DIY Denim Patchwork

All you need are some pants, and some patches.

“What a cool chick,” said the attractive dude to his friends as he casually pointed in my direction. Grumpy, hot, and cramped on this 100 degree subway car, I deliriously smiled and nodded as he continued, “Seriously, Tweety Bird was always so rad.”

Ohhhh. He literally meant chick as in the giant Loony Toon bird adorning my denim vest. Cool.

This vest I sported last summer was my re-initiation into the world of patchwork denim. It was nostalgic and bizarre, hearkening back to the 6 years I spent as a Girl Scout, stuffing my face with thin mints and poking my fingers with needles, all while attempting to sew on patches rightfully earned from attending sock hops.

I hoarded a collection of patches for years — some from my Girl Scout days, some from swap meets, and some pilfered from my brother’s Boy Scout shirt. But when Junya Watanabe’s patchy denim popped up all over our street style roundups, Leandra began to take note that the trend was about more than just one pair of jeans — there was a whole mass of them. And suddenly, my once-purposeless patch collection now had a dream: to live on a pair of jeans.

So gather round, it’s DIY time.

Tools Needed: Jeans, patches, an iron, a wash cloth, a needle & thread or if you are lazy a hot glue gun.

Step 1: Get a pair of jeans, mine were a $5 pair of vintage Levi’s but any of these will work.

Step 2: Acquire some patches. Etsy and Ebay are good starting points.

Step 3: Art direct your jeans. Get creative. Leandra put a #1 patch on the crotch of mine. Thanks!

Step 4: Heat up your iron to 400 degrees and be patient, because if you touch it to feel if it’s hot, it will burn you. Trust me.

Step 5: Iron the shit out of your jeans.

Step 6: Place your wash cloth over the patch and firmly press the iron over it. Iron in a circular motion for 30 seconds – 2 minutes (depends on how hot your iron gets and how sticky the patch is). It’s a great arm work out. You should probably dance while you do it.

Step 7: To make sure the patch sticks, turn the jeans inside out and iron the back side. If you want to kick it old school you can sew around the edges to ensure it stays affixed to your pants. Sometimes patches are assholes and don’t want to stick and if you don’t like needles use a hot glue gun and call it a day.

Et Voila!!


And if anyone wants to explain to me why I earned a patch for “Puppets” that would be greatly appreciated.

So run free, DIY and show us what you make!

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  • Brittany
    • Charlotte Fassler

      Iggy, I-G-G-Y!

  • GapToothedGirl

    Just have to find some patch…and done!!
    like it.
    xox, Gap.

  • Audrey

    Always wanted to do this. Gotta tap in to that patch collection.

  • monkeyshines
  • Racine

    these and a nascar jacket, too much or just too much fun

  • Samantha

    Stopppp I’m obsessed. You know Cher Horowitz would rock this look, also I’m too down for a patchwork Canadian tux. Definitely doing this right now.

  • Melissa

    Those triangle shaped girl scout badge patches bring back some memories. Talk about your trip in the way back machine.

  • Love this DIY!

    Pls take a look @


  • houseofverde

    I have to admit, I was initially a bit hesitant to entertain the idea of patchwork on denim (I’m from Savannah, GA – home of Girl Scouts; so all I see are little girls in vests covered in earned patches), but the idea/opportunity to add a statement on top of a “statement” denim jacket or pant is really too good to pass up. You’ve changed my mind. Needless to say, I will be embracing this DIY!


  • Such a patch girl, too. CHAR U SO COOL

    • Charlotte Fassler

      In fact, some of them came from NorCAL!

  • Sweet Mona
  • Kate


  • Sammy

    Where is the elephant patch from?? neeeeed it!

    • Charlotte Fassler

      Got it from a swap meet in LA, but I’m sure there are plenty of elephant patches on the interweb

  • Amelia Diamond

    Char you’re a dream

  • Andrew

    Really love the idea, but the patches from Etsy (one of them was picture of vintage S&M lesbian porn) just don’t scream ADORN ME ON YOUR JEANS. I’ll keep looking…

  • Quinn Halman

    You’re the ultimate cool girl

  • Mon

    i feel like i’ve been seeing the patchwork more and more.
    rebekka bay bringing it back!

    mon |

  • Andrea

    This is really, really awful. I’m

    • Andrea

      dying inside looking at this.

  • yvespink

    i love DIY tutorials

  • Namrata

    Not a major fan of patchwork, but if you can carry it off!


  • Jmw

    Have you been reading my mind, or better yet, have you been inside my closet? My brothers boy scout patches, circa 1960’s now adorn my jean jacket and a denim vest of my daughters. I particularly love wear a bit of nostalgia. Someone even spotted my eagle stripe gauntlets! It’s like being wrapped in history!

    • Julia

      I have a military jacket I got at a vintage shop with all Boy Scout patches on it. I am kind of over the jacket but I love the patches so much. Maybe I’ll repurpose them on denim for the summer! Do you think it would be cute on cut offs as well?

      • Charlotte Fassler

        Cut offs would be rad. Also think denim vests and jackets!!!

  • this scares me. it just feels childish. but i guess its part of fashion finding yourself, your whole self, that inner child too. I want pineapple patches.

  • CarlotaLMorais


  • I dyed my hair purple a couple of years ago and it went through both the brownish and then the grey stage. I loved the grey stage because it complemented my forehead wrinkles!!

    Embrace all stages, girl. It’s only temporary.

  • Joselinne Mora

    I’ve been wanting to do this for so long!!

  • Joanna

    I DIY-ed and here’s my work of art

    • Charlotte Fassler

      I LOVE those!! The soccer ball patch & the frog combo is A+

  • The Provoker

    So cool that you chose A as your model for this post, she’s rocking manrepeller style.

  • Kelly’s Gross-o

    So many Try-Its!

    On my honor, I will try
    This trend upon my played-out denim
    To repell my hardest at all times
    And to live by the MR law

  • Joy D.
  • bong
  • ThisPersonSleeps


  • Caliope Couture

    I’m just planning to make my own patch denim…can’t wait to start!
    Christina ♥