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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