle.
- Roughly cut out around the desired shape in the fabric. Make sure the item will fit neatly onto the knee patch.
- Cut out a piece of fusible web to roughly fit the fabric shape.
- Peel off one side of the fusible web paper. Place the rough-cut fabric object onto the fusible web.
- Use sharp scissors and cut the fabric and fusible web carefully, leaving no rough edges. This is the final "look" of the picture you are going to iron on to the pants.
- Peel off the paper on the backside of the fusible web, and place the fabric onto the knee patch.
- Using an iron with steam, iron the fabric/fusible web onto the knee patch for a full 30 seconds on high heat.
- Once complete, do not dry the jeans with a fabric sheet, as the chemicals in the fabric sheet might cause the fusible web to detach over time.