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Knee Patches & Reinforcing Kid's Clothes
Victoria White, The Secret Workshop

Sooner or later, most people who sew for children will run into the problem of worn out knees. That much loved pair of pants will suddenly start to wear out at the one place children spend so much of their time. It is good to know that worn out knees can be both fixed and prevented, making everyone happy.

The problem of holes in knees can be dealt with in two ways. The pants can be constructed with reinforced knees, adding extra strength to the knee area, or the knee can be patched after wear has begun.

Before you begin constructing a new pair of pants, consider the extra amount of wear the knees may receive and plan for it. Reinforce the knee areas before they wear out by working knee patches into the design. Knee patches can be placed either on the inside or the outside of the pant leg, giving the knee area an extra bit of strength right from the start. Placing patches on the outside allows you to customize your design and colour scheme.

Repairing worn out knees is easily done by fusing a patch onto the knee area either on the inside or outside of the pant. I often use a product like Wonder Under® which is a double side fuser. This product acts like interfacing but instead of having only one fusible surface, both surfaces are fusible. This allows you to iron a patch in place quickly and easily. If you are wanting to fuse a patch to the knee area make sure the pants you are working with are clean. Make the patch slightly larger than the worn out section. Try to leave at least 1" (2.5 cm) all the way around the hole or tear. Place the patch over the area and press into place. The patch is now attached to the fabric. To ensure the patch stays in place, you might then want to run zigzag or decorative stitching around the edge.

When you are patching, there are lots of options available other than the basic patches offered in many stores. Decorative patches are not only great to look at but also do a good job of reinforcing the knee area. Try making patches shaped like teddy bears, footballs, rainbows, soccer balls, skates, spiders, kites and lots more. To continue the "look", tie the design of the patch into the design of the outfit or add an additional patch where it really isn't required. This type of patch could also be "stuffed" with a batting to make it stand out. Patches can also be incorporated into the design of the garment with colour blocking. Why not add patches that run the length of the pant front and attach into either side seam of the pants. These patches can be made from similar or very different fabrics. Don't stop there, now make patches that run in a diagonal from top side seams to bottom side seams. When legs are together, there will be a giant "v" as the patches on each leg line up.

Patches do not need to be hidden on the inside of the pants. Let them come out with quick and easy fusible patches that can be both functional and fun to wear. The children will love the way you fixed their favourite pants!

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