Today we’re sewing knee patches for kids’ pants before they’re even holes!

With 3 boys I have seen my share of knee holes in pants. I often joke that boys are professional hole makers. I once sat with a pair of (no joke) 18 pairs of pants to add patches to (too much frustration and sore fingers). With adult pants, it’s pretty easy to maneuver patches under a machine. Those tiny leg toddler pants, not so much.

If you’re sewing pants for your kids from a pattern in the first place, it’s super easy to add a patch to the knees. Here is my road tested way I sew knee patches onto my boys’ pants before even 1 ragged thread shows itself.

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Supplies for sewing knee patches

  • your favorite kids’ pants pattern (I’m using True Bias Mini Hudson pants)
  • ruler
  • tracing paper
  • fusible knit interfacing
  • fabric as required by your pattern, + a little extra for the patches: you can probably cut these from scraps of your main fabric
  • iron
  • contrast thread

Make your knee patch pattern

Grab the front piece of your pants pattern. First we need to find the knee location on the pattern. Some patterns have it marked with a line, but a lot do not.

To find the knee line, fold the hem line to the crotch vertically. The fold is your knee line. In my case, I had to pin on the hem cuff.

marking knee line to sew knee patches

Now, it may be that the pattern’s knee line is not your child’s. I’m usually of the “they’ll grow into it” school, but feel free to move the line to where your child’s actual knee is.

Draw a line 3″ above this line and 3″ below this line. Make the lines closer together for a smaller child. For example, I made a patch that was 5″ tall for my youngest son.

Next trace over the lines you just drew plus the side seam and inseam. Add a notch line at the knee line so you can line up the patch later. Cut out your knee patch pattern piece.

Cut out your knee patches

Next cut 2 knee patches from your main fabric. You could use contrast fabric here if you’d like. My boys love contrast bits on pajamas.

notching patch before you sew knee patches

Next, fold the patches vertically to find the middle. Add notches right on those folds. I usually cut tiny notches with my scissors into the edge. You can cut your notches outwards if that’s your jam.

adding interfacing to sew knee patches

Cut fusible interfacing for your patches. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of your patches with your iron. Use the hottest setting for the fabric you’re using with steam.

While you’re there at your ironing board, press back 1/4″ on the top and bottom of the patches on the wrong side.

Now we get to sew the knee patches.

Add the knee patches to your pants fronts

If you haven’t already, cut out the fronts of your pants pattern. Add that same notch at the knee that you marked earlier.

pinning before you sew knee patches

Center a knee patch on one of the fronts, matching up your notches and pin it. Pin your other knee patch in place.

Sew knee patches to the fronts

Thread up your machine with contrast thread. Stitch down the top and bottom of the knee patch close to the pressed edge. Baste the sides down.

topstithed knee patch

From here, use your machine foot’s width as a guide, make more rows of stitching across the patch. You could make other designs like concentric ovals or zigzags or other things too. I got a little creative with the sharks!

The point is to secure the patch down and add extra strength because boy howdy you know it’s going to be tested!

kids' knee patches

Sew the second knee patch the same way.

Finish up your pants

Sew up your pants according to your pattern from there.

kids' knee patches

And that is how you beef up your kids’ pants by sewing knee patches. When I’ve used this method for my boys’ pants, they’ve lasted on average about 4x as long as their store-bought pants. I can’t sew all of their pants, but it’s nice to know that the ones I spend the time on are getting the max amount of wear!

Are you a mender or a preventative stitcher?

This tutorial is part of #sewmanpants, a month long challenge in September focusing on sewing for boys and men of all ages. Check out the prizes and the rules here.

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