5 Clever Ideas for Mending Your Kids’ Clothes

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Running, jumping, dancing, playing, falling down and getting back up again. It’s all part of the magic of childhood, and it’s all pretty darn hard on your kids' clothes. Patch up those holes or cover any stubborn stains with five ideas that are totally not square.

Embroidered lace patch

Jean knee rips, meet your match.

You'll need:

  • Lace or embroidered patches
  • Invisible thread
  • Hand sewing needle

Step 1

Have your child try on the jeans, especially if they stretch, and measure the size of the hole when formed to her leg.

If the hole stretches when worn, place piece of cardboard inside the leg to hold the rip at its stretched size. Pin it in place.

Step 2

Find or buy lace patches large enough to cover the hole. Or, mix and match several smaller ones to cover the surface area.

Pin patches over the rip.

Step 3

Stitch the patch edges to the outside of the jeans. Then, stitch any overlapping patches together where the edges meet.

Stretchable balloon patch

The key to fixing leggings? A patch that stretches right along with 'em. Genius!

You'll need:

  • Knit fabric scraps
  • Fusible knit interfacing
  • Iron
  • Removable fabric marker
  • Matching embroidery floss or thread
  • Hand sewing needle

Step 1

Follow the directions on the fusible knit interfacing packaging to apply it as backing on an oversize scrap of knit fabric, being sure to match up the direction of the stretch.

Step 2

Press the hole and fuse a small piece of fusible interfacing over the rip on the right side of the garment to close it and hold it flat.

Step 3

Draw and cut out a patch shape large enough to fit over the hole you are patching. Use a balloon, a star, or whatever you kid likes! Place the patch on the right side of the fabric over the hole and pin around the edges.

Step 4

Stitch around the shape with a hand-sewn stretch stitch. Sewing clockwise, take small, right-to-left stitches around the edge of the shape, alternating between the shape and the garment. Don’t pull the thread too tight or the patch will not stretch with the knit garment.

If desired, add embroidered details, like a running stitch to draw a string for the balloon.

Leather cat patch

Sometimes you need a little extra reinforcement, especially at heavy-wear spots like elbows and knees. One simple and stylish solution: Use leather. (This material is better, however, for garments that don't need to stretch.)

You'll need:

  • Leather or vegan leather scraps
  • Matching thread
  • Leather needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors

Step 1

Turn the garment inside out and un-pick the seam near the stain or hole. This will allow you to stitch the patch with your sewing machine. Leave it open at least 4″ above and below the area you will patch.

Step 2

Cut out the patch shapes. And be creative: You can even cut out multiple separate shapes for fun ad-ons like these cat ears. (Just be sure to make your additional shapes large enough that a portion of it can be sewn underneath or over your main patch when stitching the edge.)

Step 3:

Lay the patch in place on the right side of the garment. Adhere all the pieces in place temporarily with basting spray or a school glue stick. Do not use pins, as they will leave permanent holes in your patch.

Step 4

Edgestitch around the patch using a leather needle and your sewing machine. Then stitch the garment back together along the seam.

Contrasting patch pocket

This is the next best thing to actually getting a stain out...simply add a pocket to cover it up. (Extra points if you choose a cool, contrasting print or color!)

You'll need:

  • Patch pocket
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread

Step 1

Choose a fabric, making sure to use a woven pocket for a knit garment or vice versa. This is a great use for some scrap fabric, as long as it’s large enough to cover the stain or hole!

Step 2

Make the patch pocket following these instructions from our friends at Craftsy. Pin the pocket over the hole or stain.

Step 3

Stitch around the side and bottom edge to attach the pocket. Make sure to use a ballpoint needle if you are stitching through a knit garment.

Colorful scrap patches with decorative stitches

This more-traditional patch ups the cuteness-factor with colorful fabrics and whimsical stitching.

You'll need:

  • Pre-washed scraps of fabric
  • Embroidery floss
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Scissors

Step 1

Cut one or several scraps of fabric large enough to patch the hole or cover a stain. If the garment is stretchy, try it on to make sure the scraps will still cover the area when the clothing is stretched. Pin the scraps to your fabric as desired, or temporarily glue them on with basting spray or a water-soluble glue stick.

Step 2

Use embroidery stitches to attach the patch to the garment. Choose a contrasting thread color to make the stitches pop! Try running stitches, X or plus sign shapes to add more interest to the design. Have some fun with it!

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