Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Make do and mend

My favorite pair of cargo pants have been sitting in the drawer unworn for months, thanks to an unexpected tear that developed on the left leg. As I was looking through photos, I realized that the last time I wore them might have been on my honeymoon!

Us enjoying our trip to Tybee Island, Georgia

For whatever reason, it's taken me this long to get around to fixing them. It's silly really, because it took me less than thirty minutes once I actually sat down and did it. 

I figure that if I felt overwhelmed with a little mending project, maybe some of you would feel that way too. Well, I'm here to tell you that making your own iron-on patch is simple! All you need is a few basic supplies and less than half an hour.

What you need
+ scissors
+ pinking shears (optional)
+ coordinating fabric
+ double-sided fusible webbing (ex: Pellon 805 Wonder Under)
+ iron and ironing board
+ sleeve board (or a makeshift sleeve board)
+ press cloth

Make the patch
Eye ball the size of the hole and cut a piece of fabric that's at least 1" larger in each direction. Cut a piece of fusible webbing that's a tad smaller, so that you don't end up with adhesive on your ironing board cover. 

Follow the manufacturer's instructions and fuse the webbing to the fabric. For me, this meant putting the bumpy side of the fusible face down on the fabric and then pressing with a hot dry iron for 5-8 seconds. (Sorry -- no picture of this part!)

 Let the piece cool before you handle it, so that the glue can set up. Use your scissors or pinking shears to trim the patch. Pinking the edges will help make sure that your patch doesn't start to unravel after repeated washings. Finally, peel off the paper backing.

Mending and making do

Iron on the patch
Turn your project inside out and head over to the ironing board. If you're fixing pants like I was, you'll need a flat surface that you can slide inside the pant leg. I used a sleeve board, but you could also use a scrap piece of 2x4 wrapped in a towel.

Mending and making do

Next, position the patch over the hole. Spend a little extra time lining up the raw edges of the hole and making sure that any torn threads will lie flat once the patch is in place.

Mending and making do

Use a damp press cloth and a hot iron to fuse the patch, pressing firmly across the entire surface for 10 to 12 seconds.  The press cloth is just a piece of muslin that I wet under the faucet and then wrung out so that it was just damp. You can see that I chose to pin the bottom half of the patch and fuse the top half first, since I wanted to make sure that the patch wouldn't shift as I was fusing.

Mending and making do

Once the top half of the patch was fused, I removed the pin and fused the bottom half. Don't forget to use a section of the press cloth that's still damp.

Mending and making do

And voila! Here's what the finished patch looks like on the inside.

Mending and making do

And here's a shot of me wearing the newly mended pants. I debated about whether or not to reinforce the patch with some topstitching, but I decided that I'd wash the pants a few times and see how it holds up. I can always go back later and add reinforcement.

Mending and making do

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