Rue How-To: DIY Elbow Patches

There’s a reason we continually pack up our favorite seasonal items to take into the next year – we love them. But, truth be told, even our favorite pieces can lose their appeal after a while. Instead of trashing them and splurging on a new wooly number (although this may be a tempting option), give your cozy sweaters and perfectly worn-in jackets (not to mention your long-sleeve tees) new life with elbow patches.

The best part about this little update? You can use practically anything for your patches, from leather and suede to fun cotton prints and corduroy – or, like me, you can buy a cheap pair of socks with a print you like. If you’re looking to also up the sweet factor, cut your patches into shapes like hearts or stars instead of ovals. Okay – enough with the options, here’s how you do it:

Materials:

Any top of your choice. Be wary about it pairing well with your patch material. For instance, thick leather patches wouldn’t be comfortable on a thin cotton shirt.

A 6″ x 5″ piece of material for patches

Thread that matches the color of your patch material (or contrasting thread for an edgy look)

Sewing needle

Straight pins

Flour

Scissors

Directions:

  1. Cut your patch material to size. The 6″ x 5″ piece makes two approximately 4″ patches – for bigger patches start with a 9″ x 8″ piece.
  2. Fold in half, and then in half again and use the scissors to cut and round the edges. Open fabric up and cut down the middle to separate the two pieces, and clean up the edges of each individually.
  3. Put on your top and mark where elbow bends with flour. Simply dip your finger into flour and mark the spot – chalk will also work.
  4. Remove your top and secure each patch with straight pins over the marked elbow spots. Be sure to position the patch with the marked spot in the middle. Note that the straight needles should only poke through one layer of the sleeve – you don’t want to sew them closed.
  5. Measure a full arm’s length of thread and string through the needle, securing the two ends together. Put your free hand up the sleeve (to ensure you don’t attach the sleeves together) and start sewing. (Don’t know how to sew? Start here.) I recommend a top-sewing stitch, but a simple straight stitch would also work.
  6. Once sewn all around, tie off the thread and snip any loose ends. Repeat on other sleeve.

 

That’s it! The whole process takes no more than an hour and the result is a practically brand new piece of clothing. I went with a festive ski-lodge look – and plan to wear it with leggings and cozy boots all winter long.

By Abigail Kuzia, Editor

Have a great DIY idea? Share it in the comments below, or tweet us @ruelala.

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November 9, 2012