I tend to wear my clothes until they start to disintegrate, and once I've got a shirt or a pair of pants that is broken-in and perfectly comfortable, I don't want to throw it out just because it has a few holes. This method for patching won't work for fixing your "nice" clothes, but it's great for fixing up (and adding a bit of color to) your casual gear. It's also perfect for adding screenprinted patches to anything.
The patched-up shorts featured in the photos here are ones I've owned and worn often for 10 years, and they were a thrift-store find to start with. At this point, they're more than 50% patches, including at least five distinct classic paisleys. That counts as art, right?
Step 1: Gather supplies.
- piece of clothing you want to patch up
- patch fabric
- double-sided fusible interfacing (I've used Steam-a-Seam 2 1/2" wide tape for my patches.)
- iron & ironing board or towel
- sewing machine or needle-and-thread
For the patch fabric, pick something of similar weight and color/pattern to the clothing you want to patch, if you want the patch to blend in. If you want it to stand out, pick something bright and colorful.
Generally, knit fabric and some woven natural fabrics tend to not fray too badly. Synthetic or otherwise slippery wovens (like the heavy woven tie-silk I'm using here) tend to fray pretty badly. Using the double-sided fusible web tape helps keep those fabrics from fraying.