How to repair pants that have ripped in the knee. Using the right fabric allows you to patch pants so they aren’t as likely to rip again. You can add padding. You can also add length to the pants to extend their life.
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I have a couple of issues with kids’ clothing. First, my oldest is tall and skinny so he always outgrows his pants in length before he outgrows them in waist. Second, the knees NEVER last with him. He’s so busy all the time. I’m sure my second will have the same issue, but for the moment his clothes are okay.
I don’t like to throw clothes away unnecessarily and I prefer to fix items when possible. But when I tried to put patches on there, it was difficult to sew them on well (with a machine because forget hand sewing) and they didn’t last long otherwise. He’s just too hard on them.
So I came up with my own plan to fix the knees. I decided to reinforce the knee area by removing the worn fabric. I also added a bit of length to extend their life.
I’ve done this a couple of ways:
Method 1: Replacing the knee area with a thicker fabric. I try to pick something that will be comfortable, but still thick enough to last.
Method 2: Two layer with fleece on the inside and a cotton on the outside. This is nice if you want to add padding and thickness to the knee area. It’s also nice because you can add fun fabrics. I haven’t found a lot of good fabrics for Method 1 that have fun designs.
Thoughts Durability of Various Knee Patching Methods
I’ve tried making my own patches and had very little luck. My son wears out the jean fabric of his pants so it’s nothing for him to wear through a patch… or for the patch to fall off. Iron on patches alone do not do the job. Sewing them on is better, but I found that it was difficult to sew around a patch in the middle of the leg of the pants. Impossible. I could have hand sewn, naturally, but that seems even more time consuming than replacing the knee area so I’m not going to bother. My hand sewing is atrocious and slow.
I’m interested to see how these methods compare in the long term for durability.
The one thing to consider is fabric choice when you fix the pants. A thin fabric that can easily rip will not be as ideal as a durable fabric. But more durability can mean the fabric is less comfortable or less flexible too. Flexibility might allow for stretching instead of ripping in some cases.
For my son, he is always kneeling on wood, gravel, rock, pavement, etc. so I anticipate the issue is wear and not stretch. My patches were designed on the assumption that I needed sturdier fabric choices, although method 2 was my first try and I worry that the cotton will wear fast (so far so good).
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- Method 1: Thicker, but still comfortable fabric.
- Method 2: Cotton fabric (something that coordinates and that your kid will love!) or Flannel, Fleece fabric
- All your normal sewing supplies
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Method 1: One Layer Knee Replacement for Ripped Knees on Pants
The two long sides can be made much bigger if you want to add extra length to the pants. I just make sure that I cut it so it will be taller than the original cut, even after the seam allowance.
Method 2: Two layer, padded knee patch for ripped knees.
At this point, you can just sew them on, as you did in method 1. These are definitely the cuter option for fabric choices… and they’d stood up pretty well so far. But method 1 was faster.
Here’s a quick video showing the process:
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