Personalized Knee Patches

Jeans with broken snap replaced with a button.

You may remember these jeans from last January when I posted this tutorial about how to replace a broken snap with a button. (That repair job is still holding quite well, by the way.)

Well these jeans have seen heavy usage over the months. Because they were so long on him initially they fit perfectly now that we no longer cuff them up. Unfortunately the knees were giving out. I could tell at the last washing that with one more wear we’d have some impressive holes unless I acted right away.

I rather like these patches… and more importantly so does Eli. If your kid is going to wear patched clothing, the repair might as well add a fun element, right?

Here are a couple of close up shots of Eli’s new knee-art.

Eli’s not big on greetings. He needs to warm up before talking to people. Perhaps his jeans can go beyond the call of just providing for his warmth, protection and modesty and take on a bit of the pressure of social greeting expectations as well. Most likely though they’ll just give his knees a new degree of cuteness.

I didn’t think to photograph the making of the knee patches because I wasn’t thinking about blogging or tutorials when I made them… I just wanted to save a favorite pair of jeans. But after they were done I thought they’d be fun to share. If you are currently pitching worn jeans or buying those stiff iron on patches you might be interested in this sloppily sketched carefully hand-drawn tutorial.

I like this method because it doesn’t cost anything when I just use left-over scraps of cloth, is a double layer allowing me to use cute cloth that wouldn’t be strong enough to do a patch job on it’s own, and the patches are really soft, unlike the iron on patches used during my childhood (I saw they still sell those things in the fabric store).

Step 1

Cut out two pieces of fabric large enough to cover the hole or weak spot in the knee adding and extra 1/4″ all the way around.

Step 2

Place the fabric right sides together and sew around leaving a gap in the sewing on one side through which you will turn it right side out. When done snip off the corners to reduce bulk.

Step 3

Turn right side out. The strange looking pen marks to the left symbolize the gap where you didn’t sew.

Step 4

Tuck the raw edges of the fabric into the gap, pin and then top stitch all the way around the patch.

Step 5

Hand sew the patch onto the pants using a blind stitch. Be careful not to sew the front of the jeans to the back of the jeans as you do this. This is a good task to do while relaxing in front of the TV at night.


You probably want to do any embellishing at the end of step 4 and before the patch is sewn onto the jeans. I didn’t with these… the idea presented itself after I had completed the repair job. It really wasn’t difficult to do even though I had already sewn on the patches. You can embroider, add an applique or a store-bought embroidered patch (you know, the decorative kind), or you could stencil on a design with fabric paint and freezer paper. Or, if you chose to use some really cute cloth you could just leave well enough alone.

So, go forth and save some holey jeans! (You know there are at least a couple of pair in the bottom of your kid’s drawer.)

Here’s where I’m linking up:


I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

jembellish clothes upcycling pageBlissful and Domestic,


Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little Birds,  C.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday


Not Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerHome Stories A to Z, Tell Me TuesdayCrafty Confessions,

Homemade Tuesday, Tuesday To DoToday’s Assignment,

Antiprocrastination TuesdayTake-a-Look Tuesday,  Nifty Thrifty Tuesday,

The Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and SchwinHeart and Soul Blog Hop


Sew Much AdoFrugally Sustainable,  Lil’ LunaSomeday CraftsWhimsy

WednesdayWhatcha Work Up Wednesday


Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,


Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projects

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Naptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Artsy Mama,


The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal



  1. Maysem said,

    November 12, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Those are the cutest patches! I love how you embellished them. I tend to have to patch up Suraya’s pants quite often… one pair is full of patches and not just on the knees…and some patches on the old patches! But they were hand me downs from Susu so I would say they’ve made it pretty far.. and the patches just added character to I use whatever fabric scraps I have too. 🙂

    • November 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      I love the look of patches over patches! Perhaps when Eli stops growing out of his stuff so fast we can do that too. Right now I know these pants will be too small by the time these patches are worn through. I bet the heavily patched pants of Suraya are so soft and comfy to her!

  2. ReStitch Me said,

    November 12, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Very cute! 🙂

  3. November 13, 2012 at 9:14 am

    So cute! Love the little robot. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.

  4. Nina said,

    November 13, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Aw that is the cutest little robot!

  5. Heather said,

    November 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    so cute!!!

  6. thegrantlife said,

    November 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Super cute Karen! What a great way to get more use out of a pair of jeans! 🙂

  7. Linne said,

    November 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    One easy way to keep fron sewing the front and back of the leg together is to insert either a large pop bottle (surely you have a distant friend who still drinks the stuff!) or a rolled up magazine or two (don’t use this if you like to keep and re-use your magazines – the cover can get quite scratched up!). My Mum used the rolled up magazines a lot – worked just like a darning egg in your sock.

  8. Roxie said,

    November 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Those are very cute. I have put a patch on many pairs of jeans over the years. I have 2 adult sons and 3 grandsons. I make my patch at the knee a little different than yours. I ‘unsew’ (rip out) the seam on each side of the hole. Cut the patch to size. (I use old pants that are no longer wearable) and sew it into place on top of the pants. Then I resew the side seams. Now the patch will stay in place 100% of the time. I never use those stiff iron on things…they never worked for my kids.

  9. November 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I never thought or heard of doing a double layer patch like that–great idea!

  10. Ana Lopes said,

    November 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    So cure idea!!! I love the embroidered!
    Happy week!

    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  11. Natasha said,

    November 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

    that little robot is the cutest!!

  12. Elise said,

    November 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    How cute, you’re so crafty! Would love it if you linked up on my blog hop Also let me know if you’d like to follow each other!

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