Just like my Mom and other countless women progenitors before us, I have a gigantic meding pile. :) I'm actually quite proud of it. It's a symbol of my resourcefulness, talent and thriftyness, but only if I actually mend the clothing languishing in there once in a while! :)
So, one day I decided to sort the mending pile. I made a "would take 2 seconds" pile, "would take quite a while, but is still worth it pile," "oops, they've grown out of it" pile and a "not worth saving" pile. Miraculously, there was only about 2 things in the "oops they've grown out of it pile." That has previously been know to be a large portion of the mending pile, unfortunately. The biggest pile (by far!) was the "would take 2 seconds" pile. Split seams mostly. I sat down that day and put a bunch of beloved clothes back into circulation... you know, the one that goes body, floor, laundry hamper, washer, dryer, laundry basket, drawer, floor, drawer, body, floor, etc. :)
Another very large portion of the mending pile pie chart were pants with torn knees. They mostly belonged to my girls, but I only expect that to last as long as the cold weather does. Once my boys are outside more often, so their jeans will also land in the mending pile with ripped knees. I've tried several different strategies to ripped knees. Cutting them off, those pre-glued iron-on patches you buy at the store that are the same color denim as the jeans were new which they most decidedly aren't any more, putting fabric behind the tear and zig zagging back and forth and back and forth. The ones that they always end up loving the most are when the patch shows and becomes part of the fashion statement of the pants.
So, this time I took a scrap of some really, really cute fabric that was already printed in blocks with cute animals on some and other patterns on others. Then I ironed the fabric, un-cut, to some scraps of wonder under I had tucked away. When I cut them apart, I had my own patches that were MUCH bigger than the puny ones at the store that are cute, but aren't made to cover a seam to seam tear in a pant leg. Before ironing my new patches to the pants, I performed some pre-surgery surgery by zig zagging the frayed edges of the holes together and trimming the really frayed stuff off.
Wonder under is not strong enough to be its own patch. At least not strong enough by my standards. To me, wonder under is a way to hold something in place until you can sew it down. So, I ironed my patches to cover the recent zig zagged scars on the pant legs and sewed them around the edges and with a big X from corner to corner. I decided to use filament thread that is transparent so that I didn't have to change thread a hundred times or have the thread distract from the cute fabric since I sewed right through the middle of them.
Now, I know that the cotton fabric on the denim fabric will not last as long and will probably get torn through again before the pants are outgrown. But then I will just add more cotton fabric patches over the top and they can be play pants until they are high waters. They like these better than if I spent the money on brand new ones anyway!