Saturday, May 11

Elbow patches!

One of the men in my family has worn out the elbows of several of his shirts in such a way that they have small tears in the fabric. Rather than replace them all, he asked if I would put elbow patches on them to extend their lives. Here's how I did it.

First, I made a pattern by cutting an oval from cardstock using my Silhouette.  After some trial and error, I decided that about 4 inches wide and 6 inches long would work best.

I pinned my pattern to the fabric to be used for the patch and cut roughly (you can see) about 1/2 inch around the pattern.

Then I sewed a basting stitch about 1/8" from the edge.

Then I went to the ironing board. I placed my pattern in the middle of the patch and pulled up the basting stitches to draw the excess fabric in around my pattern. (This is why it's helpful to use cardstock for the pattern.)

Then I pressed this with steam then I placed my point presser on top to hold the crease while it cooled. Really, any weight would do for this task.

Because I had several shirts to do and I was assembly-lining the task, I found it helpful to use two patterns. That way, one was cooling while I pressed the next one.

After pressing, I trimmed away excess fabric by cutting just inside the basting line.

Before placing the patch on the sleeve, I wanted to secure the torn area so it wouldn't continue to tear under the patch.  Stitching would probably show marks when ironing, so I decided to use one of my favorite tools: iron-on web for hemming.

I cut a strip a little longer than the tear and centered it over the tear, making sure that the sleeve was smooth and the sides of the tear were pulled close together.  Then I placed a sheet of that non-stick plastic that comes in so handy when working with iron-on web over the sleeve and pressed.

 Then I carefully pinned the patch to the shirt sleeve.  I found it helpful to insert a small cutting board inside the sleeve so that I wouldn't pin through both layers of the sleeve.

I used one that I use with scrapbooking punches.  It never ceases to amaze me how often tools cross over from one hobby to another!

Of course, a piece of cardboard would probably work just as well.

Finally, I stitched the patch on to the sleeve. This is a tricky, tight area to sew, especially when sewing in an oval. I find it helpful to use the "needle-down" setting on my machine and, of course, to go slowly.

A couple of the patches were sewn on using a straight stitch close to the edge. This looks nice, I think.  But I was concerned about durability, so I decided to do the rest with a small (2&2) zigzag.

After stitching, I gave each patch a final press. This ensured that the sleeve with the tear was ironed to the patch where I placed the fusible web earlier.

Here's the picture he took showing him wearing one of the patched shirts:

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