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Patch Your Way Pretty With Cool Clothing Patches

Updated on June 2, 2009

Julie Andrews knew what she was doing when she cut up the old curtains and made play clothes for the children in “Sound of Music.” It's been a while since most people considered making their own clothing, or being frugal with their clothing instead of just tossing old clothes away and buying new ones.

This is partially because the relative cost of material, the cost of sweatshop labor and therefore, the relative cost of new clothing has plummeted over the years. For so long it has just been easier to get a new pair of jeans than to fix your old pair. The recession has made many of us rethink our wild consumer ways however, and look for ways to get the most use and wear out of our clothing before we consign it to the trash.

Going old school is one way to get the most out of clothing, you can be sure our grandmothers didn't throw out perfectly good clothes just because they got a hole in them, no, they would simply patch the hole. Back then the process was a wee bit on the painstaking side, (it could have taken at least half an hour, if you can fathom such a thing,) but living in the new millennium might not have brought us all our own rocket ships, but it has brought with it a new range of ways to fix holes and patch clothing.

Iron On

You don't even need to own a needle and thread to use a great deal of patches either, you simply peel off the backing and iron those suckers on. The iron creates a strong heat seal which can extend the life of your clothing by years.

Make Your Own Patches

If you have old t-shirts or sweatshirts with logos or designs you like, you can turn these into patches with just a little bit of effort. Simply cut out the design (leaving enough space around it to turn the edges in and sew a clean edge onto your clothing, fold the edges until your patch reaches the required shape, pin the edges so they don't move during the sewing process, and sew that baby on. You can use a sewing machine, or it can be equally as effective, and even more fun to sew patches on by hand.

Patches need not be sourced from clothing, you can make patches from any kind of material. If you want a particularly 'hip' look, why not check out local charity stores for old scarves, jackets, tablecoths and other material items which have been discarded in favor of newer items. You can create some really pretty patches from old materials, and it's not a bad way to spend a weekend afternoon either.


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    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 8 years ago from Arizona

      Yet another great hub!

      Growing up the son of a man who had 12 brothers and 4 sisters during the depression era, the art of do for yourself was instilled in me. My father worked for Singer Sewing Machine, after his discharge from the USMC, as a repair man. It was an era when the "sweat shop" garment factories were a mainstay of employment in the southern states. He learned to sew in the process.

      In turn it was one of many things I learned from him while growing up. As far as I'm concerned, tattered and patched is a "style" that will never die. My wife and I maintain a sewing room with 3 antique sewing machines, one heavy enough to sew leather and canvas. Recently we added a computor controlled machine that will do custom embroidery, too cool. When patching alot of my clothing I strive to bring the patch as the item that draws ones attention.

      Now custom embroidered patches are like bumper stickers on the bum of my jeans. All should enjoy this while extending the life of a fifty dollar pair of jeans.