How To Successfully Patch Your Pants In 7 Steps

A torn jacket is soon mended... - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Like jackets, torn pants can be quickly patched... when you know the right way to do it. Although it may seem simple, fixing torn pants correctly requires knowledge of a few important tricks that will save your time and improve your results. By following these seven steps, you can successfully patch your pants and greatly increase their useful lifetime.

1. Prepare

As with any project, planning is essential. Before you start, read through all the steps so you have a good idea of what you will be doing. In addition, use this preparation step to gather all the needed supplies and gear: Materials
  • Iron-on Patch
  • Thread
  • Pants (preferably with a hole)
  • Seam Ripper
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Sewing Machine
Make sure that your patch and thread match the pants you will be repairing.

2. Iron Your Pants

Before you start the actual patching process, take a moment to iron the area around the hole or tear.  Although this is not absolutely necessary, it will make your job easier by removing wrinkles that could get in the way. Even before you iron, however, you need to make sure your pants (or at least the part you are patching) are clean. If your pants are dirty, you will be faced with three options:
  • Clean with a washing machine (Significant chance of enlarging tear).
  • Clean with a wash cloth (Slight problem drying/not as efficient as machine).
  • Don’t clean at all (Significant chance of ironing on dirt).
None of the choices are great, but using a wet cloth to wash by hand is probably the best choice.

Interlude: Determine Your Priorities

Now that your pants are clean and ironed, you are ready to start the actual patching process. At this point, you will be faced with a choice:
  • Is your priority appearance or durability?
If you choose appearance… …skip steps three, five, and six. Although your repair will not be as permanent, this method will leave fewer visible signs of patching. If you choose durability… …continue through all the steps. By sewing your patch, you will increase its lifetime, but you will also make the patch more noticeable.

3. Remove The Seam

To make your patch as strong as possible, you will be using a sewing machine to secure the patch in step five. However, to get a sewing machine arm to reach your hole, you will first need to partially remove your pants’ seam. After turning your pants inside out, use a seam ripper to cut the seam next to the hole. Make sure to open it enough that you can easily reach the tear with a sewing machine. Once this is done, the part of your pants surrounding the hole should be completely open.

4. Apply The Patch

With your patch and iron in hand, follow these three simple steps:
  1. Cut your patch to match the shape of your tear - with at least a half-inch overlap on every edge.
  2. Place the patch on the inside of your pants (so it does not show as much)
  3. Finally, iron your patch to the new fabric.
Normally, you will need to hold the iron over the patch for about sixty seconds to develop a good bond, but check the specific directions for your patch. Never let your iron directly touch the sticky side of the patch because this can ruin your iron. If you need to iron over this part of the patch (i.e., if you have a hole rather than a tear), place a scrap of white material between the iron and patch to protect your equipment. Also, remember that an iron-on patch is, at best, a temporary fix. Although it will quickly and easily repair your pants, an iron-on patch by itself will need to be replaced in the near future. To make it a more permanent solution, reinforce your new patch as explained in step five.

5. Reinforce The Patch

To make your patch more permanent, use your sewing machine to secure the patch to the pants. First, sew a single row of stitches around the entire patch. Second, use a zig-zag stitch (if your machine has one) to sew the patch on more securely. This will also help to keep your patch from fraying.

6. Reset The Seam

With the same stitch patterns that were originally used, sew your pants' seam shut again. Be careful to do this accurately, or you could damage the shape and fit of your pants.

7. Iron Your Pants

Now that your patch is applied and your pants are re-sewn, you have one final step to complete: ironing your pants. Simply use an iron to quickly remove any wrinkles in your pants and to make your patch crease properly.

You're Done!

Congratulations on your completed patch! Have you patched your pants before?